Los Angeles Business Journal

YouTube Networks Partner With Universal Music

By Natalie Jarvey Friday, February 15, 2013

It’s still a bit of a Wild West for companies and artists trying to make big bucks on the YouTube platform.

Covers of popular songs, for example, are some of the most viewed YouTube videos, but the owners of those song rights rarely make a penny off the online recordings.

So two of YouTube’s biggest networks – Maker Studios and Fullscreen in Culver City – have formed partnerships with Universal Music Publishing Group to bring some legitimacy to cover videos.

The networks announced late Thursday that Universal will be compensated every time a Maker or Fullscreen artist covers a song in the publisher’s library.

“The whole point is so that there can be fair value to all parties,” Courtney Holt, chief operating officer at Maker Studios, said of the partnership.

Holt would not disclose specifics about how it would compensate Universal, but it’s likely that Maker, the YouTube artist and Universal would split the revenue from a video’s advertising.

Many of the artists that Maker works with produce content that Universal would look to monetize.

Musician Mike Tompkins, for example, covers top 40 songs by producing all the instrument sounds with his voice. His rendition of “Rolling In The Deep” from Adele – a Universal artist – has more than 11 million views.

Another Los Angeles company that has tried to bring more legitimacy to the YouTube ecosystem is Zefr in Venice, which helps movie studios find and monetize the movie clips that fans upload to the site.