YouTube is reactivating thousands of music videos on its UK site after reaching agreement with songwriters' body PRS For Music over licence payments. The company has agreed a deal with the body that will run until 2012.
Google-owned video sharing site YouTube blocked all official copies of music videos on its UK service in March after failing to agree terms with PRS For Music on the renewal of a licence to use songwriters' material.
YouTube's licence to use UK songwriters' music expired in January and the new deal will be backdated to then, PRS For Music said in a statement.
The deal reportedly involves a lump sum payment rather than the per-song royalties that YouTube previously said PRS For Music had been demanding.
"It is important that those who are creating music – the writers and composers we represent - be rewarded when their works are used. YouTube is a popular online video destination, and this new licence continues to support musical talent," said Andrew Shaw, managing director of broadcast and online at PRS For Music. "This is an achievement for songwriters, composers and the YouTube community alike and it reinforces the value of our members’ work.”
"We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with PRS for Music and look forward to the return of premium music videos to YouTube in the UK where they will join a variety of other content to be enjoyed by our British users," said YouTube's director of video partnerships Patrick Walker.
The lump sum to be paid has not been disclosed by either party.
When the videos disappeared from YouTube last March PRS For Music said that it had not asked for the videos to be taken down and said that YouTube took the action in the middle of unconcluded negotiations.
YouTube said that PRS For Music was demanding unrealistic royalty rates that would leave it out of pocket every time a viewer watched a video.
"PRS is now asking us to pay many, many times more for our licence than before," said a statement from Patrick Walker, director of video partnerships for YouTube in Europe, at the time. "The costs are simply prohibitive for us – under PRS's proposed terms we would lose significant amounts of money with every playback."
Streaming music services have clashed before with record labels and songwriters' representatives over payment for the music used. Streaming music companies such as Pandora have said that they will go out of business if forced to pay on a per-track basis for material.