For the last few months, Google's been hinting at the possibility of starting their own subscription music streaming service through YouTube. This was all but confirmed a week ago, when a contract between YouTube and various music labels was leaked. Among other things, the contract states that YouTube will have set royalty agreements with independent and major labels, but if a major label suddenly agrees to a lower royalty rate, YouTube has the right to force the indie labels to agree to the same rate. And as anyone who knows the difference between a family-owned drugstore and Walmart can tell you, major corporations can afford to sell their products for way less than smaller businesses that have to decide whether to pay their rent or their phone bill on a month-to-month basis.
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"Nana is expecting a 75th birthday call. She's getting a 75th birthday call."
Several independent labels are reluctant to sign the contract, so YouTube has decided to flex the organized-crime muscle that suddenly clamping down on a decade-old free streaming service affords them by threatening to take down all of the videos of every label that refuses to sign with them. This means that potentially 5 percent of music videos will completely disappear from YouTube, which doesn't sound like a lot until you consider that the remaining 95 percent are videos from artists you are tired of hearing. And we aren't just referring to justifiably unsigned artists with banjos and electric harmonicas -- we're talking about all independent record labels, which represent artists like Adele, Arctic Monkeys, and Radiohead, as well as countless others you may never get a chance to care about.