U.K. Music, the umbrella organization for the British music industry, has criticized Google's decision to block access to premium music videos on YouTube for users in the U.K.
As previously reported, Google began blocking videos March 9 after it said it was unable to reach agreement on terms for renewing a licensing deal with songwriters' collecting society PRS for Music.
U.K. Music's member organizations include PRS for Music, so it is no surprise to see them siding with the collecting society. But its statement about the impasse was striking in its condemnation of the U.S. company.
Contrasting the power and earnings of Google with the not-for-profit PRS for Music, a U.K. Music statement said: "In this light, it is difficult but to interpret Google's actions this week as anything other than cynical and exploitative. Such unheralded and counter-productive negotiation tactics are not only detrimental to music fans, but also to the U.K.'s songwriters and composers."
Responding to Google's concerns over rates, the statement added: "Whether online or offline, the demand that our creative talent should subsidize someone else's business model is as unreasonable as it is inappropriate.
"Licensing embryonic start-ups has brought significant challenges to all creative businesses. There still are challenges - for both sides - although they can and will be overcome. A huge diversity of licensed digital music services are already active in the U.K., and as an industry we remain committed to growing the future of our business."
However, U.K. Music stressed that Google's profits meant that YouTube could hardly be classified in the same way as such start-ups.
Google insisted that the rates being negotiated are just too high for YouTube. "The costs are simply prohibitive for us – under PRS's proposed terms, we would lose significant amounts of money with every playback," the company said in a statement when it announced the music videos would be blocked in Britain.