Music videos back on YouTube in U.K.

Multi-year deal on behalf of nearly 60,000 PRS members

NEW YORK -- U.K. music fans will be able to once again watch videos of their favorite artists on YouTube after the Google-owned site agreed to pay a lump sum to the main songwriters' collection society and work out a new multi-year deal.

The world's largest video sharing site was forced to block U.K. access to tens of thousands of videos in March after it was unable to reach a rights deal with PRS for Music, a British agency that collects royalties on behalf of nearly 60,000 songwriters, composers and publishers.

YouTube and PRS for Music said on Wednesday that both sides had come to a "mutually acceptable" agreement, but declined to reveal financial terms. The lump sum payment covers the period from January 2009 through to June 2012.

Music videos from major labels owned by Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI Group plus thousands of independent labels will be accessible on the site by U.K. users over the coming days.

The fallout between YouTube and the U.K.'s PRS was a sign of a rising tension between the popular site and some facets of the music industry.

It also highlighted the video site's resolve to keep operating costs under control as it tries to generate profits for Google.

PRS and other rights-holders have argued that YouTube should pay a higher fee or share more of its advertising revenue since many users come to the site to watch music videos.

YouTube's relationship with major record companies has also been strained at times. Music from Warner Music Group, the world's third largest music group, is currently not officially available on YouTube in an ongoing dispute over payment terms.