back to article Indie record labels to haul YouTube before the European Commission

Indie record labels say they will lodge a formal competition complaint with the European Commission over Google-owned YouTube's alleged bully-boy tactics. The move comes as Google prepares to launch a Spotify-like streaming service using the YouTube brand. Last month, the indie labels' trade associations complained the …

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  1. Yugguy

    BAH.

    Youtube has let me discover lots of unknown and foreign music that I simply wouldnt have been able to before.

    Google. CUNTS.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Old school here

      I still use the old fangled method called the "radio", I don't get as much choice but at least it doesn't shovel publicity down my throat after every click or turn of a button. Youtube also has the tedious habit of making you discover what they decide you need to discover......

      1. Mark Dempster

        Re: Old school here

        Radio is ok if you don't mind being force-fed the latest playlist of heavily-promoted Simon Cowell rubbish, or the so-called 'classic' tracks from bands long gone.

        If you're interested in anything else, radio is worse than useless.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: Old school here

          >Radio is ok if you don't mind being force-fed the latest playlist of heavily-promoted Simon Cowell rubbish, or the so-called 'classic' tracks from bands long gone.

          That all depends on the stations that you have access to. Here in France for example, there is a very well known radio presenter, Georges Lang, who is kinda the equivalant of a John Peel in that you will hear some classics mixed in with some newcomers and you will always learn something new. You can learn a lot....

          The words "Simon Cowell" and "music" are diametrically opposed and should never be associated.

          >If you're interested in anything else, radio is worse than useless.

          Please share what it is that you are interested in that receives no radio time and yet is freely discoverable on Youtube ?

          Also please provide details of your method of "discovery" by using youtube. Give an idea of the keywords/search words that you use that are capable of returning meaningfull results, other than pure hit and miss tactics whereby it is Google that decides what will be force-fed to you.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Old school here

            Khaptain,

            Perhaps French radio is better than I'd thought from a casual listen then. I still remember the horror or Belgian radio from when I lived there. I was scanning with the digital tuner, working out what stations were available in Brussels and the first words I heard after I'd started the search were, "and now we're going to have 2 hours of the music of Johnny Hallyday!"

            All I could find was Flemish metal / heavy rock stations, much Europop and dance and not a lot else.

            1. Khaptain Silver badge

              Re: Old school here

              2 Hours of Johnny Hallyday would drive even Simon Cowell insane....lol.

              Here is a link to the RTL web page for George Lang.

              http://www.rtl.fr/biographie/georges-lang

              The best shows are the "Les Nocturnes" and the "Sagas". Anything from Pink Floyd to London Grammar

              Obviously it helps to speak French, je presume que c'est le cas.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Old school here

              > Perhaps French radio is better than I'd thought from a casual listen then.

              No it isn't. :-(

          2. Fibbles

            Re: Khaptin

            Regardless of the merits of French radio stations, it seems a bit contradictory to decry Youtube for "making you discover what they decide you need to discover" but then advocate discovering new music through the playlist of your favourite DJ.

            1. Khaptain Silver badge

              Re: Khaptin

              @Fibbles,

              Yes, I expected that remark.

              1 : George Lang's offer relates to his love of music, of the artists, nostalgia and history. George shares this with his listeners and nourishes the culture of those that follow. Listening to George it is easy to understand and admire the unerring dedication that he has provided for more that 40 years. It is a pleasure to listen to someone of this caliber.

              2 : Google's offering relates to what Google deems necassary in order to keep the adverts flowing. Google use powerfull and well written algorithms to determine content with the eventuality that the end game will help increase market share. Googles experience will always remain a cold, impersonal, mind-numbing marketing experience, it is subliminal but very powerfull.

              It is impossible to put them on par, the playing fields and the players belong to two very different games.

              I fear that future generations will lose the capacity of knowing or being introduced to anything that is not pregenerated by a marketing algorithm. And for the moment, I see nothing that appears to hinder the impetus of the Google monster.

              1. beep54
                Happy

                Re: Khaptin

                Here in Austin, our public radio station KUT has had some incredible DJ's that can spin disparate stuff and yet make it all into a whole. John Aelli, for instance has been known to go directly from opera to punk and have an excellent reason for pairing the things. One DJ once, to celebrate the dog days of summer, did an entire show with songs having something to do with dogs. Yet another reflected on the death of Roy Rogers (Aelli, I believe) by having the whole show dedicated to yodeling which was far, far more interesting than it might sound. Unfortunately, KUT is being more and more run by suits, much to the station's detriment. Still, where are you really going to find DJ's that simply delight in things titled 'Tree Frogs of North America' (yes, exactly what it says.). Or simply go, "WOW! That was so good! Let's just play it again!!"

                1. Khaptain Silver badge

                  Re: Beep

                  Glad to hear that the sanity still exists in other parts of the world. Let's hope we can keep it alive without the suits spoiling everything.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Old school here

          > Radio is ok if you don't mind being force-fed the latest playlist of heavily-promoted Simon Cowell rubbish

          To be fair, it depends on the particular radio station. So-called pirate, alternative and local stations can be pretty Ok in this regard.

          What I do take issue with is the statement that radio doesn't force advertising down your throat. That's how (most of them) make a living!!!

      2. BoldMan

        Re: Old school here

        its not really YouTube directly but YouTube as a transport medium that is useful. It allows anyone to upload their performance and point to it from a variety of sources, so I don't rely on YouTube to FIND things but I do rely on it to facilitate seeing things that I find via other means.

        Either way, what they are trying to do is still a monopolistic abuse of the market

        1. Tom 35 Silver badge

          Re: Old school here

          "its not really YouTube directly but YouTube as a transport medium that is useful."

          So just using YouTube as a free host. Could use one of the smaller competitors like Vimo just as well since your not counting on YouTube to find stuff. If your just posting your videos on your Facebook page for example.

          It's not something Google has invented, not really and different then the big labels, iTunes, corporate Radio, Amazon...

          Big guy steps on little guy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah! I find all kinds of stuff on there... mostly amateur recordings and bootleg concert videos from before I was born, which seem to pass below Google's indie-label-extortion radar.

      But why Youtube? Why isn't there a blogosphere for music/video? There should be.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Why isn't there a blogosphere for music/video? There should be."

        Isn't that what MySpace, sorry , Myspace, is claiming to be these days?

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Over here, Germany, YouTube seems to wave the ban hammer at every music video they can find.

      About 80% of the links I get from family and friends in the UK have been pulled by YouTube Germany.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        ban hammer

        Did youtube ban them, or did some rights holder group that claims to own the exclusive German rights send a take down notice.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: ban hammer

          Google tried to blame in GEMA, the German equivalent of the Performing Rights, saying that they had been forced to take them down. GEMA took Google to court for misrepresenting them.

          GEMA said that in many cases Google had never asked GEMA if they could leave the video on YouTube, they were just preemptively banning them and saying "GEMA made us do it."

          Google lost and now they have to say something along the lines of 'we have removed the video, because it might contain music for which we have not approached GEMA for a licence to use.'

          GEMA is no saint and they have done a lot of bad things, as have been mentioned above, but in this case YouTube weren't waiting for a takedown and they weren't asking if it was allowed to show the video, they just banned it 'in case' GEMA might object.

      2. gryff

        YouTube in Germany

        Most of the blocked links in Germany are due to GEMA - the German music licensing outfit.

        Here's how they work: "Fred the Artist" in ..."England" ... publishes his music on ... Youtube ... and elsewhere. GEMA discover it is accessible in Germany, that Fred Artist hasn't appointed them to collect royalties and has the video blocked.

        The fact that Fred Artist was giving his music away or that identical performances are only a click away...doesn't seem the matter.

        The same outfit has asked to see the contents of music student's music folders, then sued the professors for infringement by their students if the music folder has any photocopies.. reminds me of how the telly license people used to hunt us in the 90s..

        How in hell the GEMA never get sued for interfering with the flow of goods and services in the EU is beyond me.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wouldn't be in Googles business for all the money in the world, contstantly being told how you will run your business to suit the interests of other businesses. That you're not allowed to run your business for the benefit of your business. It seems everyone believes, even individual Europeans now, know how to run Google better than Google do, and the law will be used to force Google to comply with the opinions and thoughts of everyone else.

    1. dogged

      I don't feel bad about the EU or anyone else stamping on a multi-billion dollar predatory advertising giant.

      Why do you?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Why do you?

        I don't.

        I'm not in that business, and having seen how people treat successful companies like Google, I wouldn't ever choose to get into that business.

        That was all I said.

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Seems like google themselves disagree with you - they are staying in their business even though they *only* made $3.45bn in profits last quarter.

      Poor widdle google you gotta feel sorry for them earning that sort of pittance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Gordon 10

        What's the matter mate? Jealous of someone elses success? Should everyone who is doing better than you can manage be 'put down' in someway, by someone?

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Not at all. They've done well in their choseb market. If it wasn't for their "do no evil" policy I would have no stronger feelings for them than MS and Apple. Its their rampant hipocracy I have a problem with.

    3. big_D Silver badge

      @obnoxiousGit, so you are saying Google can simply ignore the law whilst it applies to everybody else? The law is the law, anybody who breaks the law will be prosecuted, whether they have Google in their name or not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @obnoxiousGit, so you are saying Google can simply ignore the law whilst it applies to everybody else? The law is the law, anybody who breaks the law will be prosecuted, whether they have Google in their name or not.

        Am I? Where precisely did I say anything which even resembles that?

        I'm amazed that on a web filled with constant screeching from all corners about how 'evil' Google are, that any part of Google have any market position at all. If I worked at Google, I woud certainly be considering how I could shed users from the services I provided, so that all the "dominant market position" crowd could be told to go fuck themselves.

        Imagine waking up every day to go do a job which you like and which you try to do well, only to be told absolutely every single thing you and your company does is evil, and requires state intervention, and regulation. Imagine sitting and watching a bunch of nasty little fuckwits spend days whining about how the latest thing your company has done is 'evil' and how nasty you all are. Whilst they all sit there using the services you provide. It doesn't sound like much fun to me.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          and the law will be used to force Google to comply with the opinions and thoughts of everyone else.

          You imply that the law is only there to cause problems for Google. The law is there to ensure that everybody is treated the same. If Google don't want to be bothered by prosecutions or aggrevation, then they just need to follow the law like everybody else.

          The trouble is, they want to be a global company, but at the same time they only want to follow the laws at home in the USA - and that only grudgingly sometimes, by the reports in the press. If they are going to be global, then they need to follow local laws, just like every other company.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            If they are going to be global, then they need to follow local laws, just like every other company.

            You might want to rethink that last line, cause every other company isn't obeying local laws.

            The law is there to ensure that everybody is treated the same.

            Are you sure you're following the anti-Google debate?

            The laws are being used to make Google run their business inline with what their competitors think is OK. Now unless you have some evidence that Tesco is being forced to operate inline with what Asda thinks is OK, or Samsumg is being forced to operate inline with what Apple consider to be OK, I think you might have missed what's been going on.

            And before you counter with the "dominant market position" argument, you might want to look at other markets with dominant players and tell my why this argument doesn't apply there.

            1. big_D Silver badge

              This is the same thing that Standard Oil went through, that IBM went through, that Microsoft went through.

              The competition complain to the authorities. If they are found to be contravening the law, then they have to deal with it.

              In some cases the courts or competition commission / FTC have told the competitors to take a flying leap, other times they have agreed with the competitors - just look at the stupid browser ballot enforced on Microsoft! That might have been relevant up until 2010, but it isn't relevant today, it has "done its job" and could be removed. The same for the media player.

              Microsoft abused their position and were punished. Apple abused their position in the eBook market and were punished. Amazon look like they might be going the same way. Apple have had their knuckles wrapped several times for ignoring consumer protection legistlation in Europe. Google are being investigated for abusing their monopoly position in search.

              I don't think Google are being picked on more than others (past and present), but I do think that because of the "don't be Evil" mission statement they get more flack when they do start to step out of line or ignore users rights.

  3. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Coat

    the real story here

    ... is that we do know there is relationship between Google Music and Google YouTube being played against indie labels, but we do not know what T&C are being forced upon them. We only know that large labels have (apparently, but this is very believable claim) negotiated better T&C than the ones "offered" to indie.

    Mine with SDG CD in the pocket.

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick

      Re: the real story here

      Yup, nice catch.

      The INDIE Music Labels are a fine example of how Crowdsourcing can impede a perfectly viable plan for global domination. We live in a bizzaro world Animal Farm where some monopolies are not as important as others.

      I'd be more comfy is Google Driverless Cars looked more like Trabant's. I think they will, in time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the real story here

      "relationship between Google Music and Google YouTube"

      This is for the, as yet unannounced, YouTube streaming service (Music Pass) not Google Play Music, the indie labels are already licensed for that.

  4. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    FAIL

    We have changed the agreement...

    Pray we don't change it anymore

    do no evil my arse, I have not believed that from the start, anyone who did please message me their credit card details I have some snake oil I can send them.

    (Note, the above is sarcasm - this means don't send your details on the internet.)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So a bunch of musicians are complaining that the free advertising platform they use is offering them contracts they don't like the terms of.

    I guess they could all go back to MySpace?

    If you don't like the contract terms then don't sign it, and live with whatever that means. Just like the fucking rest of us.

    1. DavidJB

      No, they are complaining that a monopolistic advertising platform is threatening to bar them from using it if they do not accept the terms that the owners of the platform are trying to impose on them in connection with another service. It is about as clear a case of an abuse of a dominant market position as you could possibly find. When I first saw what the indies were complaining about, a few months ago, I refused to believe it, because I couldn't believe that YouTube/Google and all their highly-paid lawyers would be so stupid. But it seems I was wrong.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It is about as clear a case of an abuse of a dominant market position as you could possibly find.

        You missed something...

        If all the independent artists refuse to sign, Youtube doesn't have any dominance in the market because they won't have any independent artists. Maybe Youtube have decided they don't want to be dominant in the marketplace any more? Maybe they're looking ahead to when the EU start issuing rulings dictating to them how they will run each and every aspect of their business to suit other peoples businesses, and they've decided they can't be arsed with that. So they've come up with a way to get out of the dominant position. So people can stop using the standard anti-google line against them and claim they're abusing their dominant position. They don't even need every indpendent artist to refuse to sign and fuck off back to Myspace...

        1. jonathan keith

          No.

          Read this slowly to aid comprehension:

          Because of the vagaries of chance, YouTube has become the dominant player in online music distribution. It's THE website that people go to to play music.

          It is unacceptable for a business that has a monopolistic position to abuse that position by forcing smaller customers to accept terms that larger, more powerful, customers will not tolerate. This is recognised in law.

          Businesses are free to operate however they choose within the confines of the law. Only when the law is broken do authorities take an interest, and generally only after an aggrieved party has made a complaint.

          I don't know what your animus is towards independent record companies or musicians, but they're not the ones who are behaving badly in this situation. Google is. Further, the EU isn't telling Google how to run each and every aspect of its business, and never will. What they are doing is making Google operate within the law.

          1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

            moderator note

            Please do not abuse the "report post" button because other commentards are posting things you disagree with. The button is provided to help us keep the forums clear of posts that breach our comments guidelines, not for you to make it look like you've won an internet argument.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Well yes..

            What you typed seems reasonable to me.

            The only question I have is why does anyone use YouTube at all? As a 'discovery tool' its not very good

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            It is unacceptable for a business that has a monopolistic position to abuse that position by forcing smaller customers to accept terms that larger, more powerful, customers will not tolerate. This is recognised in law.

            Neither Google or Youtube can force independent artists to sign contracts, claims they can are false.

            All Google and Youtube can do is try to get indepedent artists to sign contracts, if the artists refuse and take their business elsewhere, Google and Youtube will not have the dominant position in the marketplace, which has everyone claiming they're forcing people to sign contracts against their will.

    2. jonathan keith

      new, shiny, edited, non-abusive version

      No, they're complaining that Google is abusing its power and offering them less favourable contracts (and therefore less revenue) than their larger and more powerful competitors.

      Foul, monopolistic behaviour, when YouTube is the largest platform for such material and the small fish in the pond don't have a realistic alternative to move to.

      Much like Amazon are doing to Hachette and their writers at the moment.

      That's what the anger is about, and quite right too.

  6. DougS Silver badge

    Google and Amazon are both trying to bully using their market power

    The US certainly won't stop them, hopefully the EU can!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google and Amazon are both trying to bully using their market power

      Yes, god forbid any company should be successful in the market... it just won't do, someone must do something about it... the government, it must be their responsibility.

      1. jonathan keith

        Re: Google and Amazon are both trying to bully using their market power

        Alternatively, god forbid that we should live in a society without any rule of law, where businesses are free to operate in any way they choose with complete disregard for responsibility, ethical behaviour or anything other than their bottom line.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google and Amazon are both trying to bully using their market power

          Alternatively, god forbid that we should live in a society without any rule of law, where businesses are free to operate in any way they choose with complete disregard for responsibility, ethical behaviour or anything other than their bottom line.

          I wasn't aware that offering someone less favourable contract terms, than you choose to offer another person/entity, was against the law? If it is then every commercial company everywhere is breaking the law.

          1. jonathan keith

            Re: Google and Amazon are both trying to bully using their market power

            We are discussing this within the context of abuse of power within a monopoly. Specifically YouTube. At least, everyone else is. You seem to be upset simply by the idea that corporate monoliths should be prevented from doing whatever they like.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Google and Amazon are both trying to bully using their market power

              What monopoly?

              As far as I understand it (as more and more details are being revealed) this objection comes from an organisation called AIM, who seemingly represent independent artists, who make up 80% of the music industry.

              If AIM take the independent artists to another service provider (because they don't like the contract terms) then Youtube lose. Youtube don't have a monopoly they maybe currently by the predominant supplier, but only because AIM (on behalf of the independent artists) have made it that way. AIM can change that in an instant.

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