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YouTube Is Super-Close to Kicking Off Indie Artists

Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Robert Kyncl, head of content and business operations at Google, has dropped the hammer on indie labels that won’t play ball with the online giant’s new plans. Kyncl told the Financial Times that independent music labels that refused to accept Google’s terms for its new streaming music service will be banned from YouTube completely “in a matter of days.”

The three biggest labels — Sony, Warner and Universal — are already on board with Google. Kyncl said Google has 90 percent of its target and is holding out for that last 10 percent — those pesky indie labels with their small-time indie bands like Radiohead, Adele and Arctic Monkeys.

But Merlin, the licensing group representing some of these independent labels, said that 10 percent figure is off. Way off. A recent study from Merlin claims these indie labels make up more than 30 percent of YouTube’s market share.

The labels represented by Merlin may just have enough clout to negotiate better terms than what Google is attempting to make them accept. It’s possible that smaller labels that lack a Radiohead- or an Adele-level artist will get left out in the rain, though.

While we wait to see if Google puts its foot down, here’s an Arctic Monkeys video. For now.

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