YouTube has been at odds with the music industry over the amount of advertising revenue the video streaming site pays to labels for a while now, with the music industry claiming that YouTube doesn't pay them nearly enough. Unsurprisingly, YouTube disagrees.
Earlier today, YouTube's Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl revealed in a blog post exactly how much YouTube has been paying labels for the rights to those songs: over $1 billion. According to Forbes, this is the first time that the company has given an actual number, having previously suggested that it paid the music industry a total of $2 since 2007. (The "Content ID" copyright tracking system was first implemented in 2007.)
The Recording Industry Association of America has been agreeing with the music industry, suggesting that YouTube should be paying more for the music that appears on the site. RIAA also argues in the past that YouTube should not be protected by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, a clause that prevents copyright holders from suing for infringement so long as the company removes the infringing content.
YouTube argues, though, that the Content ID system gives those who hold the rights to their songs the ability to monetize those views if they choose to do so.
This announcement is meant to illuminate the strengths of ad-supported models, and Kyncl believes that it's the way of the future.
"As more advertising dollars shift from TV, radio and print to online services, the music industry will generate even more revenue from ads," he says in the blog post. "In the future, the music business has an opportunity to look a lot like television, where subscriptions and advertising contribute roughly equal amounts of revenue, bolstered by digital and physical sales.
"To achieve this, there is a lot of work that must be done by YouTube and the industry as a whole, but we are excited to see the momentum."