“Independent artists could disappear from YouTube ‘in a matter of days’ after the Google video service confirmed it was dropping content from independent labels that have not signed up for its upcoming subscription music service,” Stuart Dredge and Dominic Rushe report for The Guardian. “YouTube is about to begin testing the new service – which will charge people to watch and listen to music without ads, and download songs to their mobile devices – within the next few days, initially within Google. The company’s head of content and business operations, Robert Kyncl, told the Financial Times that the service – previously rumoured to be called YouTube Music Pass – will launch more widely later in the year.”

“His confirmation that YouTube will block videos from labels that do not sign licensing deals for the new premium tier will be hugely controversial among indie labels, with trade body WIN already filing a complaint to the European Commission about its negotiating strategy,” Dredge and Rushe report. “Contacted by The Guardian following his comments, WIN’s chief executive Alison Wenham was blunt in her response. ‘They have suffered a simple but catastrophic error of judgement in misreading the market,’ said Wenham, who had organised a press conference earlier in the month to protest at YouTube’s plans. Wenham said YouTube was “setting itself up for failure” and only a small number of independent labels would agree to its terms.”

“WIN claims that the company has signed lucrative licensing deals with major labels Universal, Warner and Sony, while demanding that independent labels sign up to inferior terms or face having their videos blocked from YouTube’s free service,” Dredge and Rushe report. “Wenham’s criticism echoes a claim made at the event by musician Billy Bragg, who said ‘I don’t know why they’ve opened this hornet’s nest right now, apart from corporate hubris. I don’t think they realise what a stupid thing they’ve done.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Well, now, Google’s got themselves a fine can of worms, haven’t they?

More info: WIN’s YouTube statement.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “bpondo” for the heads up.]