YouTube, the world’s largest video platform, loves supporting musicians, as long as they never say anything critical about the corporation.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that YouTube, which recently gave money to rapper G-Eazy to produce a short video series about his new album The Beautiful and Damned, is willing to throw hundreds of thousands of dollars to artists—with the condition that the artists don’t say anything disparaging about the video-streaming company. This kind of business partnership and level of censorship hasn’t been not reported at other music platforms like Apple Music, SoundCloud, or Spotify, according to the sources that Bloomberg spoke to.
YouTube’s relationship with the music industry is, well, fraught. In early January, Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s head of music, announced that the company would make artists “rich and famous,” promising a rosy future of artist relations. Cohen never articulated how exactly his platform was going to achieve this lofty goal. What the company is promising is also unclear, as artists only make fractions of a penny for every video view they amass on the platform.
YouTube may be attempting to play nice with artists, as it gets ready to launch a new music-streaming service. But music listeners should be wary of the company’s relationship with artists, especially if that relationship restricts what the artist can say or not say about their video giant.
We reached out to YouTube for a comment on the Bloomberg piece and will update this posts if we hear back.