More details have emerged about Music Key, the Spotify competitor Google is launching on YouTube next Monday. Global rights agency Merlin — a representative for more than 20,000 independent labels and distributors, including Beggars Group, Domino and Merge — voiced their support of the subscription service in a statement to Wondering Sound today, reinforcing the reasons why they reached an agreement with the company after a brief standoff last summer.
“We are very pleased that the world’s leading independents, as represented by Merlin, are part of this new phase of YouTube’s evolution,” Merlin CEO Charles Caldas said. “We wish YouTube much success in the development of the new subscription features and of the service as a whole.”
In a separate press release, the trade organization A2IM (a.k.a. the American Association of Independent Music) applauded Merlin’s decision to reach a deal with Google. “We are very pleased to hear of this outcome and thank Merlin, who represent many A2IM members, and YouTube,” said president Rich Bengloff. “We believe actual music usage should be the only basis for calculating compensation on sound recordings. No matter what the size of the music label or what artists are involved, there should be a level playing field with content valued equally for all copyright owners.”
All of this echoes what we heard from Alison Wenham — the chair of Worldwide Independent Network and the UK Association of Independent Music — a few days ago. “We are pleased that Google has recognized the importance of the independent music sector,” she told WS. “As we have said all along during this dispute YouTube is a fantastic platform, which is hugely important to our members. Having a fair agreement in place, which acknowledges the value of independent music companies both creatively and commercially, is good for all involved.”