Update: A YouTube spokesperson responded to us with the following statement: The overwhelming majority of labels and publishers have licensing agreements in place with YouTube to leave fan videos up on the platform and earn revenue from them. Today the revenue from fan uploaded content accounts for roughly 50 percent of the music industry’s YouTube revenue. Any assertion that this content is largely unlicensed is false. To date, we have paid out over $3 billion to the music industry – and that number is growing year on year.
Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has told Billboard that YouTube is built on stolen content.
Personally, I find YouTube’s business to be very disingenuous. It is built on the backs of free, stolen content and that’s how they got that big. I think any free-tiered service is not fair. It’s making their numbers and getting them a big IPO and it is built on the back of my work and that of my peers. That’s how I feel about it. Strongly.
The comments are perhaps less surprising in the light of Reznor’s other role: as an exec at Apple Music, a streaming service with no free tier.
Reznor made the comments in an interview alongside Apple SVP Eddy Cue, VP Robert Kondrk and ‘no official job title’ Jimmy Iovine. He said that the desire to do more than complain about free music was why he joined Apple.
I’ve dedicated my whole life to this craft, which, for a variety of reasons, is one that people feel we don’t need to pay for anymore. And I went through a period of pointing fingers and being the grumpy, old, get-off-my-lawn guy. But then you realize, let’s adapt and figure out how to make this better instead of just complain about it.