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Talks Between YouTube & Indies Halted
Connor Bryan , May 22nd, 2014 16:38

Negotiations stall over website's alleged move to block labels' videos unless they sign up to new streaming service

YouTube has faced criticism from independent music labels over their plans for a new music streaming service.

UPDATE - May 23: The Guardian report that talks between YouTube and the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN), a global organisation representing independents, have stalled.

YouTube was expected to announce the subscription service, thought to be called Music Pass, but has held back after facing questions over the way it approached the labels. WIN claim that the video-hosting giant is offering non-negotiable contracts that undervalue the music's worth in comparison to rivals such as Spotify and Deezer. They also claim that YouTube is threatening to block music videos of labels that don't consent to the contracts.

WIN were expected to deliver a full press release this morning condemning YouTube's behaviour, but this has been withheld as talks continue between the organisations. However, some comments from WIN chief executive, Alison Wenham, still appeared on The Guardian today: "Our members are small businesses who rely on a variety of income streams to invest in new talent. They are being told by one of the largest companies in the world to accept terms that are out of step with the marketplace for streaming… We believe, as such, that these actions are unnecessary and indefensible, not to mention commercially questionable and potentially damaging to YouTube itself, given the harm likely to result from this approach."

A WIN spokesperson told the Quietus that they are currently in the middle of an "evolving situation" and the developing state of discussions. "The press release about WIN's dispute with YouTube was withdrawn in light of new developments which occurred overnight," he says. "Both parties are now in discussion."

The organisation added that they have laid down a 24-hour ultimatum to YouTube: "WIN has asked YouTube to rescind the letters [that were sent to independent labels] within the next 24-hours and awaits their response."

We'll update this story when further details become available.