Irving Azoff Threatens To Derail YouTube Subscription Service
...And Takes A Swipe At Pandora, Too
November 13, 2014 at 3:08 PM (PT)
GOOGLE's announcement of the launch of music streaming subscription service YOUTUBE MUSIC KEY was blunted by music industry power player IRVING AZOFF, who told the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER that he is prepared to remove the music of 42 of his clients -- including THE EAGLES, PHARRELL WILLIAMS, BOSTON, FOREIGNER, JOHN LENNON, SMOKEY ROBINSON, CHRIS CORNELL and GEORGE and IRA GERSHWIN -- representing some 20,000 copyrighted works from the YOUTUBE ecosystem, including the new MUSIC KEY.
The former LIVE NATION Chairman, AZOFF's new venture, GLOBAL MUSIC RIGHTS (GMR), aims to generate higher performance rights royalties for songwriters. Traditionally, those rights have been handled by ASCAP and BMI, which have been hamstrung by consent decrees with the JUSTICE DEPARTMENT that requires a license be given whenever an outlet requests it.
"The way fans listen to music is evolving daily," AZOFF said. "GMR is going to give songwriters and publishers an opportunity to engage in meaningful licensing for their intellectual property. The trampling of writers' rights in the digital marketplace without any regard to their contribution to the creative process will no longer be tolerated."
YOUTUBE has already made deals with both major labels on sound recording rights and more recently, smaller independent labels. However, those deals would only cover sound recording rights for digital services. Songwriting and publishing rights, on the other hand, don't receive much compensation from digital services. GLOBAL MUSIC RIGHTS employee RANDY GRIMMETT believes publisher deals similar to those with PANDORA has to be put into place for YOUTUBE. "There's no business to be built upon unlicensed works," he said.
YOUTUBE has yet to respond to AZOFF's threats.
Protests Of Azoff's Past
This isn't the first time the super-manager has criticized the disparity between those who run online music services and the artists whose music is played on them. He recently tweeted this illustration about how PANDORA is doling out its revenue: