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Music industry retorts to YouTube claims


19 November 2018

Over the past month, no less than three prominent music industry figures have responded to recent claims by YouTube on the dangers of article 13.

On 16 November, the Financial Times published two relevant articles. First, an article by Helen Smith (Executive Chair of Impala) who claims that the new Directive will “make things clearer, fairer and sustainable for all”. She also refers to the existence of the alleged value gap, and particularly targets YouTube as paying less to artists than other competing platforms (claiming that for every 1 euro from YouTube, Spotify pays 10 euro). Second, an article by Robert Ashcroft (Chief Executive, PRS) claims that YouTube has “continued to spread misinformation about Article 13 in a direct attempt to subvert the democratic process”. Furthermore, they claim that the music industry has provided ample evidence to support the introduction of a new liability regime, and that there is no refuting evidence that article 13 will be harmful to the creative community.

Earlier this month, November Frances Moore (Chief Executive of IFPI) similarly claimed that figures provided by Google (parent company of YouTube) in their How Google Fights Piracy Report (available here) are incorrect. They note that the revenue being returned to the record industry via Google is around half of what is stated in the report (being apparently less than 1 USD per user per year). In summary, they conclude:

“This is the reality of the ‘value gap’ – in which user-upload platforms, such as YouTube, exploit music for profit without returning fair compensation to music creators.”