Confused yet? Maybe not anymore.
Last week, cellist Zoe Keating -- who has also become a part-time pundit on the issues of working as an independent musician in the digital business -- posted on her blog that YouTube's terms for participation in their Music Key "streaming" service were unacceptable to her, and also left her confused about where control of her music -- which she holds full rights to -- actually resides. YouTube and Music Key have had a bumpy ride in the public sphere, with the massive indie label organization Impala railing against the nature of their negotiations last summer, before reaching an agreement with indie label body Merlin in October. (Following Keating's post and the coverage it generated, Impala this week released a ten-point plan to address her concerns at an international level.)
Billboard spoke to Keating this week in an attempt to get a better understanding of her experience negotiating with YouTube, as well her thoughts on the service's contract terms, and a grassroots perspective the digital music landscape in general. She outlined a process that began in September, 2013, when YouTube first approached the artist about becoming a partner in its nascent Music Key product. (Music Key is, today, still in beta.) After a year-and-change of back-and-forth, YouTube gave Keating a take-it-or-leave contract, some terms of which were unacceptable to her. Some of the terms were also pretty hard to understand.