YouTube has long been a place to turn for music, but that’s been no small source of headaches for Google when it comes to licensing. Now YouTube has re-launched their music page – possibly as a way to celebrate a recent arrangement with licensing groups who Google has been struggling with since 2007.
YouTube’s Music Emphasis
The new music page includes a new layout and a variety of new features. The most prominent features are recommended artists and videos; the “YouTube Top 100″ list of songs; a display of local concert listings; and genre guides put together by popular musicians. The new version of YouTube music went live on August 18th.
Wrestling with the Licensing Beasts
While YouTube is well-known as the most popular video site on the web, it’s been a struggle to make a lot of money with it. To get to its current point of moderate revenue health, Google had to re-work the ad system and deal with a barrel full of angry licensing companies. Those licensing companies sued Google within just a year of the YouTube acquisition.
Music was the biggest issue, although TV and movie clips also saw their spot. Google won the case initially thanks to the Millenium Copyright Act, but the case is still being appealed. Meanwhile, however, Google has created systems for the purpose of removing copyrighted content and reaching licensing agreements. Most recent, Google struck a deal with the music licensing companies involved in a class action suit.
In the new deal, Google will pay royalty fees and users will be allowed to use select music. This opens up YouTube to work as a functional music platform while giving music companies a new outlet for revenue.
[Sources include: The YouTube Blog]