back to article YouTube blocks music videos in UK

YouTube is blocking most of its music videos from UK viewers after negotiations with British royalty collectors turned sour. The Performing Rights Society (PRS) for Music, a group representing artists and publishers, and YouTube both blame each other entirely for the impasse, of course. Patrick Walker, YouTube's top pact- …


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  1. mh.
    Thumb Down


    I think the best way to sort this out would be to put all the lawyers in a room, lock the door and throw away the key. Doesn't matter what happens to them afterwards, just get rid of them. Sometimes these discussions come across like Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Who's going to make any money at all if no one can watch the videos? Groucho Marx had the right approach for dealing with lawyers:

  2. dAVE SHIT
    Thumb Down

    What a big bunch of twats

    The PRS should be paying youtube... music videos are called "promos" due to the fact that they sell records. MTV doesn't pay shit for their videos, they demand them for free and the music industry comes running like the pussies they are. I bet the likes of Daft Punk have sold loads of music off the back of those harder, better, faster, stronger.. videos. I also suspect those youtube videos had something to do with Kanye West using the track.

  3. The Mighty Spang

    .... and nothing of value was lost

    sorry isn't this slashdot?

  4. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    So video or sound?

    So, are they blocking the whole video, or are they doing what they do for some youtube videos here in the states with unlicensed music and just blocking the audio? Watching muted music videos could be rather amusing 8-)

  5. Frank

    Worse Than Kids in a Playground

    "But PRS is now asking us to pay many, many times more for our license than before," he wrote. "

    "The music group claims YouTube wants to pay "significantly less than at present to the writers of the music ..."

    I'm waiting for shouts of "....pants on fire"

    As an aside: "In December 2008, Warner Music Group began removing its videos from YouTube ...". I assume you mean they began issuing mandatory take down notices? The sentence suggests that Warner Music posted them onto U-Bend in the first place.

    The entire relationship between the music INDUSTRY and the online groups has been dysfunctional for many years. After all the time and money they have spent on lawyers they could have had world class relationship therapy from professional councilors and psychiatrists.

  6. Jon Smit

    PRS greed continues ...

    How many fingers do the PRS want in the music pie? What next - a tax on ears? The entertainment industry is doing very nicely without the need for these parasites to be chasing everyone who wants to listen to music.

  7. adnim

    What a huge loss

    It's not like todays throw away music with its emphasis on the sex used to promote the music is worth a shit anyway. Talentless, packaging over content bullshit, where any skill involved comes from the producer and sound engineer.

  8. Mark McC

    Gun, meet foot

    Dear music industry,

    Hardball negotiation tactics generally only work if the other party needs you more than you need them. In these tough times of economic downturn and rampant piracy, you're the guys who need whatever income and goodwill you can scrape together, not Google.

    Losing one of your largest outlets for advertising your product and further demonising yourself in the eyes of your customers (no matter who's at fault, the music industry will bear the blame for this) is not a wise move.

    Then again, you've been a bit short on smart moves recently. Maybe you should accept Google's offer, on the condition that they throw in a few of their gurus to teach you how to develop a business strategy that your customers can actually tolerate.



  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No problem.

    Back to bittorrent then...

  10. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Up

    Well done!

    Well done PRS! In one fell swoop you have managed to lose all your artists a great music advertising space. Hope you're proud of yourselves! You know that now downloads of ripped CD and DVD's will go up, out there in torrent land?

  11. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Who can make it pay

    "who can earn enough money in the biz if YouTube can't?"

    If "the biz" is the provision of music for free then might I humbly suggest that no-one can? I don't want to come over all rocket scientist, but I'm a little tired of hearing about how clever everyone's business model is at a time when everyone's business is going down the pan because of their cleverness. (Yes, advertisers, you're next after the "financial services" sector.) Perhaps this would be a good time for everyone to knuckle down to some boring "reality based" economics, where stuff people want is made available by those who have it in exchange for something called money. TANSTAAFL, people!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm not taking sides in this but...

    "PRS noted the site's parent company Google made $5.7bn in revenues in the last quarter of 2008."

    Mmmm.... they have a point. I think I would be somewhat dismissive of any claims of poverty that Google might make too.

  13. Chris Beach

    Go YouTube...

    YouTube are right, the mess of convoluted licenses for entertainment products is insane, and every one of the *iaa mafia and its clones wants a piece of the the license money never benefits the actual creators at all.

    The whole thing needs scrapping and rebuilding.

  14. JimC

    *which* copyright music?

    So does that mean Youtube will be determinedly removing and and all copyright music from their site? Bet your ass no: only the stuff they actually have to pay for... For an organisation who created their business around ripped off content they have a hell of a cheek...

  15. General A. Annoying

    "music industry shoots self in foot. again"

    "loading flintlock pistol for second shot."

    I'd imagine of all the 'music fans' this is going to piss off, 99% will take all of 5 minutes (tops) to figure out where to access Youtube via a non-UK proxy server. And I'd take a guess at a large proportion of them doing just that.

    Wakey Wakey, PRS. Your business model hasn't changed, it's been completely destroyed. You need to build a new one. From scratch.

    Ops like Youtube are NOT your customers, just part of a big shopping window. Take your 'product' out of the window, or pull down the shutters and the real customers might just look for a different 'product'.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Great news!

    Nice one YouTube!

    Maybe people will now start to realise that there is other music out there other than the "commercial product" that is the charts. There's lots of brilliant user created music on Youtube (and the internet in general) that blows all of this commercial crap out of the water. You just have to find it and isn't hard to do so.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh well...

    To the imeem mobile my good chum!

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Foot meet bullet

    Although we don't have the full details, so let's presume it's somewhere in the middle. I would seriously think this is going to hurt the PRS (and in turn musicians) far more than YouTube.

    The PRS state that Google has plenty of cash, but that is a crap argument. I wouldn't pay £500 for a tin of baked bins, even if I won the lottery, just because I have a lot of money.

    The PRS can't complain if YouTube yank the Vids, it's the service they provide for their own purposes, it's not there for the musicians or the PRS.

    To be honest we're all getting sick of the Music biz complaining that Apple / YouTube / <Insert name> are ripping them off. If they are that bothered, why not set up their own? Oh of course easier to cream the money of someone else's infrastructure and hard work.

    I'm not taking sides, here, but on the face of it, PRS will come off a lot worse than YouTube.

    Pirate icon as that's where people will turn to.

  19. tom

    Sounds like PRS want a bigger slice.

    It shouldn't matter how much money YouTube makes, so PRS pointing it out just shouts "Look! They made all this money last year! It's not fair!"

    As the article suggests, taking music off YouTube just means people will sample it by other means - usually downloading. Which means they end up with a copy of the file. Bad move by PRS in my opinion.

  20. Mike Tubby

    Actually I welcome this!

    I welcome YouTube's stand against the PRS! As an owner of several small businesses I am fed up of PRS's continued persual of me an my companies for licenses that I do not need! Their (PRS) tactics are not much short of outright harassment - I have received tens of telephone calls and letters despite writing to them and telling them that I do not use music in any way in my business [except the license-free music-on-hold that comes with Asterisk PBX that is].

    PRS have changed - they have gone from being an "in the background" organisation that you sort-of knew that you had to get a license from if you ran a pub/shop/club to a greedy "property grab / money grab" type organisation that seem to be using the drag-net approach to bothering every name that they can find at Companies' House - even if its a non-trading company that exists to protect a product name or trademark!

    I'm sure that the reason that YouTube can't deal with PRS is because they have an overly optimistic idea of what their 'property' is worth and egos that are way too big to go with it!

    PRS wake up! Get with the plan! Nobody likes you - nobody wants to deal with you!


  21. Steven Foster

    You said it really

    Nobody is impressed when these big companies start acting like spoiled brats and fall out in public, and the only people who suffer are the customers.

    Pretty pathetic really, but certainly nothing new.

  22. Sooty

    good on them!

    i wish more people would negociate with music labels like this, want to jack up your price, then fine we won't stock it at all, see how much more money you make that way!

    Especially as they are refusing to say what the royalties actually pay for!

  23. david

    Good move by YouTube

    They have managed to fsck over the people they are supposed to be working for. The music business and poor artists that we steal from by not paying them their dues.

    Isn't the premium music stuff put up there to promote artists. Sort of like advertising but free.

    YouTube should push back to the promotors and artists to bear the PRS costs out of the bit of advertising budget they have saved. So the PRS could give the promotors and artists what they are due. See what I've done there?

    I hope YouTube have the balls not to back down and just highlight that the heavy handed PRS bully-boys are good for no one except themselves.

  24. Simon Buttress
    Thumb Up

    ...and this is bad how?

    Is it really a bad thing to officially block a lot of major label mince from Youtube? If it means less Beyonce & Britney then I'mm all for it!

  25. Samson Chan
    Paris Hilton

    Just Tried Now...

    If I didn't read this article, I would be thinking "WTF", as the only thing YouTube tells you is a very minimalistic "this video is not available in your country", with no link explaining why!

    I'm guessing if they linked to a press release, say, then they can get people pissed off and they can use it to their advantage?

    Paris, because her video was blocked :p

  26. Gareth Holmes
    Thumb Down

    PRS bullying

    Who appointed the PRS again?

    I got a letter from them last week demanding that I pay for a music license. The wording was something like, "If you play music for your clients then you are legally required to have our license to ensure royalties are paid". I noted that there was no ambiguity and that playing music equals paying PRS or else some form of legal shenanigans.

    As a musician who writes and records all the music I supply to clients I fail to see how legally I am bound to pay the PRS (who take a cut) to ensure that I get my own royalties for the music that I provide to everyone else as creative commons works.

    It seems like the letter was worded in order to "scare" people into getting a license as the wording was very much a statement of fact rather than an advisory letter.

  27. dreadful scathe

    another deal falls through

    so yet again UK consumers lose out. Perhaps the Performing Rights Society should be trying harder - it does sound like their demands, yet again, are too much to take.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Nice one Google

    Go and tell those greedy fat pigs where to get off

  29. Mike Smith

    P2P 1 PRS 0

    "But when customers can get their content elsewhere easier (and often illegally, where nobody gets paid) the licensing e-tantrum can certainly backfire on both"

    Which is exactly what will happen. And no, I've no sympathy for the PRS at all. Here is demand, a global brand that is meeting that demand and a providing a very easy way to distribute content. So what do these eejits do? Take their toys home and sulk.

    So until the pigs decide to pull their snouts a little further out of the trough and put their customers first, I'll keep using P2P downloads.

  30. Neil Greatorex

    "customer outrage"

    I'm not in the slightest bit outraged. Let's hope they don't do a deal, surely keeping all the Cowellian Karaoke crap off permanently, would be a real result. :-)

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    First Football, Now YouTube?

    Not sure about the other premiership football clubs but I know that Arsenal have recently pulled the plug on their music license with the PRS as they were asking around 10 times the amount for the license this year, just for them to be able to play music before and after the games on the concourse.

    Why are they so greedy? Is this their new efforts to counteract losses through piracy?

  32. Steven Jones


    Youtube is stuffed full of amateurs (and some semi-professionsals) covering songs - very mixed quality of course,.From a purely legal point of view, the songwriters would be entitlted to royalties from any performances broadcast. So it will be interesting to see if the PRS pushes that line. Now it might be that it would be considered to be a benefit to humanity to block 95% of these, but that would be a slippery slope in derivative works by any amateurs in a whole number of fields.

  33. Efros
    Thumb Down


    should dress themselves up as Adam Ant and start singing 'Stand and Deliver'. While I believe that artists deserve remuneration for their work, be they performers or writers, the PRS are little more than an uvverwisen agency, "Pay me money uvverwisen I'll smash yer face in".


  34. Adrian Waterworth
    Thumb Down

    I'm actually with YouTube on this one...

    In recent years, the PRS seems to have increasingly taken a leaf out of the RIAA and MPAA books. They have become exceedingly fond of getting firms of solicitors to write very serious-looking, threatening letters to all and sundry to try to screw as much money out of people as possible. Owners of small hotels and guest houses have been getting hit for payment demands if they provide radios, CD players or even clock-radios in their rooms (regardless of the fact that the radio stations are paying their PRS dues anyway). Similarly, garages and engineering workshops have been getting the "pay up or you're in trouble" letters if they allow their staff to listen to radios/CDs while working.

    At one time, a PRS licence was for the public broadcast of musical works - pubs, clubs, theatres, concert venues, etc. But now it seems like the PRS wants to hit you for payments even if you just happen to have a bit of music playing in your offices for the staff or even if one of your staff just happens to bring their radio or CD player in for their own use and it can be overheard by someone else. The presence or otherwise of the general public - much less any paying public - now seems to be irrelevant.

    I don't know who introduced this new regime at the PRS - which once appeared to be quite a calm and sensible organisation - but the whole thing now needs reformed. I can well believe that they were asking YouTube for some hugely unsustainable licence payment, given that they'll demand umpteen hundred quid per year from anyone who just happens to have a radio or music player in their garage.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    way to go PRS

    there was me thinking videos were adverts for bands ...

    Just last week I used youtube to find videos of a couple of bands I'd heard songs of -- to see if I liked more of their ouvre and then purchase a CD. No videos -- no CD sales.

  36. A J Stiles
    Thumb Down

    Meow - Squeak - Meow - Squeak - zzzzz

    And so another round of the cat-and-mouse game begins, with people posting content as fast as YouTube remove it.

    Nobody pays for stuff anymore; if they can't get it free, they'll happily do without. That's the way things work in the 21st century. Deal with it.

  37. Rob Beard

    I blame PRS

    Well personally I blame PRS. Fair enough they should get some royalties for for every play, I'm not arguing with that, but what I don't like about PRS is their bullying tatics. I mean they get royalties from radio stations and then they start targeting the little guys (small one man band businesses who listen to the radio when they're working). If they keep getting away with it, how long will it be before we the customers have to buy an annual PRS licence to listen to legitimately bought music or to listen to music on TV or the radio.


  38. Hugh_Pym

    Greedy PRS

    So the PRS are saying YouTube owes them not based on YouTube's profits but because the parent company is rich. It's not the artists that they are worried about it's their own fat salaries. The artists lose far more from loss of exposure than they could gain in royalties.

    I tried to sell a knackered 10 year old Ford Escort to some guy and asked for £150,000.00 'cause his daddy was rich. Didn't work.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The PRS have shot themselves in the foot.

    "PRS noted the site's parent company Google made $5.7bn in revenues in the last quarter of 2008."

    So just because the parent company made a lot of money, the PRS expect YouTube to give them more.


  40. Alexis Vallance

    Does it make any difference?

    People will just continue to upload them themselves. They'll probably make more of a concerted effort now actually.

  41. Anonymous Coward


    If you erase cookies, when you go to YouTube, it'll ask if you want to be considered as in the UK or Elswehere - just click Cancel to be seen as not in the UK. I tried this and it seemed to work, I can't find any "blocked" videos.

    Even if I found some, the next step is using a free proxy server.

    Of course, how desperate are people to look at YouTube? I bet not many people have sympathy for either YouTube's owners Google, or the PRS who claw back money for insanely wealthy pop stars.

  42. andy bird

    OR How to make children into pirates

    My two daughters watch vids on youtube all the time.. it will take them 30 seconds to switch to pirate bay when they discover they cant watch them any more


  43. chris jones

    Proxy anyone?

    People in the UK will do the same with YouTube as they did with Pandora - simply go via a proxy site overseas.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love it

    So now the PRS, greedy bunch of tossers that they are, get nothing. That's zero. Very very funny :)

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me just check...

    No, apparently I don't care.

  46. Tony Paulazzo
    Paris Hilton

    Oh No!

    :declineoftheinternet - geographical based firewalls.

    When did all these rights holders become so powerful?

    Mind you, with the UK and US governments guilty of implicitly allowing torture of terrorist suspects, not being able to view some bland pop music on the internet might wake the youth up to actually do something about the new age we seem to be entering, instead of sitting in front of their PC facebooking everybody how much they heart various things...

    Er... like I'm doing now.

  47. greg
    Thumb Down

    thank god for torrents

    And they wonder why they cant stamp out piracy. Greedy fucks.

  48. Anonymous Coward


    It's one thing paying for a license to broadcast to an audience, but listening to the radio at work should not count... the broadcaster has already paid the PRS their due.

    The bloke in my local sarnie shop likes to listen to the footy and the occasional tune while he works but can't anymore, apparently he's been threatened by the PRS with a hefty fine and court case unless he pays their blood money, an absolute disgrace. The broadcaster has *already* paid the PRS, now the PRS want the audience to pay aswell.

    It's about time someone stood their ground and told them where to get off.

    A massive own goal for the PRS and their greed.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paying to screen their advertising?

    When will the retarded music industry realise that a music video is an ADVERT. They expect Youtube to pay for screening their adverts when they are the beneficiary of the resulting album sales and downloads.

    Another example of how the music industry's business model is f**ked. The next thing you know they'll be billing us if we want to read posters advertising their concerts.

  50. Dennis
    Thumb Up

    give me all your Money, Money, Money!!!

    PRS/record companies getting a little too greedy!

    Well I guess they will just go back to plodding the streets and slapping court orders on small shops/business's listening to the radio.

    Go youTube don't take their shit! I guess it all come down to who has the biggest wad and in this case its youTube.

    I could see this ending in court. If only they could conceive of an anti-piracy argument to sue them for. The format/technology they use promotes piracy. Yes that's it brilliant.

  51. Gordon Pryra

    They always talk about how much the artist is going to get

    Which is bolloxs as we know the money just goes to the holding company and the artist gets bugger all.

    I say "good on you you-tube" you tell the parasites where to go

  52. This post has been deleted by its author

  53. Chris Morrison


    The PRS can't win here. Nobody likes them. Google are coming out of this as the good guys and the PRS are again the bad guys. And rightly so as the collection agency for one of the worlds biggest cartels.

    As much as I'm ok with freeloading being illegal the PRS and music/video labels need a kick in the arse. Folk will just download illegally if they can't get music cheaply in the knowledge that the recording artists get hee haw anyway.

    The music industry could have made an absolute killing from the internet. Instead it has decided to oppose almost everything on the internet with the result that it doesn't stop whinging about falling revenues. How long till the PRS, Motion Picture Ass etc crawl into their holes and die and we might get a fair system. Fair to the consumer first and the provider second like other good service businesses in the world.

  54. Wortel

    Overzealous DRM and Licensing 101

    Rule #1: Neither works the way -you- want it to.

    Any questions?

    Of course in the end it is the consumer who pays, either by deprivation or starvation (of resources).

  55. Jack

    Hypocrisy much?

    At a risk of stating the obvious ...

    When Youtube don't pay the 'fair' rate for the vids and show them, they are evil criminal terrorist supporting pirates stealing the food from the artists.

    When Youtube device they can't afford the 'fair' rates and stop showing the vids, they are being unreasonable.

    .. and the music industry wonder why people think that they are just money-grabbing pond-scum.

  56. Steve Foster

    PRS out of control

    Once upon a time, businesses, charites and other organisations could legally have radios playing in their premises for all to enjoy, and the radio stations paid fees (based on audience size) to the PRS (and other such bodies).

    Today, the PRS claim that such organisations *also* need to pay them for the privilege of listening to the radio, even though the radio stations are still paying them.

    IOW, the PRS are trying to get paid multiple times for the same "performance".

  57. This post has been deleted by its author

  58. Doug Glass



  59. Jim Stevens


    [PRS] We're outraged that our videos are on Youtube. Take them down at once.

    [Google] erm, how about if we pay you royalties?

    [PRS] I suppose that will do.

    Some time later...

    [PRS] Can we have some more money?

    [Google] Actually we're not that fussed. We'll take them down after all.

    [PRS] We're outraged that our videos aren't on Youtube. Put them back at once.


  60. Anonymous Coward

    What an strange business model

    The PRS should be paying YouTube to air their promos.

    Isn't that how advertising works?

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This of any use...

  62. Simon Brown

    luckily I can pay my rent in "goodwill" and "promotion"

    As a very minor PRS registered artist I am so lucky that my landlord takes payment in "goodwill" and "promotion" rather than hard cash or I'd be out on the street. I couldn't give a flying f@ck whether U2 get paid PRS royalties but I'm glad I do. Even if it's not much.

    @ dAVE SHIT - MTV certainly do pay PRS:

    As for paying to play music radio or other recorded music (such us my mp3 collection) at work - I'm sorry but since when did I give you permission to use my music to increase the productivity and output of your staff for free? Whilst I agree that the amounts the PRS asks for from employers are high and should be lowered, I don't believe that the music should be free. Let's imagine that over the course of a year the music played in a workplace increases productivity by 2%. Lets imagine you're a mechanic, just you and your mate working the business, taking home £20k / year each (or at least that's what you tell the taxman). So your business made £40k last year, which would have been £39,216 with the radio off. For the extra £884 you made, PRS want to charge you £44 to pay towards the musicians who made that extra money possible - what is wrong with that?

    Back to youtube - how many people in real life watch the video on youtube or listen to the music then buy the cd? Given that 95% of all music downloads are illegal / unpaid (for the artists at least) the answer is precious few. Most of the PRS members in the UK are not on massive money. Youtube's masters, Google, took $5.7bn in revenues for q4 2008 and I'm supposed to give them my music for free because it's good "promotion". Promotion means nothing. Unless money changes hands at the end of it, promotion, marketing, PR, the whole thing is worthless - why should I invest what little I have into something that doesn't pay any returns?

    Take it to its logical conclusion and suddenly advertising companies start using my music for free, because it's "good promotion". My music ends up on a film which is free because it's "good promotion". My albums are in the shops and I get to number one on the album charts but I don't get paid a penny because all those sales and all that exposure were "good promotion". I do a bunch of gigs but don't get paid because they were all "good promotion". Music IS good fun but for some of us it's also the way we make a living.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    interesting reading


  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    PRS are a bunch of bully boy con artists, fact.

    The sooner they are investigated the better.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ AC: 'Desperate'

    "Just click Cancel to be seen as not in the UK."

    Great tip ! Thank you.

    (Even though you've broken the DMCA and are therefore the personal cause of $$$GAZILLIONS$$$ of loss to the recording industry. Just as well you stayed anonymous with 1337 H4X0r sk1llz like that.)

  66. Frank Bough

    Difficult to care

    ...when both sides are twats punting a worthless product in the hope of making you buy stuff you neither need nor want.

  67. impossimole
    Thumb Down

    Music videos are adverts for bands

    At least I always thought so! A well made video will genereate interest, will spread round like a viral and generate CD/download video, no advert, no sales. are PRS totally stupid? Why should youtube/google pay silly money for me to watch an advert? The PRS should be paying youtube!

  68. impossimole

    @ Simon Brown

    Interesting viewpoint from an artist but you are just plain wrong about listening to music on the radio. The BBC / commercial radio station is already paying the PRS dues (which is only right and fair) but why should a mechanic have to pay to listen to a radio in his workplace?!

    If he listens to your music, likes it and buys a CD you've made money. If he is forced to pay PRS dues he will turn off his radio, not hear your song and you can kiss your CD income good bye!

    A public broadcast is where someone makes money playing your song. Ie a DJ at a club, wedding etc. Not someone listening to a radio at work!

  69. Peter Thomas

    Peter Thomas

    @Simon Brown

    I'm a plumber*. Who said you can turn on a tap without my permission, getting water without me seeing a penny? Every time someone has a shower, a bath or washes up, I DESERVE PAYMENT!

    If that doesn't sound stupid to you, then I congratulate you for being sincere in your belief, no matter how ridiculous it is.

    (Er, I'm not actually a plumber, in the same way the PRS doesn't actually support music.)

  70. g e

    @ Simon Brown

    "As for paying to play music radio or other recorded music (such us my mp3 collection) at work - I'm sorry but since when did I give you permission to use my music to increase the productivity and output of your staff for free?"

    If that's worded correctly then, IIRC, the radio station is paying you to let people hear you in the first place. MCPS paid you for the physical reproduction of your recording in whatever format it was distributed and you presumably got whatever cut you negotiated with your label/publisher for its sale also. If your MP3 was downloaded and being listened to you got free advertising from a sale that would likely have never happened but may actually generate one elsewhere. OK not paid *you* but paid someone on your behalf who may or may not have then paid you anything.

    Or has everything changed since our old band had an album cut?

  71. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Down

    Oi wallies!

    Just 'cos it says commercial doesn't just limit it to the latest moron-fodder muzak. There are bucket loads of great bands in all sorts of genres that really get genuine benefit from someone finding a track on YouTube, then going and buying it. As a dedicated metal-fan I hope this does help to remove some of the crap that passes for music these days, but sadly the ad budgets seem inversely proportional to the "talent" of the artist concerned!

  72. Jax

    @Simon Brown

    You have 2 choices.

    a) Gigs.

    b) Get a "proper" job.

    Seriously, b) is a good point. I'd like to do that shit all day, hell I used to breakdance in a big crew in the UK that won most of the stuff going but there was no money in it so I started programming. I still love dancing but I realised that it really doesn't pay.

    Some industries are hard to make a lot of money in because a lot of people want to do it because doing it is fun. Pretty much all the arts (even game programming to a degree). Unless you're good enough and committed enough to build a following large enough to generate profit at gigs then i'm afraid it is going to be hard to make a good deal of money producing music these days.

    I really like the fact you've posted, it's the best post here but what else can we do? There is no way in hell we can re-write the moral code of the masses or even find them all and hit them all with a stick.

  73. Shakje

    @Simon Brown

    Ok, let's look at this one step/para at a time.

    1. Two things on this. Firstly, if you didn't have the PRS money would you just stop eating and die or would you cope? I've lived on very little money, and survival isn't an issue, I'm sure it's nice having the extra cash, but I would expect you would be just fine without it. Secondly, do you honestly think you will see any of the extra money that the PRS makes from Google?

    2. You're not giving permission to "improve productivity", you give permission to listen to music, that's all. If it improves work, so be it, but that's nothing to do with you, for exactly the same reason that you don't pay your landlord extra when the street is quieter than usual outside your bedroom window, letting you wake up better and be more productive in your studio. You've already asked someone to pay for the performance when the radio station paid for it. Get over the fact that you can't charge everyone who listens to your music, however much you would like to. This is the reason that the extortionate figures quoted in p2p trials are ridiculed, there's no guarantee that anyone at that workplace wants to listen to the music, or that every song played increases productivity, they might just have read a technical manual the night before. It's arrogant to assume it's because of you that the productivity has increased, which is what you are doing.

    3. Where did you get the 95% figure? I would assume the majority of the number is made up by the unpaid section. That's a problem with the system, and kind of reinforces what most people are saying, that the system currently just doesn't work and needs changing. 'Google, took $5.7bn in revenues for q4 2008 and I'm supposed to give them my music for free because it's good "promotion"'. No. The issue isn't with user-uploaded music, it's with the Premium videos which have been uploaded specifically by the record companies. YouTube already pay royalties for them, the PRS is asking for more. You've spectacularly missed the point, however, for clarification - if you got a decent paying job would your landlord ask for a higher rate? Also, promotion is everything. It's what record companies spend most of their money on, because without exposure you won't make any money. If you're not making money, it's possibly because you're not any good. While it's easy enough to do, most people will not grab YouTube content, or download tracks illegally, but will, if they like it, either purchase the track as a download, or even better, order your album. If you're not making any money out of that it's not YouTube's fault, people are still buying your stuff, you're just getting shafted by the music industry, which, once again, is pretty much what people are saying already.

    4. That's not a logical conclusion. YouTube already pay for the music, they're being asked for extortionately higher amounts of money. It's like making a film and using your music, then when the film studio has made huge profits on the film, asking for much more money. It's stupid.

    Quite frankly, I find you arrogant and naive. Even if you're music is good I can't see you doing too well, simply because you come across as abrasive.

  74. Barrie Shepherd

    +1 for YouTube

    Well done YouTube - its time someone stood up to these excessive claims.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Simon Brown

    PRS suck dick as do you, double tapping consumers and forever looking for a bigger piece of pie, now you get f--- all from youtube and I sincerly hope they tell the PRS and all the poor starving artists to suck it up, go get a real job if you can't make your music pay.

  76. r
    Paris Hilton

    @Simon Brown

    >since when did I give you permission to use my music to increase

    >the productivity and output of your staff for free?

    It's not "for free" - I paid for the music, remember?

    Next I'll be getting a solicitor's letter from the company that made the new lights I had installed. They didn't give me permission to use them to make this place better to work in (and thereby increase productivity) either.

    Stop whining and get a proper job instead you lazy ****

    Paris - because at least she has talent.

  77. John Irwin
    Thumb Up

    PRS Licence - Loophole

    If you are a DJ / Musician / Performer are you aware that if you are performing at a "family occasion" i.e birthday, wedding etc that you do not need the PRS Licence ! so just make sure it's someones birthday in the pub I mean what's the chances of it being someones birthday everyday

  78. tony72

    @Simon Brown

    What you say may be true, but the fact remains that by demanding too-high fees from Google, they will now get nothing from Google, and thus neither will you. I was a big fan of Pandora, and certainly bought quite a lot of music after hearing it on there. After being denied access to that excellent service thanks to similar action by the PRS, I have nothing but ill will towards them. Defend them all you want, but the PRS's actions here are stupid. Your mention of Google's revenue is disingenuous, because YouTube's estimated revenue was only $90million for 2008, and profits would be a tiny fraction of that. Revenue is not profit. Enjoy your slice of nothing anyway.

  79. Mike

    @Simon Brown

    If you do music primarily to make money then you're exactly what's wrong with music today, if it's your major concern then I guess you'll let money drive your ideas.

    So you think that having music on adds 2% productivity, and you deserve some of that? what about having a clean towel in the washroom, that nice tree outside, being allowed to nip off early when it's not busy, giving credit to customers, or the millions of other things which make it a better place to work or increase productivity? methinks you over-estimate your importance, besides how often have you been in a place that has the radio on and it's actually a distractor, it costs productivity (we used to have radio on at work and call stats went UP after the radio went off) actually saving nearly £1000 pcm, so the choice is pay £44 to PRS and lose over ten grand a year or leave the radio off and increase productivity (the workplace isn't so nice but we all have bills to pay).

    Talking about money, you think just because Google made lots of money it's OK for YouTube to make a loss? in that case because U2 is getting lots of royalties you can get stuffed.

  80. Anonymous Scotsman


    Do you have any idea how hard it is to get Billy Idol's "Dancing with myself" recording for the music video ?

    Still LOL PROXY etc.

    I for one am boycotting busic mritish that does not involve bagpipes from now on, which will make not even the slightest bit of difference.

  81. Lars

    @Simon Brown

    Have no fear Simon I´m sure noone will ever download your music... ever

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The reason that the PRS are narked is that youtube want to pay the same ammount for music that they have been paying historically, but the ammount of music that they are showing has increased exponentially. Good on the PRS, I say - sticking up for the little guy (the artists) against giant business trying to rip them off.

    Those who suggest that Google shouldn't be pumping money into youtube seem to miss the point that youtube's business model was never going to work. Google bought youtube, knowing this full well, therefore they should pony up the cash.

  83. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up

    PRS demonstrate they are complete tits.

    The PRS can no longer touch YouTube, and anyone who wants to can still access the vids via proxies.

    The PRS hasn't just shot itself in the foot, its blow both feet clean off.

  84. M


    Google had a site where music videos were being legally streamed, because the profits from advertising revenue were worth more than the fees to the PRS for the videos. The PRS demanded higher fees that would make the site operate at a loss. So Google has stopped doing so.

    That the PRS believes Google is incumbent to run a loss in order to continue acting as a promotional window for the record companies the former represents is the sort of naive thinking that is to be expected of them, frankly. They played hardball, and lost big time.

  85. Adam Foxton
    Thumb Down

    @Simon Brown

    Wait, what?

    How long is your song if it can contribute a year long 2% increase?

    Say you've got a massive 20% increase for a 3 minute song (i.e. Walkin on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves which always seems to get people bopping along). Out of the £40k that would mean an increase of a tiny fraction of a percent over the year. A few pence at most. Maybe a pound if the song was any good and played a few times a year.

    Oh, and you've already been paid by the radio for their right to broadcast it. And if it's on a CD you've got the royalties from that.

    As someone said above, either do gigs to get more money or get a proper job to support your music habit. You can always quit if you make it big, plus it'll give you some actual experience of how the world works and some more experience for your songs.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PRS and Their "Silly Games".

    I see a bigger picture here. The various "interested parties" here are capable of more than one foul deed you know. Having read the comments posted above I was most surprised that no-one has linked this to the shenanigins wrt TPB. What we have here is another component of the "War on Music". I fully expect the verdict wrt TPB to be agreed beforehand,[and its going to piss a lot of people off] and will be strengthened by this insidious behaviour.

    I see news reports from around the globe confirming successfull bully boy tactics on the part of the "official agencies", this is no coincidence, too many dollars to worry about.

    Final Statement?


  87. david

    @Simon Brown

    I think you may have missed the point. The premium content we are talking about is put up to promote music. Not by pirates but by the music business because they saw the opportunity for a bit of free advertising.

    Blocking it just removes a way of getting some free exposure. The PRS are doing you no favours in this case and as a customer of theirs you should be on their backs for an explanation why they might be trying to collect on something that has already been given away free by the owners.

    Or look at it like this: I make furtwanglers that I put in a shop window. People buy my furtwanglers and I make some cash. Then some gangsters turn up and say I've sent them to tax the shop because there's furtwanglers in the window. Based on the turnover of their shop. They also mug any passer by who catch an accidental glimpse of my furtwanglers. With a promise that some of the money will go back to me, the maker. So the shop says bugger that we are putting the furtwanglers in the back room.

    Nobody wins. Me and the people who don't know how pretty/useful/flexible/green my furtwanglers are the big losers. All the gangsters have done is broken a model that me and the shop were reasonably happy with.

    The model is broken...but that's not a bad thing. It means its time to find a new on. I remember the Pretenders on one of their inner sleeves (in the days of proper records) rewording the "Home Taping is Destroying Music" tag to "Home Taping is Destroying the Music Business."

  88. Toastan Buttar


    Does anyone know the deal between the PRS and Spotify ? I'd like to know if they're going to royally f*** that for everyone as well once they start to get greedy.

    @Simon Brown - What's your take on Spotify as a promotional avenue for your music ?

    Pirates, cos you know which Swedish website is going to see increased traffic tonight as a direct result of these actions.

  89. Paul

    PRS Leeches

    What a waste of space the PRS are! Will I need a licence if I play the car stereo loud enough so that pedestrians in the high street hear it? Is this classed as "broadcasting"?

    Most savvy internet users will use a non-UK proxy to access Youtube instead!

    Outdated ideas by this leech of a company!

    Down with PRS!!!

  90. Kieron McCann

    @ Simon Brown

    er, who uses You tube to stream music in to their work place? I would have thought that the advantage of You tube was that it streamed the content instead of users downloading it. That way if they like it so much then they will go out and buy it.

    If someone has listened to your music on You tube a few times and still not been motivated to go and buy it, it's probably that your music just isn't good enough.

    Either that or they've gone and downloaded it on torrent, in which case you have to consider whether the business model you have chosen for distributing your music is the right one. Because although you may be seeing a meager income the record companies and the PRS really aren't doing you any favours when you could be doing something else more profitable with your material such a distributing yourself online.

    I suppose it's easier to blame someone else that to examine your own shortcomings or lack of effort.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I note we're still waiting for that spineless bunch of luvvies to put up the comments they received. Probably waiting for instructions from NuLab HQ about how to run it......

  92. Maty

    @ Simon Brown

    Um ... you've posted your views on this page, and let's assume that 30% of those were reading at work, thus lowering their productivity. It's a pretty simple matter to calculate how many times your post has been viewed, take 30% of this at the national average wage, and (using your figures) charge you for 2%.

    Where can we send your bill?

  93. Anonymous Coward


    I am a manufacturer of buggy-whips, and I demand a payment everytime you whip your horse with my product. Where are my royalties? What do you mean, I'm a century too late?

    Get your coat, PRS, you'll be pulling yourself.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    All my favourite acts are still up because they're not signed to pigopolists! Score!

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    PRS -fit for purpose?

    I've no reason to be a member but it seems that a non-profit organisation that distributes royalties based upon market research and statistical sampling and then deducts undisclosed administration costs - might have problems being taken seriously?

    If this is the business "model" how do they decide how much YouTube, BBC etc. pay, or is it simply for as much as they think they can screw out of them and double it?

    If they're a non-profit organisation - who appointed them to look after Songwriters' and Publishers' interests? I've no doubt it was a few Songwriters' who got together and decided they needed to protect their work from exploitation and not a body that could exploit them - just a little bit more.

    Well done YouTube for not knuckling down to such yet another section of the outmoded Music Industry.

    Sympathise with all the Songwriters for having to pay for membership to the PRS - as there's very few other alternatives, to get recognition for their work.

    Hey! but look on the bright side - there's always the BPI waiting in the wings.

    Having shrugged of the Gower's Report and getting bored with not getting the "right" response from the UK Government they have been actively lobbying the EU for some time now and it looks like they will finally get the "right" response to extend Copyright to 95 years' very soon.

    All Songwriters' will of course benefit as there will be a good chance that their songs will be high profile for many more years' than the current UK 50 years' as Consumers' rush to buy the re-released material ad infinitum.

    Sir Cliff must be relieved.

    Sad thing is were sitting back and letting it happen.

    Paris 'cos she's used to being screwed.

  96. A

    The PRS appear to be idiots.

    Anyone care to guess what the #1 reason for me buying songs? Yup, Youtube. You get to hear the whole song, rather than a random 30s snippet, and it usually shows you other things that might be of interest too.

    I'd say 90% of my music purchases this year (amounting to 3 CD's and 10MP3's) came as a direct result of listening to music on Youtube.

    The title says it all.

  97. Anonymous Coward

    Join the Facebook Group!

  98. Keith Doyle

    What's wrong with this picture...

    Hmm. So the PRS thinks the equation should be:

    1. Upload copyrighted video to YouTube.

    2. Have your staff spend all day viewing it on dozens of computers.

    3. Profit!

    Gak. Google shouldn't pay a cent for it. It's a service, and if the PRS wants people to be watching their content, they have to compete with everyone elses (free) content on a level playing field. If Google pays the PRS, I'd better get my check too! For that matter, Google is delivering eyeballs to their content, make them pay for it just like the rest of the advertisers do. In fact, any commercial interests should have to pay to upload to YouTube, it should only be free for non-commercial videos.

  99. Steve Liddle

    publicity ?

    Tend to get most music off legal sites like jamendo, bought loads of CD's years ago and still like the music, they do not wear out like the tapes used to.

    Most of the music I like does not need videos as it is trance, but to stop giving bands free advertising on youtube might not be the best approach ?

  100. Neil Greatorex

    Congrats PRS tossers

    I now find that I am unable to view my uploaded video of the Clash (finest band on the planet IMNSHO - before, since & Marmite) I get a:

    This video is not available in your country.


    PRS tossers: Double bubble; they appear to be like Hatton's twats in Liverpool, fuck everyone else - as long as I feather my nest.

  101. Arnie

    gotta love the PRS

    "get your money for nothing and your chicks for free"

    I think the PRS are taking the PRS

  102. Sceptical Bastard

    PRS couldn't run a piss-up in a brewery

    I work - peripherally and occasionally - in the music biz as well as the IT day job.

    Most musoes I know think the Performing Rights Society lost the plot when technology advanced from wax cylinders to bakelite 12" records.

    Most of the bands I''ve worked with have uploaded music vids to YouTube because it is great free advertising: punters who like what they see and hear on YT go to gigs and buy CDs. The PRS's out-of-touch obduracy is not making us money, it's losing us money. Wankers.

  103. Hans

    Sorry, who should pay?

    If youtube offered premium content, I mean high definition sound and video, then I think youtube should pay, but how can they expect youtube to pay for the poor quality stuff that is on youtube and has not even been provided by PRS or labels????

    Me thinks the stuff on youtube should be considered promotional material only, and PRS should pay youtube a fair price per play!!!

    PRS, you are pulling too hard on the elastic band, and when it breaks, you will get it in the eye!

    I bought six cd's last month based on stuff I re-discovered on youtube, you bloody twats!!! Three Wolf Biermann albums, Smiths, Cocteau Twins and Blur (Moder life) ....

    BTW, I am not affected by this, I live in France, but I feel compassion for my fellow Brits.

    mkfs.withsense /dev/prs

  104. A J Stiles
    Thumb Down

    @ Simon Brown

    I'd like Severn Trent to pay me for the shite I flush into their sewers -- after all, I spent a long time baking it.

    Meanwhile, in the real world .....

  105. Adrian Waterworth

    @Simon Brown

    Other people have already made a number of points regarding your earlier comment, most of which you should take on board. However, I have got one other point to raise - where did you get your £44 PRS payment from? If that's what you pay to be a member (and I can't recall 'cos it's a while since I last looked into it as a musician myself), don't confuse it with the amount that the PRS want to charge people for then playing the music. I know of several small engineering and motor trade companies that have received threatening nastygrams from the PRS lawyers in the last couple of years. In most cases, the companies are small businesses employing less than 12 people and turning over relatively modest amounts of money. And you know how much the PRS wanted to charge them for having a radio in their workshops? On average, around £1400 quid each, with the lower bound being just over £1000 and the upper one close to £4000. And don't forget that's an annual fee which I am sure will only increase over time.

    If it really was just £44, I don't think anyone would have too much of a problem with it, eh?

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    PRS twunts

    I have had dealings with there "people" and frankly they are no better than terrorists.

    I have been bullied and threatened, had the phone put down on me and I am a customer!

    Its ironic that the holier than thou defender of the musician PRS has in one foul swoop managed to kill off one of the largest free advertising portals for the musicians it claims to support.

    Paris, its the kind of shoot in foot with howitzer move she could accomplish

  107. blueanlge
    Thumb Down

    YouTube blocks music videos in UK and how to view youtube

    I think the PRS should be paying youtube... music videos are called "promos" due to the fact that they sell records.

    However, we cannot view youtube in Britain had already become a fact. If I located in the U.K,and I'm a Youtube fun.How should I do?

    I found a good method to view Youtube video,no matter what you located in Britain.

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