Update: It's come to light that YouTube may not technically be blocking music from labels that don't agree to its terms. It's just not going to pay them.
Several publications (via Engadget) are writing that labels that don't agree to YouTube's new terms will see their artist channels blocked in the coming days. Vevo clips and fan-uploaded content will still work, so you can still "watch" videos of Drake songs with just lyrics fading in and out against a colored background (or, better yet, a picture of Drake himself).
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That's all well and good, except if a label doesn't sign on to YouTube's paid tier, the artist won't make any money when their songs are played like this.
What's more, YouTube won't put its copyright algorithms to work for labels that don't play ball, meaning they'll have to track infringing content themselves and ask for a takedown on their own.
Original story below...
Music videos from artists on some of the biggest independent record labels are set to disappear from YouTube after the companies failed to agree to terms ahead of the launch of a new subscription service.
The Financial Times reports a "mass cull' of videos from artists like Adele, Arctic Monkeys and Jack White will happen "in a matter of days," according to YouTube's head of content Robert Kyncl.
As rumoured last month, YouTube will begin blocking the videos from labels, believed to be representing 10% of artists, refusing to play along amid allegations Google is lowballing and abusing its dominant position in the market.
Kyncl confirmed the cull to the Times: "While we wish that we had 100% success rate, we understand that is not likely an achievable goal and therefore it is our responsibility to our users and the industry to launch the enhanced music experience."
According to the FT, the as-yet-unannounced 'Music Pass' subscription service will charge members a monthly fee in order to receive ad-free music on any of device, with offline music also available.
Google confirmed to Mashable that the new subscription tier is indeed on the way. A spokesperson said: "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. We are excited that hundreds of major and independent labels are already partnering with us."
While the remaining labels, including XL Recordings and Domino, are holding out for a better deal, Kyncl said YouTube is "paying them fairly and consistently with the industry."
However, the beef of some labels isn't what they will be getting paid for, but what they won't. One executive claimed the terms Google offered "allowed YouTube to make substantial enhancements to its free tier."