Over 500,000 tracks affected by YouTube video clip blocking in Denmark

Earlier this summer, MBW learned that songwriters and music publishers in Denmark were embroiled in YouTube, with the Alphabet-owned platform threatening to take music written by Danish composers out of service.

YouTube subsequently implemented this threat, with local sources now telling MBW that the removal affected at least half a million tracks.

Obviously, that half a million tracks could have appeared in millions of videos across the UGC and “premium” music content on the platform.

Music videos withdrawn from the market – which are now inaccessible to residents of Denmark, but can be viewed outside the country – include the efforts of Danish superstars such as Lukas Graham, Volbeat and Mø.

The reason for the withdrawal is a dispute between YouTube and Koda, the Danish equivalent of ASCAP / BMI (US) or PRS For Music (UK), over the remuneration of songwriters and publishers on the market.

YouTube and Koda had been operating under a temporary license agreement since April after their previous multi-year YouTube agreement expired.

This temporary agreement expired on July 31 and, due to a breakdown in talks between the two parties, was not renewed.

Meanwhile, Polaris, the collecting society for the Nordic countries, is negotiating with YouTube a longer-term multi-territory license deal in Scandinavia that would cover Denmark – but there are no signs of a conclusion on these talks.

Koda claims that in order to extend its temporary deal in Denmark, YouTube demanded that the PRO – on behalf of its composers and songwriters – accept a 70% payment reduction.

The PRO refused to accept these conditions, which means that the agreement was not extended and Danish music content was blocked on the market service.

YouTube argues that under its previous temporary agreement with Koda (which expired on July 31), the organization “recovered less than half of the guarantee payments” returned by the platform in the first place.

In other words, YouTube claims that it paid Koda a sum of money as an advance on its future consumption, but that the organization’s repertoire was subsequently not popular enough to recoup this royalty for YouTube. in advertising money.

YouTube therefore made a smaller offer of guarantee payments when trying to renew the deal.

This new offer, according to YouTube, was rejected by Koda “on the grounds that the minimum guarantee was not at the same level as the [previous] okay. ”(It seems likely that this is where this 70% discount was applied.)

“It’s a very particular way of thinking, because it’s entirely under Google’s control to regulate how they approach the local market and what the advertising pressure is on the service. “

Kaare Struve, Koda

Speaking to MBW earlier this summer, Dan Chalmers, director of YouTube Music, EMEA, said: “Although we have had productive conversations [with Koda] we were not able to get a fair and equitable agreement before the expiration of the existing agreement.

“They charge a lot more than what we pay our other partners. It’s not just unfair to our other YouTube partners and creators, it’s unhealthy for the economy at large in our industry.

Kaare Struve, Koda’s director of online broadcasting and licensing, confirms to MBW that the disagreement focuses on YouTube ad revenue “generated by videos that contain the directory. [for which] we made an agreement ”.

However, he suggests that it’s YouTube’s fault, rather than the Danish songwriters and their music, that YouTube’s advertising revenue disappointed under the previous deal.

“It’s a very particular way of thinking, because it’s entirely under Google’s control to regulate how they approach the local market and what the advertising pressure is on the service,” he says.


The dispute in Denmark bears the hallmarks of a similar recent fallout in Germany.

German PRO GEMA went without a license agreement with YouTube for seven years before finally signing a deal in 2016.

The deal meant dozens of previously unlicensed – and therefore previously unavailable – music videos became playable in the region on YouTube.

Koda’s Struve adds, “Over the years it would seem that [Google] has been more concerned with growing their user base than having a very active marketing strategy through advertising content.

“[Koda] ask for much more than what we pay our other partners. It’s not just unfair to our other YouTube partners and creators, it’s unhealthy for the economy at large in our industry.

Dan Chalmers, YouTube (speaking in July)

He argues that YouTube is now ‘in the process of [Koda] responsible for this commercial strategy relating to the implementation of content advertising ”.

Struve continues: “Comparing the local services, it is quite obvious that their advertising strategy towards the service has been less aggressive, at least, compared to the other players.

“There are just fewer ads and you can easily ignore them. So of course the ad revenue is lower and then they point the finger at us and say, “Well, that’s your problem.”

Commenting further, he adds: “Politicians and the general public are slowly starting to realize that we are talking about companies that are overwhelmingly dominating the market, have a lot of muscle and are ready to do it.


In a Facebook post on August 10, Danish Culture Minister Joy Mogensen writes (translated from Danish) that “this is a huge challenge for the [promotion] Danish music that a dominant platform like YouTube (Google) is removing Danish titles from the platform due to a conflict of rights between KODA and YouTube ”.

She added, “This illustrates how big a problem the tech giants are in a modern media world: they can’t get around it, but they often don’t respect the production of content or the markets in which they operate and whose They profit. This applies above all to music, but also to other content ”.

Struve says he hopes a new deal with YouTube in Denmark crosses the finish line before the end of the year.Music trade around the world


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Victor L. Jones