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Warner to Distribute Music Videos via YouTube

18 Sep, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

In a nod toward the emerging relevance of teen-based community Web sites, Warner Music Group (WMG) Sept. 18 announced it would open its library of music videos, behind-the-scenes artist footage, interviews and related content to YouTube.com users.

WMG includes record labels Atlantic, Asylum, Bad Boy, Cordless, East West, Reprise, Rhino, Sire and Rykodisc, among others. Artists include Green Day, Linkin Park, Faith Hill, Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Ray Charles.

The move — the first of its kind between a major record label and a viral type Web site — allows YouTube users to access, incorporate and pay license fees for content in videos they create and upload onto the site.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Backed by investor funding, 19-month-old YouTube in San Mateo, Calif., recently announced plans to incorporate ad-supported content on its site. It will share with WMG revenues generated from third-party advertising and user royalties.

The site had come under fire from content-holders, including No. 1 major Universal Music Group, which reportedly threatened legal action against YouTube if it didn't crack down on illegal uses of its content by users.

While embracing the emerging power and creativity of user-generated sites, the agreement would appear to give WMG better control over the use and illegal use of its content on the Internet, according to Edgar Bronfman, Jr., chairman and CEO of WMG.

“As user-generated content becomes more prevalent, this kind of new partnership will allow music fans to celebrate the music of their favorite artists, enable artists to reach consumers new ways and ensure that copyright holders and artists are fairly compensated,” said Bronfman.

Chad Hurley, CEO and co-founder of YouTube, said the agreement legitimizes the potential of community-based sites and shifts the paradigm in new media distribution.

“We are paving the way for media companies to harness the vast potential of user-generated content on YouTube,” said Hurley. “We are thrilled WMG had the vision … to allow our community to interact with WMG music in new creative ways.”

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