Last week after YouTube announced the launch of their new subscription music streaming service, industry mogul Irving Azoff — who represents artists such as the Eagles, John Lennon, and Pharrell Williams — said that the company hadn’t completed all of the necessary licensing procedures for the service and that the deals they made with record labels weren’t enough to offset the lack of deals with rights holders organizations that represent songwriters, who Azoff said were “massively underpaid” when it comes to streaming. He asked that YouTube pull all of his clients songs from their website, which amount to about 20,000 tracks, and the video website has apparently decided not to comply.
Billboard has the full legal details, but the gist is this: Azoff represents his artists through a new venture called Global Music Rights (GMR), a similar rights organization to the massive ASCAP and BMI, but with a focus of getting songwriters a larger cut of the profits. YouTube says that they’re covered for all of the songs because of the deals they made with the other organizations and the record labels, but Azoff disagrees. Azoff says he isn’t suing just yet, but the potential lawsuit could be worth between $200 million and $1 billion.
This whole YouTube streaming launch is off to a messy start.