Hey YouTube: Bring Back the Music
Mashable broke a story yesterday about how YouTube is muting videos that contain uncopyrighted music.
I get it. Just as Pandora pays for music streams, YouTube should pay a licensing fee when music is streamed from its site. YouTube makes money from ads posted on pages that visit and some of that money should go to artists and copyright holders if their licensed works are being used.
But there has to be a better way then just pressing mute. YouTube is obviously using a digital fingerprinting technology to match songs that stream on its site against a database of copyrighted works, so it knows what songs are playing and how often. Why couldn’t it just take it one step further? There are standing agreements on paying for streamed music. Webcasters pay them already. Why can’t YouTube calculate the rates and figure out a monetization scheme that works for them?
They are inserting ads into videos already and could crank those up. Or they could do what MySpace did and sell downloads as part of their mix. Come on Google: strike a deal with Amazon; align yourself with iTunes; work with the labels directly. Do something other than press mute.
Maybe this is just a bargaining ploy. I am sure Google/YouTube is in talks with the labels. Or maybe they are waiting out the negotiations of webcaster rates, but can’t you get someone at Google Labs to cook up a solution?
Wonder how this will affect you? Stan Schroeder at Mashable talks about some of the “stupid” implications of silencing songs on YouTube.
1. No more RickRoll (or any other authentic viral videos with copyrighted music)
2. No more anime music videos
3. No more movie remixes (I’ll add to this: no more “here’s a song from a movie that doesn’t have a video of its own so I will post it for people to find and listen to it.”)
4. No more Guitar Hero/Rock Band videos
5. No more dance videos
Update: Here’s YouTube’s explanation for their move. What do you think?
(Full disclosure: musicFIRST is a client for my day job. They are weighing in on establishing a performance right for songs when they play on the radio – currently artists don’t get paid for song play on the radio. The issue is separate from YouTube, streaming, etc. I am not representing them with this post. These are my personal views.)