Should we be paying to watch artists on YouTube?


For year’s consumers have been listening to music for free on YouTube, whether you’re watching an official video uploaded by an artist or a version that’s been ripped and then uploaded by a user. The rise in popularity of digital streaming and the abundance of platforms for us to listen on has grown considerably in the past few years.

Irving Azoff, American music manager and pal of Harry Styles hit out at YouTube in this open letter to the company, slamming them for creating a business that works well for them and for Google but NOT for artists.

What does this all mean to us, the listeners?

In simple terms, nothing at the moment. You’ll still be allowed to listen to artists songs on YouTube for free, but is it fair? Not really. Every stream on YouTube equates to roughly $0.00175, that’s only $1,750 for every 1 million times it’s watched. Irving explains that artists can’t opt out of YouTube because of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (you can read about that here if it tickles your pickle).

Many will joke about getting a Taylor Swift take down notice after uploading content digitally but is she just doing what every other artist wishes they had the balls (and money) to implement? We support artists we love by attending live shows, buying merchandise, grabbing physical copies of their music and being advocates of their brands online, so why do we have such a problem with rewarding artists for their work when we consume it digitally?

Should all music be removed from YouTube and placed onto a subscription based model? Or should artists simply be able to opt in and out? Will we see a back pedal and apology like we did from Apple Music? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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