UK surfers can still watch music videos

10 Mar 2009

UK internet surfers affected by the blanket ban on premium music videos imposed by YouTube can still watch tens of thousands of premium videos, a rival Dublin and London firm said last night.

Muzu TV, which has offices in Dublin and London, is fully licensed with the Performing Right Society (PRS) and has struck deals with Sony BMG, EMI, Ministry of Sound, XL, Matador and Rough Trade, among others.

Yesterday, negotiations between Google-owned YouTube and the PRS broke down, and since last night, UK internet surfers have been unable to download premium label videos.

PRS for Music exists to make sure that songwriters, composers and publishers are rewarded whenever their musical works are played, performed or reproduced.

Steve Porter CEO of PRS for Music said yesterday: “We were shocked and disappointed to receive a call late this afternoon informing us of Google’s drastic action, which we believe only punishes UK consumers and the songwriters whose interests we protect and represent.”

According to PRS for Music, Google said it was taking this step because it wishes to pay significantly less than at present to the writers of the music on which its service relies, despite the massive increase in YouTube viewing.

For its part, YouTube stated that the costs PRS were charging were “simply prohibitive”, and, under the terms, the video service would lose significant amounts of money with every playback. It also said that PRS was unwilling to say what songs are being included in the licence.

At present, YouTube has been locked in negotiations with US labels Warner for four months over royalties and, at present, no premium Warner video can be accessed on YouTube anywhere in the world.

But plucky Dublin-based Muzu TV sees the battle between YouTube and PRS as an opportunity. “We’re free, and open for business!,” said digital marketing executive, Lorna Begg.

“Muzu TV has been purpose-built for the music industry, integrating the ability to generate revenue for our label partners through premium advertising rates.”

Muzu TV allows fans to create, watch and share music-video playlists. Users can create video playlists from thousands of videos and embed them on their social- networking sites.

The site provides free access to thousands of hours of diverse music-video content, including concerts, backstage footage, documentaries, tutorials, music videos, interviews and classic music TV shows such as The Tube.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: MuzuTV will allow UK surfers to watch music videos