Irving Azoff, former Executive Chairman of LiveNation Entertainment, threatened to pull over 20,000 of his clients copyrighted songs from Youtube in light of Google’s planned launch of Music Key, a YouTube subscription service to compete with Pandora and Spotify. Azoff does not believe YouTube has made all necessary deals for this service. Big record labels made deals with YouTube, but smaller independent labels reacted negatively to the licensing terms. His clients include John Lennon, Pharrell Williams, Boston, Smokey Robinson, and the Eagles.
Azoff wants to make a statement regarding higher royalty payments to songwriters and is fronting a new venture named Global Music Rights, which aims to use Azoff’s negotiating leverage to extract higher performance rights royalties for songwriters through IP licensing services. Owners of songwriter and publishing rights traditionally struggle to receive compensation from digital services. Azoff’s message is that, as consumers gravitate more to streaming services, these should contribute more compensation to the composers.