In a surprise move by Google, they have leveraged the full weight of their platform in negotiations over a new Nordic agreement, a deal that affects several European nations, leading to the removal of all Danish Music from Youtube.
Google has been in talks with many music labels over the past few months, in an effort to reach an agreement that would bring the music of Norwegian, Finnish, and Danish composers under one single agreement with Google, and by extension Youtube.
Part of these talks has been negotiations with Koda, who had an agreement with the tech giant until April. Negotiations after that have been ongoing, and an interim agreement was active to keep Danish content on Youtube, as is standard in these situations.
However, in a strange turn, Google has demanded that composers currently under the interim agreement with Koda should receive 70% less pay. This is an impossible demand for the label, and understandably they are standing their ground.
Kaare Struve, Koda’s media director, had this to say: “Google have always taken an “our way or the highway” approach, but even for Google, this is a low point. Of course, Google know that they can create enormous frustration among our members by denying them access to YouTube – and among the many Danes who use YouTube every day. We can only suppose that by doing so, YouTube hope to be able to push through an agreement, one where they alone dictate all terms”
When confronted with the news, Koda’s CEO Grom Arildsen stated: “It is no secret that our members have been very dissatisfied with the level of payment received for the use of their music on YouTube for many years now. And it’s no secret that we at Koda have actively advocated putting an end to the tech giants’ free-ride approach and underpayment for artistic content in connection with the EU’s new Copyright Directive. The fact that Google now demands that the payments due from them should be reduced by almost 70% in connection with a temporary contract extension seems quite bizarre”
As this story continues to develop, Danes are left wondering if they will be able listen to music on Youtube in the near future.
The next few weeks will decide where the Nordic agreement goes, and with Koda so publicly disciplined for attempting to argue better terms, it makes you wonder how the other labels around the negotiation table are feeling.