YouTube blocks premium music videos in UK

After failing to reach a new licensing agreement with the United Kingdom's Performing Right Society, YouTube has begun blocking thousands of premium music videos from playing for users in the UK.
  • Paul Boutin (The Industry Standard)
  • 11 March, 2009 06:21

After failing to reach a new licensing agreement with the United Kingdom's Performing Right Society, YouTube has begun blocking thousands of premium music videos from playing for users in the UK.

YouTube, owned by Google, pays a license fee to the PRS that covers the streaming of music videos from three of the four major music labels, and many independents.

YouTube and the PRS are telling two different stories.

Steve Porter, head of the PRS, issued a prepared statement that says:

"Google has told us they are taking this step because they wish to pay significantly less than at present to the writers of the music on which their service relies, despite the massive increase in YouTube viewing"

"This action has been taken without any consultation with PRS for Music and in the middle of negotiations between the two parties."

YouTube's director of video partnerships told the BBC that PRS sought an increase in fees "many, many factors higher" than the previous agreement.

Both claims could be true: YouTube wanting to pay less, PRS wanting to charge more.

While we wait to see whether the videos are blocked, or saved at the last minute, the BBC has an extended mix of battling press quotes from both sides.

Meanwhile, streaming music service Pandora has also announced that it will cut off UK listeners effective March 15, due to a licensing disagreement.