File host Mega Upload is taking no prisoners in its war of words with Universal Music Group. The site produced a music video of sorts with various well-known musicians affirming their support for the service. Universal wasted no time in filing a DMCA takedown saying that MegaUpload didn’t have the necessary rights to post the video. After a little back and forth, MegaUpload is taking things to court.
When we wrote a streaming music services round-up on Maximum Tech, we only briefly touched on Grooveshark, the popular service based around user uploaded tracks. “And, um, we're still not completely sure that Grooveshark is legal,” was the extent of our coverage. As it turns out, newly revealed emails from Grooveshark CEO Sina Simantob prove that, well, the company’s entire business plan hinges on its dubious – at best – legality.
Sony Music Entertainment became the first of the four largest recording companies to renew their music licensing deal with YouTube.
The renewal has ensured that Sony artists will remain on the video-sharing site exclusively. Deals such as this allow YouTube users to not only view the artist’s music videos, but to also use the label’s songs in their clips.
It’s been reported that Universal Music Group is close to breaking a deal with YouTube, and if they signed it would leave only EMI and Warner Music Group. Though, talk between EMI and YouTube ran into some trouble last month, and since then their content has been removed from the site.
It looks like Hulu’s reign as the undisputed king of high quality online video is about to come to an end, as Universal Music Group is planning to launch a “Hulu-like” video portal. UMG’s project would offer professionally produced music videos from artists such as The Killers, Mariah Carey, Kanye West and Amy Winehouse as well as original programming.
Doug Morris, chairman and CEO of Universal is leading the charge for this new service, which has the potential to generate more revenue from music videos and offer artists a new and polished platform to show off their talents. Right now, YouTube is the leading site to view music videos online, since all four of the major labels (Warner Music Group, EMI, Sony BMG and Universal Music Group) have licensed content to the site.
The issues that still remain with YouTube are that they only see ad revenue from 3 percent of their videos, whereas Hulu is able to get ad revenue from 100 percent of their videos. This is because advertisers are more likely to put their advertising dollars into a brand that is well established, instead of user-generated content.
It should be mentioned that UMG will soon be talking with YouTube about renewing its licenses to display their content, since their current deal is up at the end of the year. However, we don't anticipate UMG pulling out of Youtube since they are reportedly happy with the promotional benefits provided to them by YouTube.
So who knows? Perhaps all of this is idle talk, or it is a legitimate venture in the works. Chances are good that we’ll find out more about this once the renewal talks have taken place.