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YouTuber Hank Green hits back at Taylor Swift's manager in streaming row


By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

May 13, 2016 | 3 min read

A popular YouTube influencer has leapt to the video platform's defense following a debate around the way YouTube treats musicians.

Taylor Swift YouTube row

Video producer Hank Green has waded in on a row kicked off by music manager and former Ticket Master boss, Irving Azoff – who penned an open letter to YouTube earlier this week claiming it pays artists a "pittance".

Writing on Re/code Green dismissed the claims, saying that YouTube has in fact provided artists' with "new revenue streams".

"Being on YouTube is good for artists and record labels, and everybody knows it. YouTube has sent $3bn in royalties to record labels. Fan-made videos that cost labels nothing to produce provide not just marketing but more than 50 percent of that $3bn." he added.

Azoff had taken issue with the fact that YouTube, which contributes to Google owner Alphabet's $19.1bn ad revenue stream, does not allow musicians to "hide" their tracks behind the site's YouTube Red pay-wall to earn more revenue.

"If music matters to YouTube, then why not give musicians the same choice you give yourselves? Taylor Swift should be able to decide which of her songs are available for free and which are part of a paid subscription service. Or she should be able to opt out of YouTube if you won’t give her this choice," he wrote.

Azoff's blog came in response to a YouTube creator post titled 'Setting the Record Straight' which sought to cut through the noise of a "chorus of music label representatives and artists accusing YouTube of mistreating musicians".

The site said that comparing the fees it paid artists to other higher-paying services like Spotify was like "comparing what a cab driver earns from fares to what they earn showing ads in their taxi."

Addressing concerns over copyright claims, YouTube said that its Content ID technology automatically dealt with 99.5 per cent of these, and that record labels could choose whether to make money from ads on unauthorised uploads or have them blocked.

Youtube Taylor Swift

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