Well, thank you, PRS: An unrealistically high demand for royalties on videos shown on YouTube in the UK means that music videos are about to vanish from British PCs:
YouTube said today that after the expiry of its former deal, PRS had proposed new payment terms that would be financially prohibitive for the site and would require YouTube to pay out more than it makes from the ads next each video.
It also said that PRS would not agree to identify which artists and songs are covered by which licence, something essential for YouTube's content ID system to identify and reimburse rights holders for each song that is viewed.
"We value the creativity of musicians and song writers and have worked hard with rights-holders to generate significant online revenue for them and to respect copyright," said Google in a statement.
"But PRS is now asking us to pay many, many times more for our license than before. The costs are simply prohibitive for us - under PRS's proposed terms we would lose significant amounts of money with every playback."
This is further indication that the PRS might be the wrong people for the job of ensuring digital royalties get to artists. It seems they're incapable of understanding the value of music in the new age. In the same way that they seem to think it's going to be worth the while of small garages to pay hefty licence fees on the offchance customers might hear music leaking from the service bay, PRS is incapable of grasping the value of individual songs to Google. Hence, nobody gets anything.
For their part, the PRS is acting outraged:
PRS said in a statement that it is "outraged on behalf of consumers and songwriters that Google has chosen to close down access to music videos on YouTube in the UK".
But since when has the PRS ever given a flying hoof about consumers' interests? Because, fair enough, they're not there to represent them. They should be representing the interests of songwriters, though, and it's hard to see how anyone's interests are served by this move.
The PRS claims, by the way, that Google are fibbing:
PRS insists that Google has made this move because it wants to reduce the amount it pays in royalties, despite an increase in viewer numbers.
Does the PRS realise that all it's managed to do is shore up whatever unlicensed system picks up the business from disaffected YouTube viewers?