A body representing the global independent music sector has today criticized Myspace for failing to secure licensing deals with non-major label content.
A New York Times report last week broke news of Myspace’s lack of licences to carry independent music. In the article, a spokesperson for the company acknowledged that it had decided not to renew its contract with independent music licensing body Merlin, and that any independent music left on the site had been “likely uploaded by users.” Myspace said that independent labels should request a takedown if they were unhappy with this.
At a press conference at Midem in Cannes, France today, WIN, the Worldwide Independent Music Industry Network that represents independent music trade bodies around the world, branded this situation as “repugnant.”
Alison Wenham, chair of WIN, said that the indie sector wanted online services to pay fairly for the use of music. “It’s extraordinarily difficult to get large services to acknowledge that indies should get paid,” she said, stating that it was “offensive” that online music services launched with major label deals but acted as if indie labels should be “grateful for promotional value.”
In a release accompanying the press conference, WIN described Myspace’s approach to dealing with independent labels as “regressive and outdated,” adding “we urge Myspace in the strongest possible terms to consider its current position and to forge equitable partnerships with the world’s most exciting artists if it wishes to once again become a successful music destination.”
By way of comparison, WIN praised Spotify, which has a formal licensing agreement for independent music through Merlin.
Wenham said that WIN was reluctant to start issuing mass takedown notices, saying that there was an argument for independent labels to be paid “first and more,” due to the additional challenges faced by small labels compared to majors, which can offset any failures due to revenues from large back catalogs.
Still, it looks like at least one takedown notice may be on its way to Myspace. Daniel Glass of indie label Glassnote said that he would be starting the paperwork for a formal takedown of the music of UK band Mumford & Sons, which is particularly popular right now on the music site.
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