After years of strict copyright rules YouTube have signed a deal that will allow Germany to access far more of YouTube’s giant selection of music.
YouTube have signed a long-awaited deal with GEMA, a German music rights organisation, to open up content that has been blocked for years to German users. This deal is a giant result for artists who now have 80 million more potential listeners, and for fans who have spent the past 7 years being blocked from GEMA music on YouTube.
YouTube has been blocked for GEMA artists since 2009 following a 17-month contract between the two to stream GEMA’s licensed videos. Following the contract GEMA tried to negotiate a €1 per stream license fee on YouTube which, of course, didn’t happen and resulted in a standoff between the two. Until now as a landmark deal has been signed between the two companies.
At the time GEMA received criticism from major labels for not embracing the digital music market. Sony international’s boss Edgar Berger said in 2011: “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.”
Since then whilst GEMA have slowly warmed to YouTube, the major labels have had fallings out with YouTube that led to some retrospective support of GEMA, or at least understanding. However as GEMA have now licensed their music videos with YouTube and the labels seeming to have calmed down we could be seeing YouTube’s first equilibrium with music for a while.
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… We heartily welcome German artists and songwriters from A-to-Z to YouTube. And to our YouTube community, enjoy the music!”