NMR has been keeping close track of the not-too-friendly dispute between YouTube and the world of indie music. In the process of launching its much anticipated streaming music service, YouTube has ruffled some feathers with independent labels who claim the video giant offered unfavorable contracts and then bullied them into accepting by threatening to block their artists from YouTube. The trade group WIN (Worldwide Independent Network), which represents some of these labels, even went so far as to file a complaint against the Google company with the European Commission.
Now it looks like YouTube is ready to declare victory. A spokesman for the video platform told Death and Taxes that they estimate only about 5 percent of record labels are unhappy with the terms laid out for the new streaming service. YouTube’s spokesman characterized the 95 percent adoption rate as acceptable and the 5 percent who remain holdouts as a natural part of doing business. He also suggests that trade groups involved in the dispute may be “misrepresenting their own members” in an effort to widen the scope of the disagreement to include a larger part of the independent music industry.
Does this mean that YouTube has reached a settlement with most of the holdouts? Or does it just mean that the bullying tactics that it’s been accused of by some in the music industry have worked?