UK Recording Industry: Investigate Google For Not Giving Us Money

from the logic-is-not-sharkey's-strong-suit dept

Back at Midem, Feargal Sharkey, former singer for the Undertones, and now the head of a lobbying group called UK Music, trashed outsider "utopians" who spout "wild rhetoric and innuendo," when all he really wanted was for others (such as ISPs) to be forced to cough up money to simply hand over to the music industry. That plan has been falling apart, so now he's looking for other targets, to force them to pay -- and it seems like Google is in his sights. Responding to the ongoing fight between PRS and Google/YouTube over paying for music videos, Sharkey has gone on the attack, blaming Google for everything and suggesting that Google needs to be investigated for wielding too much power.

Of course, what he really means is that he's finally realizing that Google actually has the leverage in this fight. They have the value that musicians want: a platform to gain tremendous amounts of attention, that many musicians are using to successfully build an audience. That's the value. Google doesn't need those music videos to make money, so it's fine without them. But, musicians sure could use the boost that YouTube gives them.

But, honestly, Sharkey's response shows how hypocritical he and many in the industry are over these issues. First they scream about how YouTube is copyright infringement and stealing form them... and so now that YouTube takes down their videos... they scream again? Shouldn't that be exactly what they want? If they're not getting paid a reasonable amount for the use of the videos, shouldn't they be thrilled that YouTube took the videos down? After all, we're told over and over again a rather simple mantra by pro-copyright folks: if you don't like the price, don't download the music. Google is living by that exactly. It didn't like the price offered by PRS, so it's blocking the music.

Done deal. What's to be upset about?

At some point, perhaps, it will dawn on Sharkey, Billy Bragg and others in the UK music business that, in their demand to get "paid" tons of money for everything, they've forgotten that the music is only one part of the value proposition -- and the community and platform that YouTube provides is another big part of it. The very fact that they want their videos back up shows they recognize this fact implicitly, even if they're going through massive cognitive dissonance in somehow lashing out at Google for making that point clear.

Sharkey is once again confused. Google isn't abusing any power. It got offered a bad deal by PRS, and it turned it down and blocked all of the videos. If Sharkey really believes what he claims about music business models, this should be exactly what he wants. Rather than allowing such "theft" to continue, it's cleared the playing field so that Sharkey, UK Music and PRS can take those videos to some other site. Or put up their own damn site. The very fact that they're not doing that, and are focusing on YouTube instead, shows they know in their hearts (if not their brains) that Google and YouTube are providing significant value.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Jesse, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 12:39pm

    Silly music industry, trix are for kids.

     

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  2.  
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    Matt, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 1:04pm

    typo

    google is in their sights, not sites :)

    feel free to delete this comment after, Mike :)

     

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  3.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 18th, 2009 @ 1:23pm

    Re: typo

    google is in their sights, not sites :)

    Oops! Fixed. Thanks!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Ken, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 1:27pm

    power to the google

    i think google should turn around and demand money from the music industry to include their music in youtube.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 1:29pm

    Re: power to the google

    I agree. No pay, no play. End of discussion.

     

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  6.  
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    Overcast, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 1:46pm

    Hey!! Why don't we just 'bailout' the RIAA and MPAA as well?

    Soon - the money we trade with won't be worth the paper it's printed on!

     

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  7.  
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    some old guy, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 1:56pm

    Re: power to the google

    Payola is good? Oh, wait, its ok cause theres no preferential treatment in the equation!

    While there at it, they can restore the audio tracks to all my gaming tutorials, and fucking apologize to me for treating me like a dirty criminal while I was promoting their artists.

    (Ya, I'm still pissed about that....)

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 1:57pm

    am i getting this straight?

     

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  9.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 1:59pm

    I don't think it should be up to Google to decide by itself to help an artist "build an audience". If the artist or label doesn't want the stuff on there for free, Google should take it off.

    After all, if Google is in fact creating that much value for artists, why not create it for artists that appreciate someone else making decisions for them.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:00pm

    Re:

    hmmm hyper inflation ... so long as my job gives raises to keep pace I'm happy enough. It would effectively erase my student loans (and if i buy a house in time that mortgage too)

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:01pm

    So, if Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, iTunes, etc. all remove Sharkey - doesn't it all just go away?

     

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  12.  
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    Joe Bob Trailerpark, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:10pm

    am i getting this straight?

    Google wants ad revenue.

    UK Music wants money from Google.

    Google feels that not serving UK Music's videos is not sufficiently reducing their ad revenue to resume serving them

    UK Music feels that Google not serving their videos is hurting their revenue stream.

    I'm all for Google in this case, but if the above assumptions are correct that sounds kinda like Walmart(we'll decide what we pay for your product. If you don't like it, no skin off our back).

    If YouTube charged for viewing, I might feel bad for UK Music. Since they don't, UK Music needs to wise up and realize their product probably isn't as valuable as they think it is.

     

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  13.  
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    SteveD, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:42pm

    Re: am i getting this straight?

    I think its something more like this:

    The PRS sees Google as a wealthy corporation, and wants it to pay more for the content it shows on youtube.

    Google, while wealthy, is struggling to generate serious income from youtube.

    Google want to negotiate rates relevant to the (low) add income that the youtube generates, while the PRS wants to negotiate rates relevant to Googles net income including other more profitable parts of its business.

    Hence, impasse. Google can't back down because of the precedent it would set, and the PRS won't back down because they are the very same jackasses that torpedoed Pandora in the UK.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:43pm

    Re:

    So you agree with Mike? Great!

     

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  15.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: am i getting this straight?

    ...and PRS has nothing to lose, but Google has everything to gain.

    Without content, Youtube is nothing. If Google cannot find a way to make youtube profitable at rates consistent with what others are paying the PRS, then perhaps they should just not do that business.

    It's not really hard. Google is in no position to dictate to a content provider the value of their content. They should never be in that position. If they aren't willing to pay and PRS isn't willing to accept their offer, then take the content down and call it a day.

    History will tell us which one was smarter.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: am i getting this straight?

    The PRS wants money from google. Google says no profit for us, so we'll take the stuff down instead. Everyone loses.

    PRS can always put the content up for free like everyone else. If they work out a revenue deal that google likes, even better. Everyone wins.

    The issue is that PRS isn't willing to compromise, and google isn't willing to lose money paying for content. The only way this sort of thing could be resolved would be open competition, but that's not how anyone does business anymore.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: am i getting this straight?

    People in the UK will continue to use youtube nearly as much which gives google money, while the PRS will not make any profits.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 3:08pm

    Re: power to the google

    That would be amazing and I'd love to see it happen.

     

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  19.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: am i getting this straight?

    How about you pay attention? PRS is apparently losing since their the ones complaining that Google doesn't have the content up any more. Google is fine, even without PRS's content since there will always be content uploaded freely and legitimately by normal users.

    End users uploaded PRS IP
    PRS came to Google to form a deal with them
    Google offered money relative to the profit of youtube
    PRS said they wanted more (to the point where youtube would be losing money just because of this deal)
    Google said no
    Google took down the infringing content.
    PRS bitched because their content isn't up any more.

    Someone want to explain to me how this is Google's fault?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: am i getting this straight?

    Did you read the article. If the PRS has nothing to lose, why are they trying to get google investigated for not accepting their deal. If google really meant nothing to them, they wouldn't care, but it would appear that they do care, as they want to FORCE google to accept their deal.

     

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  21.  
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    Pottyprof, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 3:43pm

    Let us not forget

    The record industry never learns. It isn't that long ago that they were out to ban mp3. Yes, the aritsts and writers need to see the income keep flowing and rightly so. What is becoming more apparent in this world, is the greed of giant corporations. The record companies/publishing houses, take a huge cut of the royalties, so perhaps the artists should be focusing their attention on sorting out the rot of the industry they represent and get a fair deal for the work they have done at that level. Biting the hand that feeds will never work. They need to adjust once again and it seems to me, that they are having problems in doing this once again. I wouldn't pay to watch a promotional video as it is a promotional thing and should be free but on the back of that video I may go and purchase the single/album. In advertising, the person wanting to advertise is the person that pays. Surely it has to be the record company that should pay Google?

     

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  22.  
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    Jim G., Mar 18th, 2009 @ 5:07pm

    Re:

    I'm not sure you are following this story. They are complaining BECAUSE google took it off. They want to have their cake and eat it too, so to speak. They want to dictate to google how much they should be paid, but are unwilling to have google remove the content. It's like a girl scout appearing at your door and demanding you pay $20 for a box of cookies, and then bursting into tears when you say "no thanks." And then holding a press conference to say you have "too much power."

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 6:20pm

    Whining Middle People

    The middle people are getting upset !

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 7:03pm

    Like any good music comes outta the UK anymore. I for one will use youtube even more now that I don't have to wade through all of PRS' garbage.

     

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  25.  
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    Laurent GUERBY, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 12:50am

    Real answer

    I wonder when will google start to instead of removing a page when a DMCA takedown arrives, just replace the page content with a link to similar content from another artist/whatever but with friendler licence or attitude, and having the page also explaining the original owner wasn't cool.

    That could be interesting.

     

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  26.  
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    Graf, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 2:38am

    Two options

    OK The PRS has a history of being stupid. They have sued companies for playing their radios too loud, so others can hear it without a license (since it is a "public" performance).

    So here we have two options:

    1. PRS accept googles offer

    2. PRS do not get their music on anything owned by Google.

    What is hard to accept? What is more damaging to the musician? They get a low income from Google, but their work is seen on what is currently the most popular sites, or they get no income from Google, but their work is not being "ripped off" on some of the currently most popular sites? Whichever one produces the least "damage" is the one they should go for, and stop whining when it isn't the best solution from their perspective - get paid tons by the current most popular site, and that site closes as it cannot make a profit.

     

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  27.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:02am

    Re: Re: Re: am i getting this straight?

    Harold, in this case I have to ask you if you lack all reading comprehension skills.
    What you are arguing Google should do, they have ALREADY done.
    So, you are agreeing with Mike and the rest of us (at least on the part of the article you are addressing here), but you are constantly wording your posts as if we are all somehow wrong.
    Do you even realize what has happened? Or are you just posting blindly?
    Google already said "we do not want to pay those fees, so we are taking down the content". And just like that, they did. The content is gone. You realize this right? I cannot spell it out any clearer and it has already been stated.
    So quit living in the past and saying "Google needs to do this" when they did it a week or more ago and we have seen several articles on it.

    And history is ALREADY telling us which was smarter too. Google doesn't care, they have made their decision. The PRS and others though are STILL whining. Which is the point of the blog posts like this. They whine about people not paying them huge fees, and if they don't pay those huge fees, take down the content. That is EXACTLY what YouTube did. Now they won't shut up about it, and are STILL whining like a bunch of babies even though they got exactly what they wanted. This proves very solidly that Google has the upper hand. So I feel no need to wait any longer to make a decision about who wins here. It is Google. The PRS tried bluffing and they lost. Now they need to shut up.

     

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  28.  
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    Paul, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 9:53am

    The YouTubes of the world need good content to make money long term. The other side of the industry need money too.

    Make whatever puerile rants you want about the quality of PRS' content, but in general, they're in the camp of solid content that's going to generate large audiences and real revenue. The usual amateur hour cat dancing stuff on YouTube is not.

    For now, it's a game of chicken between the likes of YouTube and the content providers to see who blinks first.

    From a PR point of view, in the court of public opinion, Google can sit by because everyone loves free stuff. Google et al would much rather not have to pay for their content, and for now they're happy to wait it out. It's exactly as folks have commented here - give in to us, else nobody's going to see/hear your stuff anyway. So it becomes a game of who has the deepest pockets and can survive longest on their savings.

    It's business, there is no good or evil side.

     

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  29.  
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    mobiGeek, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 11:06am

    Re:

    The YouTubes of the world need good content to make money long term



    But YouTube already has that WITHOUT including any of the "professional" materials. YouTube would survive if you pulled all tv & movie clips.


    With no "professional" stuff to compete against, the current batch of "amateurs" would quickly step up both in quantity and quality. There's an audience looking for material, there are lots and lots of people/organizations willing to provide that material if for no other reason than to have their name associated with that material.


    Realize that smart advertisers today are looking to make content that people *want* to watch. Funny stuff, quirky stuff, serious stuff...whatever gets people's attention. If they are smart, the tie in to their products is obvious, but not intrusive. People will then push that content out to their social networks...but only if it is good.


    Don't believe that PRS/RIAA/MPAA/etc... are the ones who have "good content". And they have a lot of crap content too.

     

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  30.  
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    RD, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 11:29am

    Dear Clueless Brigade

    Wow Weird Harold is way off the plot again. Do you work for the labels? You must be some kind of rep for them to be such a CLUELESS SHILL.

    Let's break this down, so perhaps even YOU can understand it.

    1) youTube has videos on it
    2) PRS comes along and says, "hey! you have our stuff! if you are going to have our stuff, we need to get PAID BOOYA!"
    3) Google says "ok, lets talk. what kind of fee?"
    4) PRS comes back with a fee (pay close attention now) that is HIGHER THAN THE TOTAL PROFIT FOR ALL OF YOUTUBE. ALL. Not just the video parts, not JUST the parts PRS represents, but ALL of EVERYTHING youtube makes.
    5) Google points this out, asks for some leeway.
    6) PRS says "Fsck off mate! Our stuff is worth BANK!"
    7) Google laughs and says "fine, we dont need your stuff, we have lots of other stuff, and your stuff ALONE isnt worth MORE THAN ALL OF OUR OTHER STUFF COMBINED!" and removes all the stuff PRS was bitching about
    8) (Here is where it gets good) PRS comes back WHINING LIKE A JILTED LOVER that what Google has done is "unfair" and they need legislation to "make them keep our stuff on YouTube."
    9) WeirdHarold comes on and claims GOOGLE is wrong and NEEDS to put PRS stuff BACK UP AND PAY UP, because thats what the industry NEEDS and Google shouldnt be allowed to not play ball to the dictates of PRS.

    EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE in the WORLD except YOU and PRS sees how absurd this is. Google was confronted with a business-killing fee, and so COMPLIED with taking the stuff down instead. Please, please tell me you arent THAT big of a industry shill or THAT naive to believe that Google is somehow OBLIGATED to give PRS whatever it wants? Please? Becuase otherwise, the bare thread of faith I have in humanity will just snap, if people simply cannot understand things like this.

     

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  31.  
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    Paul, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:27pm

    "But YouTube already has that WITHOUT including any ..."

    No it doesn't...

    I stand by my comment that this is just one big game of chicken.

    The content side want to hold out for (probably too much) money

    The other side want to divide and conquer by isolating those that don't play by their rules and scare them into going along - because "everyone else does".

    YouTube stand to make more money by getting more big audience generation stuff to drive eyeballs and advertising. For _mass_ market stuff, that's not amateur hour. It serves their interest to get that as cheaply as possible.

    I agree that day to day both sides (particularly the media industry) will do individual things that in isolation make them look dumb. Quite possibly, PRS are being particularly dumb in this case too, but that doesn't change the underlying premise.

    Doesn't much bother me either way, but the obfuscation on both sides is kind of annoying. But then, it's _business_ so they aren't compelled to really tell you what they think.

     

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  32.  
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    skint muso, Apr 15th, 2009 @ 9:40am

    Google ads appear on pirate , P2P, illegal lyric sites etc. so google profits from copyright theft on an ongoing basis.
    Never mind not wanting to pay it way on youtube

    Google is a huge corporation exploiting musicians ( more than labels do) and the music biz.
    You googlebitches out there, seem to support google because either you don't want to pay musicians for what they do, and some of you far worse, want to exploit musicians on music related sites, by cashing in on their skills, whilst saying your promoting them.

    If you've not been asked to promote an artist, by the artist or their reps, then don't kid yourself ,your doing that artist a massive favor.
    Its certainly no excuse for theft.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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