YouTube, Music Publishers Reach Agreement To Distribute Millions In Unclaimed Royalties

YOUTUBE $The music industry seem united in their belief that YouTube should pay more money to creators, but that hasn't stopped them from working with Google's popular video site when they can. This latest deal will result in millions of dollars in previously unclaimed non-performance royalties paid to publishers and songwriters, starting in 2017.



The NMPA (National Music Publishers’ Association ) and YouTube have negotiated an agreement to distribute royalties for musical works used in videos on YouTube where ownership was previously unknown. The agreement addresses the ongoing challenges around identifying ownership of musical works.


Agreement Summary:

  • Music publishers will have the ability to opt into this agreement during the opt-in period, which opens on December 12, 2016 and will remain open through February 28, 2017.
  • Following the opt-in period, YouTube will provide participating publishers with a list of songs YouTube may have been unable to obtain proper ownership information for. This will allow participating publishers to claim ownership in those songs and receive accrued royalties from the period between August 1, 2012 through December 31, 2015.
  • The claiming window will be 3 months long. After the claiming window, participating publishers will receive claimed accrued royalties.
  • Any accrued royalties that remain unclaimed will be distributed to participating publishers based on each publisher’s market share and on revenue paid for known usage on YouTube during the initial accrual period. The agreement, however, will not affect the rights of any publisher or songwriter who does not choose to participate.
  • This process will be repeated for future twelve-month usage periods beginning on January 1, 2016 and ending on December 31, 2019.

NMPA President and CEO David Israelite said of the agreement: “It is essential that we work with digital services like YouTube – the most popular digital platform for music discovery – to fix the challenge of incomplete ownership information to ensure royalties are no longer unmatched and music owners are paid accurately by the platforms that rely on their work.”

“The revenue earned by the music industry on YouTube continues to grow significantly year over year, and we’re committed to making sure that publishers are paid for the usage of their works on our platform,” said Tamara Hrivnak, Head of Music Partnerships, Americas for YouTube and Google Play. “We are excited to partner with the NMPA to address the industry-wide challenges associated with identifying publishing ownership on digital platforms.”

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