Music Rep for Chris Cornell, John Lennon + More Threatens to Sue YouTube for $1 Billion
by Graham 'Gruhamed' Hartmann
December 24, 2014
Dimitrios Kambouris / George Stroud, Getty Images
Irving Azoff, who manages performance rights of artists such as Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, John Lennon, the Eagles and more, is threatening to sue YouTube for $1 billion.
Through Azoff’s new outfit Global Music Rights, the music industry veteran manages the rights to approximately 20,000 songs from some of the biggest artists in history. Azoff claims that YouTube lacks performance rights for the catalog of songs, which has led to a potential lawsuit if YouTube doesn’t remove the tunes.
Music publishers have been fighting with streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify for some time, but Azoff is going after YouTube, citing their “attitude” as one of the reasons. “They are the ones that have been least cooperative and the company our clients feel are the worst offenders,” Azoff tells the Hollywood Reporter.
In a letter sent to YouTube earlier this month, Global Music Rights attorney Howard King writes, “Without providing a shred of documentation, you blithely proffer that YouTube can ignore the Notices because it operates under blanket licenses from performing rights organizations other than Global. However, you refuse to provide the details of any such license agreements, presumably because no such agreements exist for YouTube’s present uses of the Songs in any service, but certainly with respect to its recently added Music Key service.”
YouTube’s upcoming Music Key service will offer subscription-based listening, which will allow YouTube to compete with Pandora and Spotify.
YouTube tells the Hollywood Reporter, “We’ve done deals with labels, publishers, collection societies and more to bring artists’ music into YouTube Music Key. To achieve our goal of enabling this service’s features on all the music on YouTube, we’ll keep working with both the music community and with the music fans invited to our beta phase.”
The $1 billion lawsuit has yet to be filed, but stay tuned for further updates on the impending action.