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YouTube records deal with Merlin, the fifth largest music label

October 19, 2011 |  9:00 am

YouTube Logo

YouTube has snagged a licensing deal with Merlin, a consortium of independent music labels that together represent 14,000 artists including The Prodigy and Aphex Twins. 

The deal lets musicians represented by Merlin receive royalties each time a YouTube user publishes an online video that uses all or parts of a song owned by a Merlin artist. 

Merlin is considered to be the world's fifth-largest record label, after Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI Group, which is now being auctioned off by its owner, Citigroup. 

YouTube, which is owned by search giant Google Inc., already reached similar licensing arrangements with the other four major labels. YouTube has also buttoned agreements with independent labels Merge Records and Beggars Group. Merge represents Arcade Fire and Spoon, and Beggars is Adele's label.

The world's largest online video site has been keen to wrap up all the necessary licenses with both music and movie rights holders. So far, it's had more luck dealing with the music industry. In August, YouTube settled a copyright infringement lawsuit with the National Music Publishers Assn., an organization that represents independent songwriters.

The company has not, however, had as much luck coming to terms with Viacom, which is suing YouTube and its parent Google for allegedly hosting copyrighted clips from its shows, including "South Park" and "The Daily Show." A federal judge last year ruled in favor of YouTube, saying the company complied with the law by removing offending videos when asked to do so by rights holders.

On Tuesday, Viacom asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan to throw out the lower court ruling.


YouTube ends lawsuit with music publishers

Federal Court tosses out method for calculating music royalties 

-- Alex Pham