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CMU@TGE Previews: YouTube licensing – explained at last!

By | Published on Thursday 21 April 2016


Four weeks today The Great Escape will be kicking off for another year, presenting 450 bands in 30 venues over three days in Brighton, with 3500 music industry professionals gathering alongside 16,500 festival-goers for the UK’s big annual seaside celebration of new music and the new music industry.
Once again at the heart of the convention programme you will find CMU Insights @ The Great Escape, our annual conference putting the spotlight on the very latest trends and development in the business of music. Unlike most other music industry conferences, CMU@TGE focuses on just four topics, presenting a full day of content around each theme with a mixture of talks, case studies, interviews and debates.
Each day in the CMU Daily in the run up to this year’s Great Escape, Business Editor Chris Cooke will preview a different session, explaining the thinking behind it. And first in the line for previewing, the sessions that form the full-day strand ‘What if YouTube actually is the future?’, taking place on the Thursday, 19 May, in Dukes @ Komedia 2…

YouTube is the devil, or so says Metallica manager Peter Mensch. It’s certainly the talking point that won’t go away, as the majors try their hardest to negotiate more favourable terms from the world’s biggest streaming platform, while concurrently sending their lobbyists to Brussels and Washington in a bid to get copyright law rewritten, so that the safe harbours Google relies on to operate an ‘opt-out’ streaming service may be removed.

We’re not going to settle the big stand-off between the music rights owners and YouTube in a conference room, but we can inform the debate, and that’s what we are going to do at the start of our YouTube and video focused strand at CMU Insights @ The Great Escape next month, with the session ‘YouTube licensing – explained at last!’

We all know the licensing of streaming services is complex. That’s why the Music Managers Forum commissioned us to write the ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ report last year which explains how audio streaming services like Spotify are licensed by record companies, music publishers and collecting societies. But with YouTube, there are some extra complexities, not least because the video platform is multiple things – a streaming platform, a media platform and a user-generated content platform.

My mission in ‘YouTube licensing – explained at last!’ is to try to explain how YouTube is licensed in just 30 minutes, including how Vevo and Warner Music managed channels fit into the mix. I’ll also explain in the simplest possible terms what the safe harbours are all about, just in case any of you have been nodding furiously in meetings that “something must be done” while not really understanding what the hell safe harbours are actually all about.

Then I’ll be talking to three brilliant people with three very different perspectives on the licensing issues around YouTube and video online: Sophie Goossens from law firm August & Debouzy, Stacey Mitsopulos from broadcaster Box Plus and Christina Vaughan from music licensing hub CueSongs.

We’ll start by getting our heads around the safe harbours issue, and understanding the processes underway in Brussels and Washington to review the laws from which YouTube benefits. But more than that, we’ll investigate the other complexities around the licensing of YouTube and similar platforms, and discuss where there are inefficiencies and missed opportunities which may be the fault of the music industry more than big bad Google.

‘YouTube licensing – explained at last!’ takes place at 11am on Thursday 19 May in Dukes@Komedia 2, kickstarting a whole day focused on YouTube and video online, hosted by Brittney Bean of Tracks2. You will find a full outline of the day here, plus look out for previews of the other sessions taking place as part of the strand in upcoming editions of the CMU Daily.

TGE delegates get access to all of CMU Insights @ The Great Escape and all the other festivities that take place over the three days of the festival – passes are £230 and available here. This year tickets are also available for just the convention side of the proceedings for £100 and those can be bought here.