Warner Music pulls videos from YouTube

Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:41am EST
 
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By Yinka Adegoke

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warner Music Group ordered YouTube on Saturday to remove all music videos by its artists from the popular online video-sharing site after contract negotiations broke down.

The order could affect hundreds of thousands of videos clips, as it covers Warner Music's recorded artists as well as the rights for songs published by its Warner/Chappell unit, which includes many artists not signed to Warner Music record labels.

The talks fell apart early on Saturday because Warner wants a bigger share of the huge revenue potential of YouTube's massive visitor traffic. There were no reports on what Warner was seeking.

"We simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artists, songwriters, labels and publishers for the value they provide," Warner said in a statement.

YouTube is hugely popular, with more than 100 million viewers in the United States alone in October, according to comScore, a Web audience measurement firm.

Warner Music, home to artists including Red Hot Chili Peppers and rapper T.I., was the first major media company to negotiate a deal with YouTube in 2006. Its executives believe that deal gave the site legitimacy in the eyes of search giant Google Inc (GOOG.O) which bought it soon after for $1.65 billion.

As part of the original 2006 negotiation, Warner, Universal Music and Sony Music all took small stakes in YouTube pre-acquisition and profited when the Google acquisition closed.

The music companies typically get paid a share of any advertising revenue associated with the video and a per-play payment for every video viewed. The per-play fee is usually a fraction of a penny and with millions visiting YouTube everyday it was all expected to add up to a substantial amount.   Continued...

 
<p>The headquarters of Warner Music Group is pictured in Burbank, California August 5, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>