Wednesday 28 September 2016

Singer Nelly Furtado hits out at 'underpaying' YouTube over royalties

Published 02/05/2016 | 19:31

Nelly Furtado urged YouTube to pay more royalties
Nelly Furtado urged YouTube to pay more royalties

Singer Nelly Furtado has cited late musician Prince as she called on YouTube to raise its royalty payments to music artists.

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Writing for The Guardian, the Canadian singer-songwriter joined the likes of Motley Crue co-founder Nikki Sixx and Blondie's Debbie Harry in protesting against the current payout amounts.

As Furtado, 37, invoked Prince's name, she said other stars should "wake up".

"He stood for pure music and honouring music with proper reverence. Prince's death reminds all of us artists to wake up and smell the coffee," she wrote on Monday.

A coalition of musicians, including Katy Perry, Billy Joel and Rod Stewart, are among those arguing for changes to a US copyright law which, they say, reduces their potential earnings.

So-termed "safe harbour" provisions in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act shields services such as YouTube from liability when users upload copyrighted material without permission.

YouTube chief executive Robert Kyncl recently said artists who are signed up directly with YouTube "are seeing great returns".

He added: "Not everybody, but if you're generating a lot of viewership, you're making a lot of money."

However, Furtado is one of a growing number of voices who have spoken out in disagreement.

"I love YouTube, but I think it is underpaying and getting away with it," the I'm Like A Bird singer wrote in her article.

Furtado's grievances include the global video-sharing website's Content ID system, designed to give copyright owners an opportunity to identify and manage their content on YouTube.

She stated it appears to be more efficient for content of questionable taste, such as pornography, than it is for the music industry.

The Canadian also said Pandora, a music streaming and automated music recommendation service, offers less content than YouTube, but "pays double" the amount in royalties.

Furtado concluded her blog with a direct appeal to YouTube to increase its royalty payments.

"From one independent artist to every artist, let's fight for the future of what Prince helped to create: The Holy Church of Music.

"My message to YouTube is: put a little more in the collection basket when you come to pray here, please. Amen."

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