YouTube at Music Biz Conf: 'Supporting Artists at Any Stage in Their Career’

While some might believe that technology companies and record labels have a long history at being at loggerheads, YouTube is moving beyond that perception by paying over $1 billion to labels and publishers over the last few years.

That was the message that YouTube product manager Fred Betielle delivered to attendees at the Music Business Association's annual convention in Los Angeles on Thursday.

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Since the invention of the cassette tape, there has been a stereotype that the labels want to keep rigid control over their catalogs while the tech companies want to build their brands off other people's content without properly compensating them, he said in an address at the organization's award luncheon.

"Its controversial to say; its a juicy story," he acknowledged. "But anyone who has worked for both traditional music enterprises and tech companies, as I have, knows first hand that this is wrong." 

Beyond $1 billion paid out in revenue to labels and publishers, he said that YouTube will continue to work to find profitable ways to partner with the music industry. 

"Our greatest contribution is not measured in dollars, but in our ability to support artists at any stage in their careers to create amazing music and connect deeply with a global community of fans" through a global visual platform, Betielle said.

In addition to official videos, YouTube hosts backstage footage, remixes, covers, concerts, scanning 400 years worth of video every day. But YouTube ensures that "thousands of right holders can be compensated for their music no matter where it appears, unlocking a new, fan-friendly source of revenue," he added.

Going forward the partnership between the music companies and tech industry players like YouTube will only strengthen, he said.

For one, while 1 billion visit YouTube every month, another 4 billion people, mainly in developing countries, will soon have access to the internet. With little disposable income in those economies, "an ad-supported model will be crucial to tapping into the music industry's global market potential," he said.


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