All the PRO buzz at the end last year was about how Irving Azoff taking on YouTube (and thereby Google) by forming his own PRO, Global Music Rights, and proclaiming his newborn PRO refuses to license its works to the video-streaming empire (until GMR can negotiate better terms for their members).
Sabres were rattled and blood-curdling tweets were hurled by Azoff’s camp as they threatened a rumored billion-dollar lawsuit on behalf of their growing stable of hit makers (Pharrell Williams, Fleetwood Mac, Soundgarden, John Lennon’s estate), all of whom were freshly poached from long-term PROs ASCAP and BMI.
Yet the news feeds have simmered down in 2015, with nary a legal filing nor tweet to be seen this year. Most curious.
Silence on YouTube’s part makes sense as it rolls out its new Music Key subscription service. The ordeal also likely inspired their of support of Rumblefish’s new RADKey microlicensing service, which helps solidify YouTube’s licensing legal immunity (Azoff may beg to differ).
In the meantime, GMR and it’s 20,000+ song catalog represents publishing interests with nearly every major artist currently on the air/cyber waves. There’s been speculation that GMR’s catalog isn’t legally relevant until current licensing deals with the copyright holders’ former PROs expire, but those deals will expire. As those deals expire over the next two to five years, GMR’s reverted licensing power will only grow.
Let’s hear what you think: was Azoff’s YouTube kerfuffle last year just a PR stunt, or is there a real music licensing power grab going down behind the curtains at Google’s YouTube?