Warner, YouTube near deal for music videos: sources

Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:40pm EDT
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By Paul Thomasch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warner Music Group Corp and YouTube are finalizing an agreement that would allow music videos from artists such as Madonna and Green Day to once again be featured on the popular website, according to sources close to the deal.

The deal, which one source described as imminent, would resolve a dispute over licensing rights that caused Warner Music to pull music videos by its artists from Google Inc's YouTube in December.

YouTube and Warner, the third largest music company, declined comment on the deal, first reported by AdAge on Monday.

A deal would mean that Warner Music's stable of artists would once again appear on the world's most popular video sharing site, joining those from EMI Music, Sony Corp's Sony Music Entertainment and Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, all of which have renewed deals.

Financial details are unclear; but Warner Music Chief Executive Edgar Bronfman has made known his desire to improve terms of his previous deal with YouTube. Like other industry executives, he faces a music market that has been stung by tumbling CD sales and slowing digital music growth.

The deal would also open the door to a possible role for Warner in a new music video website called Vevo, which is backed by Universal and Sony and will be supported by YouTube's technology platform.

At the moment, talks about Warner joining Vevo are still in "early stages" and could break down over a range of issues, one source said. The source declined to be named because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.

Music industry insiders say that Web videos are catching up with radio and music television as one of the most important music discovery tools for fans.   Continued...

<p>U.S. pop singer Madonna performs during her Sticky and Sweet Tour concert in Bucharest August 26, 2009. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel</p>