Services such as YouTube will now be forced to seek licenses for music videos viewed on their website, leading to major payouts for artists and records labels large and small. YouTube has long been criticized by the music industry for avoiding paying artists and record labels worthy amounts when their music videos are streamed via the site by exploiting laws. After 18 months of lobbying, it seems as though the industry might just get their way. A vote near the end of June by European parliament’s legal affairs committee sees these concerns addressed, as it was agreed platforms such as YouTube will be forced to comply to seek licenses after a vote of 15 to 10 to adopt article 13. With an estimated user base of 1.3 billion, YouTube paid $856m (£650m) in royalties to music companies in 2017 – 67 cents per user a year – whereas Spotify generated  $5.6bn in royalties via 272 million users – around $20 per user. “The importance of today’s vote cannot be overstated; this proposal is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a new balance in the online world,Helen Smith, the executive chair of the European music body IMPALA told The Guardian (who first broke news on the vote). “It is about copyright and making sure creators and their partners get a fair share of the value they create.” The final vote will take place later this year, after another decision this July, where members of the parliament opposing the copyright laws are expected to appeal June 20th’s vote.

Sarah Medeiros