Google announced on Monday that it would block users in England from watching music videos on YouTube.
As you might guess, money is what matters in this decision. Specifically, how large a royalty-pie slice YouTube should pay composers and publishers.
Google, which owns YouTube, has been negotiating with PRS for Music, Britain’s music royalty-collecting organization. Google wants to pay smaller royalty fees for showing music vids to Englanders, while the PRS wants the Internet giant to pay more.
Google says the PRS-proposed new rates would result in Google losing money every time someone in Britain watches a music video on YouTube.
“Our previous license from PRS for Music has expired, and we’ve been unable so far to come to an agreement to renew it on terms that are economically sustainable for us,” Google said in a statement, adding, “we will be blocking premium music videos in the UK that have been supplied or claimed by record labels.”
The PRS issued its own statement, saying the YouTube embargo caught it by surprise, and that the dispute and the resulting blockade all boiled down to Google greed.
“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.”
The Music Publishers Association, the trade association for music publishers in the U.K., issued its own statement. But aside from siding with the PRS in the royalty dispute, the MPA also dissed Google for shutting off the music.
“It is difficult to see how anyone’s interests are served by denying to the YouTube community the content they most enjoy,” read a statement on the MPA’s Web site.
In other words, forget about the money, this is all about YouTube’s British users. Big bad Google has blocked England’s citizens from watching music videos thereby preventing Brits from enjoying more rewarding lives.
Neither side has stated how much the PRS wants or what Google is willing to pay.
This is one of those dustups where both sides will plead their respective cases in the court of public opinion while negotiators try to put a deal on the table. Google is playing hardball by blocking music videos from British viewing.
Meanwhile, the PRS is portraying Google as something less than honorable because the Internet company doesn’t want to pay what the PRS thinks is fair. In other words, the PRS is calling Google cheap.
Which is probably a compliment to Google. Cheap is something the company understands.
Click here for the MPA’s Web site.
Click here for PRS For Music’s Web site.