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Publishers gain ground on music-video payday

Music videos are making a comeback with help from Vevo and YouTube. Indie music publishers want their fair share.

Songwriters and music publishers don't want to get left out of the online music-video boom.

David Israelite, CEO of the National Music Publishers Association. Greg Sandoval/CNET

The top sites -- Vevo and YouTube -- are among the sites already paying fees to the major music publishing companies for music videos, but independent publishers have been left out. Today, the National Music Publishers Association announced that it has reached a "new model agreement" with Universal Music Group that ensures indie publishers get paid.

David Israelite, chief executive of the NMPA, told CNET this morning that the deal with Universal calls for the label to pay indie publishers directly and is the first of its kind with one of the top four record companies. He said Vevo, the Web music-video service that offers music from three of the four major labels, announced that it generated $150 million in revenue last year and has its sights on topping the $1 billion mark in coming years.

Israelite said that before now, there wasn't an agreement in place to cover indie publishers. "We've been able to reach a peaceful agreement with the largest record label," Israelite said. "We both think this is a good model for everybody."

He added that the deal is retroactive to 2008, and that the NMPA continues to negotiate with the other three major record companies.

Music videos were once the purview of MTV and cable TV, but then they fell out of favor. YouTube's emergence in 2006 breathed new life into the genre and now, among the Top 10 YouTube channels, 7 are music-video related.