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YouTube has signed a deal with AMRA to make it easier for artists to earn and track money.
The site has established itself as a vital part of the music business: the go-to place for fans to watch videos. In the short time since Adele’s new single, Hello, was released, the song has racked up 87 million views. 10 music videos, meanwhile, have passed the elusive 1 billion view mark – a milestone first reached by Psy’s Gangnam Style.
In fact, videos are racing to that figure faster than ever: on average, it takes those videos 484 days to reach the big 1 billion – but the last three videos did it in an average of just 241 days.
Videos on the site, the third most-visited in the world, also benefit from exposure to the community of users. Adele’s video, in no time at all, prompted a string of “Hello” memes relating to Lionel Ritchie. This one has now had over 2.8 million views:
YouTube’s relationship with the music industry, like many streaming sites in this digital age, has been surrounded by the debate of how much money artists earn. Last week, YouTube announced YouTube Red, a new subscription designed to generate revenue from those who want to watch videos – including songs – both offline and without adverts.
While YouTube is pinning its hopes on the model to bring in bigger bucks, its new deal with AMRA will please the biz by helping to improve the ability of artists to track and collect payments.
Rights holders will be able to track views on the site in real time, which should help with the collection of payments for adverts played on a music video – the site already includes links to purchase tracks online. It might sound minor, but Kobalt (which acquired AMRA this year) tells The Telegraph that a huge chunk (around 70 per cent) of income due from music streaming can get lost because of technical errors, broken links or lack of transparency over the amount owed.
“This deal is hugely significant for the music industry,” Willard Ahdritz, founder and chief executive of Kobalt, tells the newspaper.
“It will dramatically change the way songwriters get paid from YouTube, which is the largest streaming service in the world.”
YouTube has generated over $1 billion in revenue for the music business in the last few years, according to Christophe Muller, YouTube’s global director of music partnerships.
How does the money chain break down exactly? Well, AMRA charges a flat fee per transaction, while Kobalt’s clients (including Lionel Ritchie and 50 Cent) pay the firm a small percentage.
The deal with YouTube follows a similar agreement with Apple Music, a rival subscription service to YouTube Red, which currently has more than 6.5 million members.
“Our deal with AMRA takes this work another step forward to ensure that artists, songwriters, and publishers get the maximum value from YouTube,” Muller comments.
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