If there were any lingering doubt about YouTube’s status as the biggest streaming music service on the planet, then this fact should dispel it: The Google-owned site has now paid out more than $1 billion in royalties to record labels (and other copyright owners, such as film studios and broadcast networks) for videos they didn’t even upload.
YouTube is able to do this thanks to its controversial Content ID technology, a digital fingerprinting system designed to assuage content owners concerns about piracy. Under this system, which remains contentious among people who use the site to promote themselves (particularly in the video game world) every single video that is uploaded to YouTube is scanned against a database of more than 25 million reference files provided by participating content owners ( the biggest film studios, record labels and broadcast networks).
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