Music industry bodies like the IFPI, RIAA and BPI have been criticising YouTube regularly, but they stop short of comparing it to Satan.
We’ll leave it to Metallica’s manager Peter Mensch to charge gleefully over that line. “YouTube, they’re the devil. We don’t get paid at all,” Mensch told a new BBC documentary on the music business. “If someone doesn’t do something about YouTube, we’re screwed. It’s over. Someone turn off the lights.”
YouTube’s Robert Kyncl responded to the claims in the same documentary. “The artists who are signed up directly with YouTube are seeing great returns. Not everybody – but if you’re generating a lot of viewership, you’re making a lot of money,” said Kyncl.
“There are middle-men – whether it’s collection societies, publishers or labels – and what they do is they give advances and they want those recouped. So it’s really hard when there’s no transparency for the artist. The people who don’t have visibility are generally the ones who tend to be less happy.”
Shots fired, then, although Metallica’s management may be the wrong people to take this line with: the band famously now control their own rights, and thus have more visibility than most into their income.
Whether they’re generating a lot of viewership on YouTube is another question: their official channel has 1.4 million subscribers and 482m views.