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Apple's Trent Reznor slams YouTube

The singer, who is also chief creative officer of Apple Music, takes a stand against the video-sharing service in a Billboard interview.

Nine Inch Nails front man and Apple Music Chief Creative Officer Trent Reznor has joined the chorus of YouTube critics.


Trent Reznor is no fan of YouTube.

Getty Images

As news from Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference settles down, Reznor and three other Apple executives sat down with Billboard. In an interview published Tuesday, Reznor called YouTube "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," he said.

Reznor paints YouTube as bad for musicians too, asserting that competitor Apple Music is different and that it will use streaming to "bring that sense of opportunity to the musician."

A YouTube spokesperson countered Reznor's assertions in a written statement.

"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," the spokesperson wrote, adding that about 50 percent of revenue paid by YouTube to the music industry comes from fan-uploaded videos. "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."

Reznor, who won an Oscar in 2012 for his musical score in the Facebook-inspired movie "The Social Network," isn't the first musician to criticize YouTube. Music mogul Irving Azoff sent an open letter in May, criticizing the lack of control and the low royalties YouTube offers artists.

Apple did not respond to CNET's request for comment.

Update, 10:28 a.m. PT: Adds comment from YouTube.