Streaming music makes listening to the songs we love easier than ever. But some streaming services don’t pay artists fairly.

Some companies are trying to make it right. But others, like YouTube, abuse the law. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act needs to be updated.

“The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is broken and no longer works for creators.”
  • Ad signed by 180+ artists, including Bruce Springsteen, U2, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Beck, Ed Sheeran & others
0 00:00:00 Streams on Hours on Spotify YouTube
Earns Music Creators $7
Or, another way to think about it...
Music rights holders may have different views on the economics of Spotify, or any subscription service. The purpose of this example is to illustrate how much user-upload platforms like YouTube disadvantage other music services that directly distribute music to fans.
“In a world in which few people are paying for music, it is imperative for companies that generate enormous revenues, such as YouTube, to support the musicians and artists who have made that platform what it is today.”
  • Debbie Harry, lead singer of Blondie
  • The Guardian
  • April 26, 2016

YouTube and some other platforms benefit more from every stream than the artists do themselves.

Some streaming services negotiate fair market deals and license the music they distribute. But others that rely on users to upload music, like YouTube, claim they don’t need a license, hiding behind the outdated DMCA law in the U.S. and similar laws in Europe to get away with it. The result? Services like YouTube reap benefits from distributing thousands of songs uploaded illegally every day.

That’s called a value gap, and it’s a problem. YouTube is the most popular music listening service in the world, and it’s pocketing millions by exploiting legal loopholes and shortchanging artists of their fair share.

“I love YouTube, but I think it is underpaying and getting away with it. I know the truth hurts, but someone’s got to tell it.”
  • Nelly Furtado, Platinum-selling artist
  • The Guardian
  • May 2, 2016

They Can Do Better

It’s up to us to make sure the future is bright for the next generation of songwriters and musicians so they can stop fighting for scraps and focus on making great music.

Join the thousands of music creators and their fans worldwide who are coming together to update the DMCA in the U.S. and clarify the copyright law in Europe to make the music economy stronger, more lasting, and more fair.

Join Us

the Issue