YouTube threatens to block musician’s channel over contract dispute

Musician Zoe Keating has revealed that YouTube has threatened to block her channel unless she signs up to its Music Key service.

The Music Key contract would last for five years and place a series of restrictions on the artist, but Keating explained that YouTube is not open to negotiating.

Read more: YouTube targets Spotify with new ‘Music Key’ subscription service

“My Google Youtube rep contacted me the other day. They were nice and took time to explain everything clearly to me, but the message was firm: I have to decide. I need to sign on to the new Youtube music services agreement or I will have my Youtube channel blocked,” the artist wrote in a blog post.

The cellist is without a record label, preferring to remain independent, but her videos have received more than 500,000 views in total. She also generates income from other videos that feature her music via YouTube's Content ID system. However, failure to agree to the site’s terms means she will forfeit that revenue.

Keating has outlined the terms of the deal on her website, which include that all songs must be accompanied by adverts and must be made available in both the free and premium Music Key service. She is also required to release new music on YouTube at the same time as anywhere else, meaning she is no longer able to release tracks to her core fans on Bandcamp as she had done previously.

The musician claims that she is not anti-technology, having worked previously as a software engineer, but feels that digital companies fail to accept criticism of their services.

“The people who work at Google, Facebook, etc can’t imagine how everything they make is not, like, totally awesome. If it’s not awesome for you it’s because you just don’t understand it yet and you’ll come around,” she wrote.

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YouTube and other music platforms such as Spotify have been criticised a number of times over unfair treatment of artists and bullying tactics. Keating has stated that she is still undecided as to whether or not to accept YouTube’s contract, but did, somewhat jokingly, ask if anyone was “starting up a new video service?”