YouTube Accused of Skimping on Artists

YouTube Accused of Skimping on Artists
YouTube is in the hot seat for its alleged practice of underpaying musical artists for their content.

(CCM) — YouTube has come under fire yet again for its supposed practice of underpaying artists whose music is on the platform, according to reports by the BBC. The accusation comes following the release of lobbying group UK Music's annual report, which examines the impact of British music on the UK's economy. The group claims that, despite the fact that music is an essential part of YouTube's business model, the company has "yet to deliver fair financial returns for rights owners and creators, artists, composers, songwriters, and publishers."

In response to the allegations, the Google-owned video streaming site stated that it has paid out over £2.3 billion to the music industry so far. It also recognizes that artists often gain indirect revenue from YouTube hosting their videos due to the site's promotional value. And, while UK Music's report criticizes the fall in per-stream rates paid to artists by YouTube from $0.0020 to $0.0010 in 2015, YouTube maintained that it does not pay on a per-stream basis. Instead, it says, its focus is on money gained from advertising, with the vast majority of videos on the site featuring at least one commercial. "The way that we pay to all creators is the same," says Thea O'Hear, a communications manager at YouTube. "You get over half of the advertising revenues from the advertising against your video. That's the way that we pay and we're seeing that business grow hugely and dynamically."

This report marks the third time in six months that YouTube — and, by extension, Google — has been criticized for its artist payment policy. In April, Motley Crue co-founder Nikki Sixx launched a campaign to get the company to shell out more of its revenue to contributors. In June, Taylor Swift gathered a group of over 150 industry figures to protest YouTube's profiting off of their artistic content.

Image: © Denys Prykhodov -