YouTube has asked musicians to agree not to disparage the streaming-video service in exchange for promotional support, according to people familiar with the matter, a way to quell persistent criticism by artists.
In recent months, YouTube has given a handful of musicians a couple hundred thousand dollars to produce videos and promoted their work on billboards, part of a larger campaign to improve the site’s relationship with the music industry.
Yet such support comes with a catch, with some musicians required to promise the won’t say negative things about YouTube, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private business transactions. Non-disparagement agreements are common in business, but YouTube’s biggest direct competitors in music don’t require them, the people said.
YouTube figures we are paying you we don’t want you to bash our service.