“The missing detail in YouTube's media blitz”

(or short-sighted, sensationalist bias)

The whoevers

From Helienne Lindvall over at The Guardian’s Digital Content Blog:

YouTube, by pulling music videos off its site in the UK, is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, punishing innocent songwriters in the process. (Oh right, baddy number 1 then).

Google, the site's owner, accuse the Performing Rights Society of being greedy in negotiations, but what they conveniently fail to mention is the pittance that they pay for the professional content on YouTube. (That’s baddy number 2 identified).

The PRS is not a big corporate giant like Google – it doesn't have shareholders that need to see a profit - it's simply a society set up to collect royalties on behalf of songwriters for the use of their compositions and to represent them in negotiations. (Ah, bless them).

In the agreement Google made with the PRS in 2007, they tied the collection society to a confidentiality agreement [what a cheek!!] which means that they're not even allowed to tell their own members the details of the deal. But, as a songwriter myself, I can tell you that most songwriters haven't seen any income from YouTube at all, since a music video has to be viewed hundreds of thousands of time, to take it over the required threshold where you even get a payment.

Some argue ... that music videos are promotion, so songwriters shouldn't get paid at all. But it's becoming apparent that streaming - instead of owning - is how more and more music fans choose to enjoy their music, as they don't want or need to clog up their hard drives with huge catalogues of songs.
(Simple solution then: have the music industry stop making promotional videos, if that’s your argument Helienne. While you’re at it, why not go and dust your busking bowl off if you’re feeling that hard-done-by).


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