Warner vs. YouTube

The world’s third largest record company Warner Music Group has pulled all of its YouTube videos, having failed to negotiate acceptable contract renewal terms with the company. Artists now absent from Google’s flagship video sharing website include Led Zeppelin, Madonna and the The Ramones.

In addition to the videos themselves, Warner are also demanding that any user submitted clips featuring their artists be removed – no mean feat considering the ever growing multitude of vids online. In a further twist, in 1990 Warner bought the rights to Happy Birthday to You and effectively own the tune and lyrics until 2030, further complicating the issue.

Google is currently attempting to negotiate terms with the remaining members of the –  “big four’ – EMI, Sony and Universal. Talks broke down after Google attempted to change the way that the labels generate revenue from their current pay-per-play terms to a more ad focused system.

According to, Google owners Larry Page and Sergey Brin should be looking over the fence at recently launched video website Hulu which operates on a basis of sharing full television content such as Family Guy and Arrested Development with each clip preloaded with unskippable ads. With 24 million unique hits in October, the US-only website is certainly making the big boys sit up and take notice. Pair this with the recent breakdown in talks with YouTube, and it is clear to see why the record labels are looking to fashion a similar music based website to rival the Tube.

With a bit of luck, the other three labels will nut out a deal with Google, keeping YouTube as good a timewaster as ever, and just remember that for every New Order, Fleetwood Mac and Red Hot Chili Peppers track that goes down, they’ll also take one from The Veronicas, TV Rock and Nickelback – so it’s not all bad.