Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney and U2 lead YouTube backlash: Stars sign petition claiming Google's site is a 'safe harbor' for stolen music
· 160 artists and record labels have signed petition
· Calls for a reform of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
By MARK PRIGG FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 20 June 2016
Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney and Kings of Leon are among the 160 artists and record labels that have signed a petition calling for a reform of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) - and hitting out at YouTube.
The petition, organized by music manager Irving Azoff, says YouTube provided a 'safe harbor' for copyright infringement under the current writing of the DMCA, which was enacted in 1998 before the advent of the video streaming service.
The petition says it 'has allowed major tech companies to grow and generate huge profits by creating ease of use for consumers to carry almost every recorded song in history in their pocket via a smartphone, while songwriters' and artists' earnings continue to diminish.'
The petition, organized by music manager Irving Azoff, says YouTube provided a 'safe harbor' for copyright infringement under the current writing of the DMCA. Artists includingTaylor Swift, Paul McCartney and Kings of Leon are among the 160 artists and record labels that have signed.
The petition will publish in issues of Politico, The Hill and other Washington D.C.-based publications throughout the week according to Rolling Stone.
In April, a similar petition calling for DMCA reforms was published, but since then, some more major acts have lent their name to the cause.
In a keynote address at the National Music Publishers' Association earlier this month Azoff called upon the music industry to work together.
'The music industry has never been more powerful and popular and we as an industry have never done a sh***ier job of rallying together as one industry,' Azoff said.
'We should work together to solve the root of the problem' - fair compensation.
The petition, organized by music manager Irving Azoff, says YouTube provided a 'safe harbor' for copyright infringement under the current writing of the DMCA. Paul,McCartney is among those who have signed it.
'I had one artist who was making $450,000 a year between all of his royalties,' Azoff said. Now after the digital revolution, he is down to making '$40,000 a year.'
'How many tens of thousands of people in the music industry have to lose their jobs?' he wondered.
Nine Inch Nails' frontman and Apple Music's chief creative officer Trent Reznor also launched a scathing attack on YouTube and Spotify this month
In an interview with Billboard he said 'I find YouTube's business to be very disingenuous.
'It is built on the backs of free, stolen content and that's how they got that big.'
He also hits out at other services, including Spotify, saying 'I think any free-tiered service is not fair.
'It's making their numbers and getting them a big IPO and it is built on the back of my work and that of my peers.
'That's how I feel about it. Strongly.'
U2 has also signed the petition, which will publish in issues of Politico, The Hill and other Washington D.C.-based publications throughout the week according to Rolling Stone .
He said he decided to join Apple to improve the situation.
'We're trying to build a platform that provides an alternative - where you can get paid and an artist can control where their [content] goes. '
Artists and record companies have argued that YouTube's vast catalogue of free music could impede the growth of paid music-streaming subscription services like Apple Music, Spotify's premium tier and Tidal.
Reznor also admitted that joining Apple had been difficult, and led to many rows with the firm's engineers.
'We don't always use our inside voices,' he said.
YouTube hit back at the comments, and told Dailymail.com: 'The overwhelming majority of labels and publishers have licensing agreements in place with YouTube to leave fan videos up on the platform and earn revenue from them.
'Today the revenue from fan uploaded content accounts for roughly 50 percent of the music industry's YouTube revenue.
'Any assertion that this content is largely unlicensed is false.
Trent Reznor performs on stage: In his role as Apple Music's chief creative officer he today launched a scathing attack on YouTube and Spotify.
'To date, we have paid out over $3 billion to the music industry – and that number is growing year on year.'
Earlier this week Apple revealed a revamped version of its own streaming service.
Following criticism for users it has completely overhauled its Apple Music service.
The software has been entirely redesigned to make it easier to use, and to compete with rival services from Spotify and Tidal.
Eddy Cue revealed a new version of Apple's music app.
The firm has completely redesigned its software to make it easier to use.
It has been completely redesigned 'from the ground up' said Cue.
'It has a beautiful new design - the music is the hero.'
'Apple Music has an all-new design, bringing greater clarity and simplicity to every aspect of the experience,' the firm says.
Apple's Eddy Cue unveils the major overhaul of Apple Music at the firm's WWDC in San Francisco, which comes after repeated complaints from customers over the streaming service.
Following complaints from users it also has a a new structure that makes it easy to navigate and discover new music.
The Library, For You, Browse and Radio tabs have been completely redesigned to provide an even greater sense of place.
A new search tab to make finding music even easier.
Bozoma Saint John, Apple's head of global consumer marketing, took the stage to present the overhaul 'that allows the music to become the hero and a new structure that makes it easy to navigate and discover new music', she said.
The Library, For You, Browse and Radio are largly the same, but the overhaul makes them easier to use and as a similar control design to iTunes.
Users will also be given a daily curate playlist in the 'For You' tab and there is a social network-style Connect that features updates from the artists themselves.
|Apple Music||Apple Music costs $9.99 a month or $14.99 for a family plan (up to six family members) - both with a three-month free trial|
|Tidal||$9.95-a-month for standard sound quality and $19.99-a-month for 'lossless high fidelity sound quality' (£9.99 and £19.99 in the UK)|
|Spotify||Free level with adverts, Premium $9.99-a-month service (£9.99 in the UK)|
|SoundCloud Go||$9.99-a-month in the US, £9.99 in the UK and €9.99 in Ireland|
|Pandora||$4.99-a-month for Pandora's ad-free internet radio service|
|Deezer||Free with adverts, $9.99-a-month for Premium+ (£9.99 in the UK)|
|Rdio||Free with adverts, Rdio Unlimited costs $9.99 (£9.99 in the UK) and US users can also get Rdio Select for $3.99 a month with limited downloads|
– important context to Reznor's comments, given his role.
In its most recent public statement, following an open letter to Alphabet boss Larry Page from rock band Sixx:AM, YouTube indicated that the criticism is having an impact on the company's plans.
'The voices of the artists are being heard, and we're working through details with the labels and independent music organisations who directly manage the deals with us,' a spokesperson said.
'Having said that, YouTube has paid out over $3bn (£2.1bn) to the music industry, despite being a platform that caters to largely light music listeners who spend an average of one hour per month consuming music – far less than an average Spotify or Apple Music user. Any comparisons of revenue from these platforms are apples and oranges.'