The band’s co-founder has challenged the video streaming service to “do the right thing” over the amount it pays artists.
As The Guardian reports, the US artist has teamed up with a coalition of big name musicians to force YouTube to increase its royalty rates, which Sixx says are a sixth of what Spotify and Apple pay.
“We are not telling them how to run their business,” Sixx said. “We’re saying treat artists fairly the way other streaming services are. And by the way, we are a big part of what built your business: music is the No 1 most-searched thing on YouTube.
YouTube has a system called Content ID that automatically determines the rights holder for any piece of music it hosts so they can claim royalties, but Sixx argues YouTube’s licensing terms aren’t as favourable as Spotify.
“Google’s original corporate motto was ‘Don’t be evil’ because they wanted to take care of their employees and do things fairly. They recently changed it to ‘Do the right thing,'” Sixx said.
“All we’re saying to Google, which owns YouTube, is yes, don’t be evil! And do the right thing as far as artists are concerned, for the fans. That’s all we’re saying.”
Google defended its payments to The Guardian in a statement, saying: “Google has paid out billions to the music industry, and we’re engaged in productive conversations with the labels and publishers around increasing transparency on payouts. We believe that by providing artists and songwriters greater visibility around revenue earned on YouTube, we can solve many of these issues.
“We’re also working hard to bring more revenue to the music industry through our subscription service, as well as continuing to grow our ad supported business, which allows artists and labels to monetize the 80% music listeners who historically have never paid for music.”
While more artists behind the campaign are expected to speak out against YouTube later this week, the late Prince was one of the site’s most vocal critics prior to his death. Earlier this month he explained on Twitter why he doesn’t let the video service host his music, saying it “doesn’t pay equitable licensing fees.”
Other artists claimed to have made successful careers for themselves using the platform alone. Lindsey Stirling last year claimed she’d made $6m since 2007 without a record deal, using YouTube to market her combination of combination of EDM and classical violin.