Monday, December 22, 2008
Erase the Music
There's almost no better proof of how little the old school media giants understand the non-linear thinking of new media than the fact that Universal Music Group refuses to allow videos from its artists to be embedded into blogs and third-person websites.
Well, there was no better proof -- until Warner Bros. decided to pull all of its music from YouTube.
That amounts to hundreds of thousands of videos.
It's making the move because contract negotiations broke down with Google over content sharing. In an official statement, Warner said:
"We simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artists, songwriters, labels and publishers for the value they provide."
Except of course that YouTube -- not to mention anyone who pulls a video from there and places it on his or her own website -- isn't receiving a service so much as providing one: Each time I post a music video here, I'm publicizing that band and hopefully encouraging people to go out and buy its music. For this, I receive no compensation from the record company; I do it out of a true passion for the music and the artist. What Warner Bros. and its artists have with YouTube is a genuinely symbiotic relationship; each side is benefiting equally.
But of course, Warner and most of the other dinosaur-like behemoths in the recording industry -- including the RIAA -- don't see it that way. They can't. They still think in terms of protecting their fiefdoms at all costs by stringently dictating how the music of their artists is distributed. They believe that any use of their music constitutes them doing somebody a favor when, in reality, it's often exactly the opposite.
In the end, you the music lover are going to suffer a hell of a lot less than the bands you won't be able to see and hear.