Trent Reznor says YouTube is “built on the backs of free, stolen content”

The website strike back calling the claims false.

Trent Reznor criticized YouTube yesterday in an interview with Billboard following the Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference.

Coming just one year after the launch of Apple Music (and days after its redesign) the Nine Inch Nails-frontman and Chief Creative Officer for the company didn’t hold back in his disdain.

“I find YouTube’s business to be very disingenuous. It is built on the backs of free, stolen content and that’s how they got that big … it is built on the back of my work and that of my peers,” he said. Earlier in the interview he admitted he was worried about artists ability to make a living in the future.

“I’ve dedicated my whole life to this craft, which, for a variety of reasons, is one that people feel we don’t need to pay for anymore,” he said continuing, “but then you realize, let’s adapt and figure out how to make this better instead of just complain about it.”

YouTube rejected Reznor’s claims saying that most labels and publishers have licensing agreements with them to leave fan videos up and earn revenue from them.

“Any assertion that this content is largely unlicensed is false. To date, we have paid out over $3 billion to the music industry–and that number is growing year on year,” they wrote in a statement to Pitchfork.

It’s a markedly different opinion from when a 2007 pre-Apple Reznor said the iTunes store made him feel “uncool” (“[it] feels like Sam Goody to me”) and admitted he was a frequent user of the file sharing website OiNK.

“They’re not stealing it because they’re going to make money off of it; they’re stealing it because they love the band”, he said, adding that while he didn’t think file sharing was morally correct “it existed because it filled a void of what people want”.