Midem

It’s fair to say that Google-owned YouTube came under fire at Midem this year.

With the company taking part in the conference it was an opportunity for record label bosses and independent musicians to voice their concerns over the size of music royalty cheques paid to artists.

Chief Executive of Deezer, Axel Dauchez, said that YouTube was “the most important legal pirate” during a panel session.

And even BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said: “When I looked at the billions of streams there were in music videos, and the pounds and pence coming in to the industry from that, it was a very small number.”

Research by VideoInk in conjunction with video analytics firm Tubular Labs recently suggested that 38.4% of all views on YouTube were to listen to music –  making the music industry incredibly important to them.

Spotify’s been at the forefront of similar debates over royalty payouts in past years at the conference but having noted that their average payout per million streams to an artist is $6,000 – $8,400 compared to just $3,000 by YouTube it seems that sentiment has swung.

Backed into a corner, YouTube’s Tom Pickett was forced to respond, revealing for the first time that “We’ve paid out to the music industry over the last several years over a billion dollars”, a fact that the network has refused to voice publically in the past.

Aside from royalty-fees YouTube has also become unpopular due to the prevalence of sites that allow audio to be ripped from videos by consumers.

Whilst on-stage, Pickett came under fire from one audience member who said: “We’ve been asking YouTube to deal with these stream-ripping applications for many years. YouTube is supposed to be an ad-funded streaming service, not a free download service… We can’t understand why it’s taken so long for Google and YouTube to do something about this.”