“YouTube robbing us blind,” musicians complain to EU

Over 1,000 musicians on Thursday wrote a letter to the European Commission complaining that YouTube and other online services rob artists of important income by making music available for free.


The artists in their letter dated June 29, asked the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker to take action now by creating a fair playing field for artists and rights owners.


Coldplay, ABBA, Kasabian and Sting are among more than 1000 artists who complained about the ill treatment by the online services.


The music industry only recently began to recover from years of dwindling income, benefitting from the advent of online streaming services that are funded through advertising or subscriptions.


YouTube’s model, allowing its 1-billion-plus users to freely upload and access music, jeopardises the future of the industry, the musicians say, arguing the service creates a “substantial value gap.


“The value gap undermines the rights and revenues of those who create, invest in and own music, and distorts the market place,” it said.


It is the latest move in an ongoing campaign by the music industry against YouTube.


Artists, including Taylor Swift and U2, have sent a similar letter to Congress in the U.S.


YouTube argues that around 3 billion dollars in advertising income had reached the music industry.


It pointed to a system it had developed that recognises songs via a digital fingerprint so as to allow rights owners to share in ad revenues.


The commission confirmed that it had received the letter, with a spokeswoman noting that the European Union’s executive is already looking into ways of sharing the value of copyrighted works more fairly online.


“New proposals are expected in the coming months’’, YouTube said. (dpa/NAN)