British music lovers will once again be able to watch official music videos on YouTube from today after the website settled a six-month-long rights dispute with songwriters’ group PRS for Music.
In March, the Google-owned video site blocked all premium music videos – those owned by record companies – to UK viewers after a previous licensing deal expired in December, meaning thousands of us missed out on seeing our favourite artists strut their stuff on camera.
But now, YouTube has agreed to pay an undisclosed lump sum to PRS, which is backdated until January and lasts until 2012. As a result, those thousands of videos that had disappeared from the site since January will now start to reappear over the next few days.
Despite the band that had been imposed by YouTube, it failed to stop many fan videos making it online as well as some official videos that were sanctioned by record companies; EMI-owned Parlophone received 240 million hits in the last year, making it the most popular UK channel on the site.
Both sides are said to be happy with the new arrangement, with Adam Shaw of PRS highlighting the importance of rewarding artists when their material is used.
Mr Shaw said: “We have 60,000 song-writer and composer members and many of them don’t earn very much money at all – 90% of them earn less then £5,000 a year.
“The money we receive is really their living.”
To mark the deal, a series of musicians, including Brit winner Florence and the Machine and Tinchy Stryder, will take over the YouTube front page to guest edit the videos that are featured.
Patrick Walker, director of video partnerships for YouTube, said: “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.”
As if that wasn’t enough good news on the YouTube front, the company is also in talks with a number of major film studios – including Lions Gate Entertainment, Sony and warner Bros – about putting full length films online to rent. If this particular deal goes through, the films would hit the web the same day they get released on DVD.