Irving Azoff Demands YouTube Remove Pharrell, the EaglesLucas Shaw
Music executive Irving Azoff demanded YouTube remove songs written by John Lennon, the Eagles and Pharrell Williams, just as the Google Inc. video site gets going with a new streaming service.
Azoff, a veteran manager and former head of MCA Records, is acting on behalf of 41 songwriters and composers who are clients of Global Music Rights, a company he founded in 2013, according to Randy Grimmett, his partner. The acts, which also include Smokey Robinson and Steve Miller, moved over from the rights-management firms Ascap or BMI, which means YouTube needs permission from Global Music Rights to use their work, he said.
“There’s no evidence there’s a license,” Grimmett said.
Azoff mounted the offensive just as YouTube introduced YouTube Music Key to compete with Apple Inc. and Spotify Ltd. The move could bring in revenue if he can force YouTube to pay, and bring attention to his relatively new venture, which Grimmett said controls rights to about 20,000 songs. YouTube says it’s investigating.
“We’ve done deals with labels, publishers, collection societies and more to bring artists’ music into YouTube Music Key,” Matt McLernon, a spokesman for YouTube, said in a statement. “To achieve our goal of enabling this service’s features on all the music on YouTube, we’ll keep working with both the music community and with the music fans invited to our beta phase.”
The music industry is seeking to increase the amount of money it receives from streaming services as more listeners access tunes online or on mobile devices. Taylor Swift has withheld her new album, “1989,” from Spotify because the service wouldn’t agree to keep it off of its free, ad-supported version.
Music publishers are also seeking more money from Pandora Media Inc., a Web radio product.