The battle between YouTube and record labels continues

Just about every song and music video out there can be accessed on YouTube. Fans love it. Record labels? Not so much.

Record labels have historically been angry that YouTube gives away so much free content for what they actually pay to record labels. Digital Music News reports that 40 percent of streaming music is consumed via YouTube, accounting for only 4 percent of the total revenue for the record labels. As a result of this,  YouTube’s major record label deals with UMG, Sony and Warner have recently expired. This ongoing battle raises question about where the future of YouTube music lies. So, what problems have surfaced because of this dispute? And what changes to the platform can we anticipate? Let’s find out.

the problem with user-uploading

Since YouTube is full of user-uploads it is hard to regulate what goes up on a daily basis, so even if YouTube attempts to regulate content that record companies haven’t authorized to be exposed for free, the content may still find its way up. For example, someone may upload an hour long video the new Frank Ocean album– If you can get this content for free, what is the incentive to go purchase the album? This is where the record labels become infuriated.

An increase in advertisements

Advertisements are really YouTube’s sole way of creating revenue, and therefore an increase in advertisements may be YouTube’s only hope to make more money. Sorry YouTube-lovers, but you may notice more of those inevitable 30 second toothpaste ads that have you waiting desperately for the skip ad screen. But, these ads may turn off viewers and result in a decrease of views while people search elsewhere for free content (social media pages, artist websites, etc.).

other streaming platforms can take over

With streaming platforms dominating the market, it is obvious people will pay for high-quality and easily accessible music. According to the IB Times,  the music industry made $385 million through streaming services like Spotify or YouTube in 2015. So, why not provide video content through Spotify, since it also attributes to so much revenue. If streaming services like Spotify and Pandora begin to offer music videos and other video content while having users pay a little bit more, the record labels that partner with them and the artists themselves can make more money.

Although YouTube has been an incredibly popular platform to access music and various videos worldwide over the years, this problem with record labels may halt their continuing growth and in turn affect the consumers who just want to listen to music and watch videos. Although there is no way to concretely know the destiny of YouTube, these few trends are giving up a pretty good indicator of what the future may look like.


(Photo courtesy of: Digital Journal)