There was a lot of confusion about YouTube's stance on independent labels earlier this year. At the time, it was being construed that YouTube was not allowing indie labels or publishers to upload videos or songs to the site – seems crazy but, well, you wouldn't put it past 'em would you?

It turns out that all they wanted to do was launch a subscription service. Seems legit, right? But they met with not a little resistance from Worldwide Independent Network (WIN), "a representative organization exclusively for the worldwide independent music community," who accused YouTube of lowballing indie labels, and also threatening to block videos from certain sources being uploaded.

It was around this time, summer this year, that WIN announced and penned 'The Fair Digital Deals Declaration', with a Worldwide Declaration Signing Day following this on 16th July. It is "a statement of commitment made by independent record labels to treat their artists fairly in agreements relating to digital exploitation of artists' work in recorded music agreements with third parties." (You can read it in its entirety here, should you wish).

This made the position of WIN and the indie labels it represents quite clear for YouTube. Anyway, after months of (probably) talks and emails and phonecalls and lord knows what else, YouTube have finally signed a deal with Merlin, a "global rights agency for the independent label sector, representing over 20,000 labels from 39 countries" started by WIN. Though actual details are unclear at the moment, it allegedly took so long because YouTube's rates weren't able to match what competitors Rdio and Spotify already offer.

With deals like this happening, actual deals, it's no wonder that people like Adele's manager – and a bunch of others – think that streaming is the future. And it is also interesting that these things are being spearheaded by independent labels, working with streaming services rather than against them, whilst major labels, like Taylor Swift's for instance, are seemingly doing all they can to avoid streaming where possible.

A premium subscription service does seem to be in the works for YouTube, wherein the paying subscribers would navigate an ad-free version of the site. Works for Spotify, will probably work for iTunes (which Apple wants to be the next Spotify), and, well, maybe it will work for SoundCloud too. We're all being lowballed here — oh wow have this cool free new service, wait now it's got adverts, oh and you can get rid of the adverts if you pay us… yeah we know that it was cool cause it was free but that's life kid. That's life.

In other-but-related news: Didja hear Spotify revenue overtook that of iTunes for one large independent publisher in Europe? Streaming's on the up in a big way.