Both Sony Music and Universal Music Group are reported to have renewed their licensing deals with YouTube, which now means that the video platform now has all three major labels back in the fold after resigning Warner Music months ago. YouTube was operating under expired licenses with the majors for some time, but the new agreements now open the door for launching its new streaming service later in the year. Only the deal with UMG was officially announced, while the Sony agreement was revealed to Billboard.
Although no terms of the deal were provided, UMG said it would lead to “growing compensation” for its artists and songwriters from the video platform. According to Billboard, “the deal also grants UMG the ability to put content behind YouTube’s paywall, potentially making some music available only on the YouTube Red service and not on YouTube’s free tier.”
Google, which owns the video platform, has reportedly been working on a new streaming service (code name Remix) that will fold its YouTube Red and Google Play Music services into one that’s less confusing than its current offerings. Having new licensing agreements with all the major labels is essential for this launch. That said, there’s no word on whether a new agreement with indie label association Merlin is currently under negotiation or even required.
All this sounds like good news for artists and songwriters, but the same question still exists – how much of the revenue will actually trickle down to their pocketbooks?