YOUTUBE STRIKES DEAL WITH GEMA
TO HOST MUSIC VIDEOS IN GERMANY
It’s been one of the biggest stand-offs in digital music history – but YouTube and German collection society GEMA have finally reached a licensing agreement.
The deal means that scores of previously unlicensed – and therefore previously unavailable – music videos will now be playable in the region.
YouTube users in Germany will no longer see a blocking message on music content that contains GEMA repertoire, for the first time in seven years.
Commercial details of the new deal were not disclosed. The changes appear to be with immediate effect.
YouTube’s Head of International Music Partnerships, Christophe Muller said: “We’re committed to ensuring that writers, composers and publishers continue to be paid fairly, and that our users are able to enjoy their favourite songs and discover new music on the platform.
“We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with GEMA to help their members earn revenue and to enable new musical talents to emerge.
“YouTube has evolved into an important source of promotion and revenue for musicians and we are pleased that GEMA members will benefit from their creative work on YouTube.”
“YOUTUBE HAS EVOLVED INTO AN IMPORTANT SOURCE OF PROMOTION AND REVENUE FOR MUSICIANS AND WE ARE PLEASED THAT GEMA MEMBERS WILL BENEFIT FROM THEIR CREATIVE WORK ON YOUTUBE.”
CHRISTOPHE MULLER, YOUTUBE
YouTube stopped showing music videos in Germany in April 2009 after its 17-month deal with GEMA came to a close.
Under this prior deal, Google paid GEMA a set per-stream fee for its licensed videos.
Negotiations on a fresh contract reportedly collapsed after GEMA attempted to raise the fee to 1 Euro Cent per stream – kicking off seven years of hostility and litigation between the two camps.
In a blog post, YouTube wrote: “This agreement reflects a long-held commitment that composers, songwriters, and publishers should be paid fairly, while ensuring fans can enjoy their favorite songs and discover new music on YouTube.
“That commitment has helped YouTube evolve into an important source of promotion and revenue for musicians. As such, we continue to invest in our rights management system, Content ID, to protect rights owners while continuing to innovate and create new and exciting YouTube features such as VR and 360, that can heighten the music experience on YouTube even more.”
“THIS AGREEMENT REFLECTS A LONG-HELD COMMITMENT THAT COMPOSERS, SONGWRITERS, AND PUBLISHERS SHOULD BE PAID FAIRLY, WHILE ENSURING FANS CAN ENJOY THEIR FAVORITE SONGS AND DISCOVER NEW MUSIC ON YOUTUBE.”
YOUTUBE BLOG POST
GEMA’s position hasn’t always won support from the rest of the music rights business.
In 2011, Sony international boss Edgar Berger told Billboard: “I suspect that some members of GEMA’s supervisory board have not yet arrived in the digital era. We want to see streaming services like Vevo and Spotify in the German market.
“[These platforms] must not be blocked by GEMA any longer. Artists and music companies are losing sales in the millions.”
Frank Briegmann, President of Universal Music Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Deutsche Grammophon label in Berlin, added: “Germany is a developing country in the digital music market. GEMA apparently has not yet understood the new developments in the international music market.”
In more recent years, however, a quiet murmur of respect has echoed around the major record companies for GEMA – as the relationship between YouTube and the biggest rights-holders in the world has grown increasingly strained. (Interestingly enough, just as new licensing deals are up for renewal…)
The most recent legal proceedings in the battle between GEMA and YouTube have decisively gone the way of the Google company.
In January, a judge at the higher regional court of Munich rejected GEMA’s claim for €1.6m ($1.75m) in damages, finding that YouTube was not responsible for what its users uploaded.
Source : Music Business Worldwide