YouTube has threatened to pull all music from Danish artists due to disagreements over songwriter and artist royalties. The multi-year licensing agreement between YouTube and Koda, which is the Danish musicians’ union, expired last April. The two organizations were operating under a temporary licensing agreement since, which expired at the end of July. YouTube then tried to create a new agreement with Koda which would require a 70 percent reduction in payments towards Danish musicians.
The front page of Koda’s website details their disagreement with YouTube, with the Danish union declaring that they refuse to accept the terms put forth by YouTube, which has led to YouTube’s “unilateral” decision to pull all music made by Danish musicians from the platform. The deal between the two organizations ended due to YouTube working to make negotiations so all Nordic countries would be under a joint-agreement, rather than the individual agreements that had already been in place. YouTube has told Koda that Danish musicians will not be able to have their songs re-uploaded onto the platform until a new agreement is in place.
“It is no secret that our members have been very dissatisfied with the level of payment received for the use of their music on YouTube for many years now,” Koda’s CEO, Gorm Arildsen, said in a press statement. “And it’s no secret that we at Koda have actively advocated putting an end to the tech giants’ free-ride approach and underpayment for artistic content in connection with the EU’s new Copyright Directive. The fact that Google now demands the payments due from them should be reduced by almost 70 percent in connection with a temporary contract extension seems quite bizarre.”
According to Music Business Worldwide, YouTube’s reasoning for removing the songs is due to copyright issues as a new agreement has not yet been signed. Koda has called the move to pull Danish music from the service as an “extremely aggressive approach.” The Danish union has also made the allegation that YouTube has paid artists for subscription-based services “significantly less” than the level of payment which had initially been agreed upon in 2013.
Danish metal musician Myrkur took to Instagram stories to inform her fans and express her frustrations about YouTube’s act in removing Danish artist’s music from the platform. She explains YouTube’s reasoning for removing the music, and asks her audience their opinions on the matter.
“Google is blocking all Danish music off of YouTube,” Myrkur said in a post on her Instagram story. “The reason is they cannot agree with the Danish musicians union KODA, about the percentage that the musicians should receive off their own music from streams. Tech giant tyrannical behavior if you ask me. What do you listeners think? Aren’t you fed up with this too?”
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat