By Amanda Wicks
Like many musicians who don’t want their work freely released and shared, Trent Reznor takes issue with the way YouTube provides its service to viewers.
The Nine Inch Nails frontman, and Apple Chief Creative Officer, along with his Apple colleagues Jimmy Iovine, Eddie Cue, and Robert Kondrk, spoke about their company’s place in the streaming world on June 14th, but talk naturally turned to other outlets affecting musicians and bands.
Speaking with Billboard, Reznor said, “Personally, I find YouTube’s business to be very disingenuous. It is built on the backs of free, stolen content and that’s how they got that big.”
He continued, “I think any free-tiered service is not fair. It’s making their numbers and getting them a big IPO and it is built on the back of my work and that of my peers. That’s how I feel about it. Strongly. We’re trying to build a platform that provides an alternative–where you can get paid and an artist can control where their [content] goes.”
Even though he has strong opinions when it comes to YouTube, earlier in the interview he admitted that he’s long taken issue with people demanding free music. And he knows he needs to adjust his reaction. “I’ve dedicated my whole life to this craft, which, for a variety of reasons, is one that people feel we don’t need to pay for anymore,” he said. “And I went through a period of pointing fingers and being the grumpy, old, get-off-my-lawn guy. But then you realize, let’s adapt and figure out how to make this better instead of just complain about it.”
YouTube responded to Reznor’s claims in a statement to Pitchfork, which reads:
The overwhelming majority of labels and publishers have licensing agreements in place with YouTube to leave fan videos up on the platform and earn revenue from them. Today the revenue from fan uploaded content accounts for roughly 50 percent of the music industry’s YouTube revenue. Any assertion that this content is largely unlicensed is false. To date, we have paid out over $3 billion to the music industry–and that number is growing year on year.