War Of Words Continues Between TRENT REZNOR, NIKKI SIXX And YouTube
According to The Pulse Of Radio, NINE INCH NAILS mainman Trent Reznor and MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx have both criticized YouTube in recent days over its royalty payments to artists for streaming their videos, which is considered not as satisfactory or fair as those of Apple Music and Spotify. Reznor, who is also chief creative officer at Apple Music, told Billboard on Monday (June 13): “I find YouTube‘s business to be very disingenuous. It is built on the backs of free, stolen content and that’s how they got that big. I think any free-tiered service is not fair.”
Sixx weighed in as well over the weekend in an open letter from SIXX:A.M. (in which he is joined by former GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist DJ Ashba and producer James Michael), writing: “Artists from every genre are finding it impossible to pursue their art in a world dominated by YouTube… Without changes, young musicians will no longer be able to make music for a living and the next generation of fans will be robbed of great artists. Dreams of breaking into the music industry will effectively be unattainable.”
Sixx told The Pulse Of Radio that the rate of compensation that YouTube and its parent company Google provide has not kept up with technology. “The speed of how you can get your music and whatever else you wanna get, it’s at your fingertips,” he said. “We all know that, and they are building a huge business off of that. Should they not be paying a competitive pay rate for the artists so they can keep doing music?”
Sixx noted that YouTube pays one-sixth of what artists get from Spotify and Apple Music.
YouTube pushed back against both artists, responding to Reznor by saying: “Today the revenue from fan uploaded content accounts for roughly 50 percent of the music industry’s YouTube revenue. Any assertion that this content is largely unlicensed is false. To date, we have paid out over $3 billion to the music industry — and that number is growing year on year.”
YouTube also replied to Sixx‘s letter, saying: “The voices of the artists are being heard, and we’re working through details with the labels and independent music organizations who directly manage the deals with us.” The company dismissed comparisons to Apple Music and Spotify, saying their business models were different.
SIXX:A.M. responded to YouTube‘s statement, saying: “We are glad to hear that YouTube is listening. But actions speak louder than words.”
YouTube is continuing to negotiate with record labels over the structure of its streaming revenue, which is critical to artists now as digital income becomes more important.