You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

YouTube Giving Six-Figure Promotional Campaigns to Musicians Who Sign Non-Disparagement Pacts (Report)

YouTube is giving six-figure promotional budgets to certain musicians if they agree not to disparage the platform, according to a report in Bloomberg, which cites people familiar with the matter. The report says YouTube has “given a handful of musicians a couple hundred thousand dollars to produce videos and promoted their work on billboards” if they agree to sign non-disparagement agreements. A rep for YouTube did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.

The effort is described as part of a larger campaign to improve the platform’s image in the music community, which has long railed against its comparatively low, safe-harbor-protected royalty rates. The article cites recent YouTube campaigns by G-Eazy, reggaeton artist Ozuna and Katy Perry, who in 2017 performed at a company event and hosted a days-long livestream on the service. It also claims YouTube requires many of its content partners to sign similar agreements, the requirements of which go beyond standard non-disparagement pacts in ways that were not detailed.

YouTube has long been a target for the music industry and musicians due to what it considers the platform’s low royalty payments despite the vast amount of music hosted on the site. In a report earlier this year, the global trade organization International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) singled out YouTube as the single greatest threat to the renewed growth of the music industry, saying, “The value gap, [which is] the growing mismatch between the value that user upload services, such as YouTube, extract from music, and the revenue returned to those who are creating and investing in music.”

In August YouTube’s head of music, Lyor Cohen, published a cheerful blog post about the company’s work with the music industry that was met by waves of criticism, not least from the Recording Industry Association of America’s Cary Sherman, who responded with a fiery post of his own in which he asked, “Why is YouTube paying so little?”

Musicians have long criticized the company for its payments, most prominently in 2016 open letter signed by 180 performers and songwriters including Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, Vince Gill, Carole King and Vince Staples along with 19 organizations and companies including the three major labels. The letter called for reform of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which regulates copyright online and allows platforms including YouTube protection from legal liability for copyright infringement.

Regardless, all three major labels signed new agreements with the service in 2017.

More Digital

  • Kevin Reilly Variety Cover

    Kevin Reilly Named Content Chief for WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    Kevin Reilly — a veteran television exec who has led programming at NBC, FX, Fox, and most recently Turner Broadcasting — has been tapped to head content strategy for the still-nascent streaming service that WarnerMedia plans to launch next year. Reilly, who has led programming at Turner brands TNT and TBS since 2015, will serve [...]

  • Apple Culver City

    Apple Expects to Have Over 1,000 Employees in Culver City by 2022

    Apple announced plans to boost its L.A. presence, saying it expects to have more than 1,000 employees in Culver City, Calif., over the next three years, including its growing entertainment team. The move is part of the tech giant’s broader initiative to create 20,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2023 and includes a new $1 [...]

  • A Look at Wevr's & Dreamscape

    How Wevr & Dreamscape Immersive Reinvented ‘The Blu’ for Location-Based VR

    When HTC first introduced its Vive virtual reality (VR) headset in April of 2016, “The Blu” quickly became one of the most talked-about launch titles: With its ability to transport viewers onto the deck of a sunken ship, and face-to-face with a giant 80-foot whale, it offered viewers a deeply moving experience of presence and [...]

  • Jingle Punks Jingle Player

    Jingle Punks at 10: How the Production Music Platform's Player Works

    Though its primary function is creative, Jingle Punks is built on a foundation of technology and administration. The patented Jingle Player that lets customers search for music using pop culture terms is both intuitive and efficient. Typing in “Reservoir Dogs” or “Starbucks” generates suggestions. Queries are monitored “so if there isn’t an exact match, we’ll suggest [...]

  • Jill Goldfarb - Jukin Media

    Jukin Hires TV Veteran Jill Goldfarb as VP of Linear Programming

    Jukin Media, which specializes in licensing user-generated viral videos, hired Jill Goldfarb as VP of linear programming. Goldfarb’s former tours of duty include serving as Discovery Channel’s VP of programming and as VP of program planning and scheduling at ABC Family/Fox Family Channel. Most recently, for the past five years she worked as an independent [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content