Nelly Furtado to YouTube: 'Put a Little More in the Collection Basket'

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Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 15: Singer/songwriter Nelly Furtado arrives at the 13th annual Latin GRAMMY Awards held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on November 15, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy)

Joining the public debate over YouTube's royalty payments, hit-making singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado invoked the name of dearly departed Prince in an op-ed for The Guardian of London listing her grievances.

Prince "stood for pure music and honouring music with proper reverence," Furtado wrote in the Monday piece. "Prince's death reminds all of us artists to wake up and smell the coffee."

The Canadian singer joined Debbie Harry, Nikki Sixx and a number of music stars in a public campaign to shame YouTube into raising its royalty payouts to musicians. The industry argues the internet video giant is underpaying for content, while YouTube officials argue they're paying more than others, especially terrestrial radio. 

"I love YouTube, but I think it is underpaying and getting away with it," Furtado wrote. "‎I know the truth hurts, but someone's got to tell it."

YouTube Changes Content ID Rules to Allow for Money Collection During Rights Investigations

Furtado goes on to layout her complaints in numbered bullet-point style, taking on YouTube's Content ID system, the "fib" that people only watch video on the service and "ludicrous" comparisons between radio and streaming services, and notes Pandora "offers so much less than YouTube yet pays double what YouTube pays."

She also advocates for independent artists, like herself, not under the umbrella of a major label royalty agreement: "Our music is as valuable as theirs."

YouTube has taken steps to answer some of its detractors' demands during the furor, last week announcing it would make changes to its Content ID system that would benefit creators and not just rightsholders. But it has also further angered the creative community. Furtado calls out the company for "shaming" Harry and Sixx for their stance.

"We all have a voice," Furtado said. "From one independent artist to every artist, let's fight for the future of what Prince helped to create: The Holy Church of Music. My message to YouTube is: put a little more in the collection basket when you come to pray here, please. Amen."

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