Thus far in 2016, YouTube and the music industry can’t seem to get along, but new information from the world’s top video site suggests it is working to put its squabbles with labels behind it. In a statement shared with Billboard, YouTube said it is “working through details with the labels and independent music organizations who directly manage the deals with us.”
The disagreement between YouTube and the music industry stems from what some perceive to be a “value gap” created by the video site’s musical offerings. As YouTube’s music streaming revenue has increased, payouts to artists have risen at a much slower pace, critics argue. These complaints, first lodged by prominent labels and top music industry organizations, have since been echoed by several prominent musicians, including Katy Perry, former Motley Crue frontman Nikki Sixx, and, most recently, Trent Reznor. Meanwhile, on the other side of the argument, creators like Hank Green have spoken out to defend YouTube.
Could this acrimonious dispute soon die down? YouTube’s latest statement, however vague it is, seems to suggest some progress in its negotiations with labels. The video site has already launched the YouTube Music Foundry, a resource that aims to help emerging artists succeed in the online video world.
YouTube’s statement also returns to several talking points the site mentioned in a previous blog post. Specifically, the new info reminds readers that YouTube has thus far paid out more than $3 billion to the music industry and calls comparisons to services like Spotify “apples and oranges.”
The new statement lends some credence to the idea that YouTube and its musical partners will be able to find a solution that works for both parties. Until that solution arrives, however, artists are still mad. “We are glad to hear that YouTube is listening,” wrote Sixx’s band in light of the new information. “But actions speak louder than words.”