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’s non-disparagement agreements go beyond a requirement not
to criticize the video site, one of the people said, without going
into detail. YouTube requires many partners to agree to such
conditions, including creators who make original series for its
paid service, the person said.
These agreements are common in business-to-business deals, but when dealing with artists they seem one-sided. This makes YouTube seem like they lack confidence in their own service. If criticism from musicians is apt, it’s wrong to suppress it. And if it’s not apt, why worry about it?