IRVING WEIGHS IN ON LYOR AND YOUTUBE

In the wake of news that WMG had inked a short-term renewal of its deal with YouTube—and wasn’t particularly pleased about it—and YouTube Global Head of Music Lyor Cohen’s remarks in response, mega-mogul (and frequent YouTube critic) Irving Azoff has weighed in.

“Lyor was right… in 2009,” Azoff remarks. “He said it best: The music industry shouldn’t allow ‘companies to use our content to build their businesses and not compensate us fairly.’ Google has a market cap of over $600 billion, driven by their control of over 60% share of the search ad market. Google admits that YouTube drives search and everyone knows that music is the backbone of YouTube. So excuse me if I’m not impressed with the $550 million that YouTube paid the music industry in 2016, while the creative community earnings are still a pittance after the free fall of the last decade.

“Legitimate services like Apple Music and Spotify paid out more than $3.9 billion last year and, most importantly, they did it with far fewer users than YouTube,” he continues. “YouTube has an annual ARPU of about $.60 per year, while the paid services are closer to $35. For every $20 that Spotify contributes to the record industry through music royalties, YouTube contributes less than one dollar.

“Apple and Spotify have earned our support and respect because they focus on monetization and fairly compensating the music creators, instead of driving billions of dollars of ad search revenue that isn’t shared with the artists.”

Azoff concludes: “So Lyor and the rest of the Google bullies want us to turn a blind eye toward safe harbor and YouTube’s lousy monetization of music because the great Google is riding to the rescue to build a paid streaming service? Thanks, but no thanks. We would rather stick with the lawful services that give artists more control and better compensation.”

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