8 April 2009
TOP songwriters today stepped up their campaign against Google's YouTube video sharing site in a bid to win a better deal for their work.
The stepping of the campaign comes on the same day as PRS for Music announced that it has agreed commercial terms with the new music streaming service Spotify, which ensures that its 60.000 songwriters, composers and publishers will be fairly paid when their music is used on this new internet service.
Pete Waterman told how his massive Rick Astley hit 'Never Gonna Give You Up' had received 154 million hits on the YouTube site and he had received a cheque for just £11.
He told a special PRS For Music press conference to mark the launch of www.fairplayforcreators.com that he would receive more from the song being played on Radio Stoke than on YouTube.
Guy Chambers, who wrote the Robbie Williams hit 'Angels' said: "Google/YouTube are in effect asking songwriters to give away their songs for nothing. The longer music is available for nothing or next to nothing online, the quicker the demise of the recording industry.
"Google is manipulating the PRS for Music dispute in a deeply cynical way; to confuse the public into believing that the industry is outdated and behaving in a protectionist manner. Nothing further could be from the truth."
Singer and songwriter Beverly Knight said: "It's great that the internet allows anyone the freedom of accessing and enjoying all kinds of music easily. However those of us who actually create the music constantly lose out when big companies pay labels to exploit that music.
"The creators get cut out of the deal when they are not paid royalties. This is entirely wrong. Everyone expects to be paid for their work and musicians are no different."
Jools Holland, broadcaster and songwriter said: "Google is a big commercial entity which must properly pay the very people who make the YouTube service a success."
PRS For Music Chairman Ellis Rich said: "Google, a massive commercial enterprise with profits last year of £3 BILLION, decided to ride rough shod arrogantly and ruthlessly over the music creators that contributed to YouTube’s success. Maybe we should be calling them me tube because they certainly don’t care much about you.
"PRS for Music is proud to represent every one of our 60,000 members and help them guard their rights and collect the income we believe they are entitled to. They all deserve fair recompense for their creativity, whenever and wherever it is used by for profit, benefit or advantage. Google’s Youtube is a big internet business that thinks it can steamroller over small businesses – and many of our members are very small businesses!"
Mr Rich added: "The song writing royalties we collect are vital in nurturing creative music talent. They ensure music creators are rewarded as would anyone else be for their work. We understand the world has changed and is still changing, but this does not mean that creators do not still deserve to be paid for their efforts.
"Music matters so much to us, and why we will not allow Google or any other faceless monolithic corporation to disrespect us. All of our guest performers are hard working songwriters and composers whose livelihoods are affected by the decisions of big business, they rely on royalties to pay their bills in the same way as everyone else.
"We need support to make big businesses like Youtube realise that they do not have the right to trample over the soundtrack to our lives – it’s time for them to face the music and pay a fair price for it."
Today's launch included performances from Billy Bragg, film composer Debbie Wiseman and Alisha's Attic star Shelley Poole and songwriters included Lynsey de Paul, Peter Cox and Richard Drummie from Go West, Honey Ryder and Feargal Sharkey.
PRS For Music is calling for Google/YouTube to - Pay fairly for their musical works when they're used online; to appreciate that they have to pay going rates for music like everybody else; and it is unfair for the UK's creative community to subsidise a billion dollar making internet giant.