YouTube, Warner Music close to licensing deal

Deal would bring Warner Bros. recording artists back to YouTube, after nine months of silence.

After nine months of silence, Warner Bros. Music recording artists may be about to make a grandiose return to YouTube. Google's YouTube and Warner are close to settling a licensing argument that started at the end of last year, one that has put a stopper on the tunes, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Warner claimed it wasn't getting the advertising revenue it wanted from YouTube and pulled all of its recording artists from the site, including AC/DC, Gnarls Barkley, Bjork, James Blunt, R.E.M., and Green Day. Now, YouTube appears willing to renegotiate the terms of the contract, giving Warner the right to sell ads that run next to videos and keep the bulk of the cash. Warner is also "enlisting third parties to sell the ads and line up more lucrative arrangements like sponsorships for particular videos or artists." Sounds like a blitz.

The partnership between Warner and YouTube sounds similar to a deal reached in March between YouTube and Universal Music Group, the nation's largest recording company. YouTube and Universal sought to launch a be-all, end-all music video site, called Vevo, which still hasn't been completed. The only difference is that Warner has chosen -- or was asked -- not to create a freestanding, independent site, but instead corral its content on YouTube.

The YouTube/Warner deal -- which isn't final and hasn't been publicly announced -- is a win for all. YouTube and Warner rake in the money, as do the recording artists and songwriters seeking royalties, and, most importantly, music fans get to listen to their favorites again.

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