Apple exec and rock star Trent Reznor slams YouTube: 'built on the backs of free, stolen content'

At least one person at Apple isn’t afraid to directly criticise Google’s YouTube.

The Apple Music brain trust — Internet services boss Eddy Cue, VP of content Robert Kondrick, Apple Music chief creative officer Trent Reznor, and longtime industry figure Jimmy Iovine — gave a remarkably candid interview to Billboard to explain the recent changes to Apple Music, its streaming music service.

When prompted, Reznor couldn’t couldn’t help but take a shot at YouTube, one of Apple Music’s main competitors.

He said its business was “very disingenuous” and that it got big “on the backs of free, stolen content.”

Reznor, who first became famous as the leader of the rock band Nine Inch Nails, clearly feels strongly about the topic. Here’s the full quote:

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. 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.

While you can quibble with some of his specifics — Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion long before the company would have gone public — his main point rings true. A lot of accounts share music they haven’t properly licensed.

The rest of the interview is less combative but just as illuminating. The gang of four commented on how the Beats-Apple integration is going after Apple purchased the company for $3.2 billion just over two years ago, and the possibility that Apple might phase out paid iTunes downloads — “there’s no end date,” says Cue.

The whole interview is worth a read at Billboard>>

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