A bunch of folks have sent in the latest PR attempt by some musicians in the recording industry to force Google to pay unsustainable rates to keep their music on YouTube. Pete Waterman, who apparently co-wrote the Rick Astley "Rick Roll" song Never Gonna Give You Up
has come out saying that Google "exploited" him, because he earned a grand total of £11
last year, even while the video was a hit on YouTube.
There are probably more details here, because no one actually says how much Google paid overall. For example, part of the problem may simply be the deal that Waterman himself
signed concerning his royalties. But, more to the point, it's not Google that's doing any exploiting at all. Here's the simple logic process to run through (which Waterman and all the folks supporting this PR stunt failed to do):
- How much attention did Waterman's song get last year thanks to YouTube?
- Fine, take away YouTube. How much attention would Waterman and his song have received last year
Yup. No one would be talking about Waterman or his song at all
in the absence of YouTube and the rickrolling phenomenon. The only "exploiting" being done is now, by Waterman, because he got totally lucky
in that a bunch of internet jokesters happened to pick his song (mainly for how bad
it is) to use as part of an internet joke. He deserves to get paid for that? It could have just as easily been any other ridiculous pop hit in the 80s. And, if it had been, then no one would be talking or caring about Waterman at all.
Furthermore, it was never YouTube
making use of the music, but it was all these people on the internet, adopting the meme. YouTube was just the platform they used for it. So, no, Waterman wasn't exploited by YouTube in the slightest, though he seems to have no trouble at all trying to exploit the fact that he got lucky and whine about it -- even though it's the only reason his name is now in the news again.