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Indie Labels Warn YouTube over Streaming Service Threats

The Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) warned YouTube on Thursday that it better withdraw the threats made earlier this week related to a planned streaming music service. The Google subsidiary warned artists that it would begin pulling their content from the YouTube website if they refused to take part in the streaming service. WIN, which represents independent artists and music labels, called YouTube's threats “unnecessary and indefensible” in a statement, and has demanded the company rescind the statements before the end of the week.

YouTube, already the world's largest source of free streaming music, has been relatively quiet about its plans for a new paid streaming product. Sources say the service will be called MusicPass, and will be designed to compete directly with streaming services like Spotify and Pandora. The service will be available with ads for just $5 a month, while a non-ad-supported version will cost $10 a month. YouTube has already secured deals with several major labels, including Sony, Warner Bros. And Universal, but has yet to come to terms with any independent labels. A spokesman for WIN said that discussions have been held, but that the terms YouTube is offering to the indie labels are "highly unfavorable and non-negotiable."

The clash between YouTube and WIN is just the latest example of the music industry sorting out how to generate income by streaming over the Web. As consumers continue to get more and more of their entertainment content online, the struggle is likely to continue into the next decade as companies battle over how money is brought in, and who gets to keep it.

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