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Last.fm joins YouTube licensing row

Founder calls for terrestrial radio-style fees

Online music service Last.fm has joined the licensing row between YouTube and the Performing Rights Society (PRS).

It was revealed yesterday that UK users have been blocked from viewing music videos on YouTube. The video-sharing site made the move to help resolve an argument over the licensing fees it pays when a video streamed on the site.

To stream music videos over the web, YouTube not only needs to pay fees to the relevant record labels regarding the visual and audio aspect of the videos, but it also needs to pay licensing fees to the music publishers for the music and lyrics. The PRS is responsible for collecting those fees for the music publishers.

Last.fm founder Martin Stiksel called for "a workable solution" that involved cheaper and "less complicated" licences.

Stiksel told the BBC: "It has been a bold decision for Google but we are all working in a very competitive environment and the fees need to reflect that".

"It is a fundamental problem that we have been facing in that online music licensing is getting more complicated and more expensive.

"We pay each time one users listens to a song or watches a clip and, while that is more accurate because it makes sure the more popular songs get paid more, it is also very expensive. Terrestrial radio pays a fixed minimum and that works out a lot cheaper," he added.

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See also: YouTube lets users download clips in MPEG4

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