Google's YouTube could ban indie labels

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Do you enjoy listening to a bit of Radiohead on YouTube -- well, perhaps "enjoy" might be the wrong word for Thom Yorke's compositions -- but anyway, if you do, you might find that your viewing pleasure is disrupted when the band's music videos are stripped from Google's service.

This could happen pretty soon, according to reports, because of a dispute between the video streaming giant and the independent labels which look after the likes of Radiohead and the Arctic Monkeys.

So what's going on here, exactly? Well, YouTube is busy renegotiating contracts with all record labels as it prepares to launch a subscription music service which has the potential to be a major cash cow for Google.

And while the majors have inked the deal, some indies feel they are being pushed around by the terms Google has laid down, and given the short end of the stick.

According to a report by Auntie Beeb, some independent labels have said the proposed deal has "highly unfavourable terms", and the guitarist of Radiohead complained that Google was trying to twist the arms of indie labels and force them into accepting lower payments and worse terms than the majors secured.

This could mean that artists from holdout labels are struck off from YouTube possibly as soon as later this week. Though they won't disappear entirely, as the BBC reckons videos from affected artists would still remain via channels such as Vevo. Footage which is exclusively licensed by said labels is likely to be the content affected -- and obviously, that would still be a major blow for fans of these artists.

In a comment, YouTube unsurprisingly refused to be drawn into the fracas, merely stating: "Our goal is to continue making YouTube an amazing music experience, both as a global platform for fans and artists to connect, and as a revenue source for the music industry."

"We're adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube with this in mind -- to bring our music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year".

YouTube also said that hundreds of both major and indie labels were already partnered up with it. It's expected that the new YouTube subscription service will be rolled out at the end of summer, and will strip ads away and allow for offline listening (as with other popular streaming services which offer a premium paid option), among other boons.

Streaming music is becoming a bigger and more competitive business rapidly, with the likes of Amazon recently joining the club with its Prime Music offering, and Apple snapping up Beats partly for its streaming service.

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