A copy of a contract offered by Google's YouTube to music labels for participation in an upcoming streaming music service was leaked online this week, aggravating independent labels who claim the terms are highly unfavorable to them. Posted in its entirety by Digital Music News and summarized by Billboard, the contract includes clauses that could be construed as damaging to indie artists.
For example, it requires that the artist's entire catalog be made available for both free and non-free services — no choosing by song or album, or opting out.
Another section ensures that if a larger label strikes a deal for lower royalties, those lowered rates will apply to indies as well — even if they can't afford to earn less. The service on which the music is to be streamed, rumored to be ad-supported, has yet to launch, but we all expect to be unveiled very soon.