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Friday, October 06, 2006
YouTube gets chums in the music business

YouTube announced partnerships with CBS, Sony BMG Music Group and Universal Music Group that allow their artists' music and videos to be included in original video content posted on YouTube's website

The deal will compensate the media groups and their artists for copyright-protected video and music posted on YouTube. The video-sharing site has also agreed to use new technology to filter out UMG content used on YouTube without permission. UMG owns multiple record labels, including Geffen Records, Island Def Jam Music Group and Verve Music Group.

Monday's announcement did not make clear when the UMG service will be available, or how the content will be priced. Neither YouTube nor UMG was immediately available for comment.

The Sony BMG deal will be similar to that with UMG, allowing both artist music and video content to be used with permission. YouTube's deal with CBS will allow users to purchase content such as news, sports and prime-time programming from its CBS brand television channels. It also includes technology that will allow CBS to find unauthorised CBS content on YouTube and remove it, or choose to keep the content up and stream advertising next to it.

In mid-September, Warner Music Group signed a similar deal with YouTube to allow legal use of its music, video content, artist interviews and other original programming.

Separately on Monday, Google announced it has made a deal with Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group to offer music video content via advertising-supported streaming. Warner Music Group will also allow Google to offer a purchase-for-download option.

The agreement with CBS, Sony BMG and UMG comes amid a flurry of rumours regarding YouTube's possible sale to companies such as Google, Microsoft, News Corp, Viacom and Yahoo!.

YouTube is valued for the vast community of users it has managed to attract, in much the same way social-networking site MySpace, owned by News Corp, has developed a large user base. However, YouTube's growing popularity has been accompanied by scrutiny over the unauthorised inclusion of copyright content in many of the videos posted to the site. Concern over copyright issues has also led many analysts to question YouTube's long-term viability.

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