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Musicians criticise Google in YouTube royalties battle

Gang Of Four, ABBA, Jay Jay Pistolet side with the PRS

Gang of Four Pic Matej Grgic
A range of artists and music industry figures including Gang Of Four's Andy Gill, X-Ray Spex's Poly Styrene and Jools Holland have accused Google of underpaying songwriters' royalties.

The move comes after Google, which owns YouTube, removed millions of premium music videos from the site because of a disagreement over royalty rates with songwriters' organisation PRS For Music.

Now, PRS members have made public their dissatisfaction with the situation.

Writing on the PRS-operated Fairplayforcreators.com, Gang Of Four founder member Andy Gill called the situation "totally unfair".

"Google and YouTube pretend they are providing a public service," he said. "They are not, they are huge money making machines who make incredible fortunes for their owners at the expense of songwriters who get paid no royalty.

"The vast majority of PRS For Music members earn less than a few thousand pounds a year . It is a totally unfair situation."

In another online comment, X-Ray Spex singer Poly Styrene made reference to Google's supposed £3 billion annual profit, saying it was wrong that musicians currently get paid so little in terms of royalties from the site.

"Three billion is a whole lot of profit - I think it only fair that the song writers and performers get a fair share," she said.

So far, over 60 PRS members including ABBA[a]'s Bjorn Ulvaeus, [a]Jay Jay Pistolet, Pete Waterman and Guy Chambers have voiced their support for the organisation on Fairplayforcreators.com.

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