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Neil Young has hit out at YouTube by complaining it “unfairly” punishes artists to keep the online video business ticking over.

Writing on his blog yesterday, the Sixties rocker and one-time supporter of Ronald Reagan, grumbled about a row that kicked off in December between Warner Music and YouTube after the firms failed to agree to a licensing deal.

"YouTube has a responsibility to respect the artists it facilitates and resist punishing them to make a business point," opined Young on his website.

The Canadian rock star described YouTube as "the new radio" but claimed that unlike the wireless* days of yore, Google's video sharing website fails to equally compensate for every artist and record label.

"Since You Tube has given some labels better deals that others, the Media Giant is treating artists unequally, depending on which label they are on," said Young.

"If all artists were compensated equally, and the people decided who had the hits and misses by virtue of number of downloads and plays, there could be no grounds for disagreement that would cause the facilitator of the art to break the conduit between an artist and an audience.

"That is what has happened to Warner Bros artists caught in YouTube's web."

Warner Music's content was yanked from YouTube after the two firms failed to reach an agreement earlier this year. YouTube has previously inked separate licensing deals with each of the Big Four record labels.

Young isn't impressed with YouTube's handling of the agreements.

"It is time for industry-wide standards of artist's compensation on the Web," he wrote. "Reprise and Warner Bros artists deserve what artists from other labels are getting." ®

*We mean the quaint old radio players from back in the pre-telly days and not WiFi for those of you who were wondering.

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