YouTube could lose 20 000 songs, including Pharrell Williams

As you are bopping your head to some playful ditty on YouTube, it might be the last time that you do so – if music manager Irving Azoff gets his way. You might not know who he is, but to those in the entertainment industry he is one of the most powerful in his profession.

Azoff wants to remove about 20 000 songs from YouTube because he claims the video streaming and daily time-wasting website doesn’t have the correct licenses to play the audio (ergo showing the videos) from the artists that he represents – which includes The Beatles’ late John Lennon and pop superstar Pharrell Williams.

His royalty group, Global Music Rights, has apparently sent a number of letters to YouTube requesting the removals, but the Google-owned company insists that it has the right agreements and permissions in place, including licenses for its new Music Key service.

But Azoff disagrees, and said that if the songs were to stay on YouTube, it would require “major multiples” of royalties being paid to artists than what YouTube is currently offering. So in all likelihood, you will probably see Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ being removed from the service in the near future.

This is not the first time that Azoff has taken on YouTube. He specifically created Global Music Rights to fight YouTube last year on copyright disputes. According to Engadget, Azoff was asked “to show exact instances where it was missing licenses and infringing artists’ rights, which was supposedly near-impossible.”

If past court cases involving YouTube or Google is anything to go by, this one will be rather protracted and will more than likely get a bit messy.

[Source – Engadget, image CC by 2.0/DeShaun Craddock]


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