Record Labels Learning They Have Little Leverage On YouTube
from the well,-look-at-that... dept
Over the weekend, the story made the rounds about Warner Music’s dispute with Google over getting money from YouTube videos. As we discussed in our post on the topic, it seemed like Warner had very little leverage here: Google has no legal responsibility to pay anything, and removing the videos from YouTube seemed a lot more likely to harm Warner Music and its artists than Google. As noted by some folks, for many kids these days, YouTube is how they find and listen to music these days. Forcing your songs off YouTube would be like demanding their removal from the radio twenty years ago.
Yet, more details are coming out on this story, and it appears that both Warner Music and Google may recognize Warner Music’s precarious position here. In fact, it appears that it wasn’t Warner Music that demanded its music be taken down. Instead, reports are coming out saying that Warner instead went to Google with higher monetary demands, and it was Google’s response to start pulling the music down, to demonstrate to Warner Music that YouTube is a lot more valuable to Warner Music than Warner Music is to YouTube (a lesson that Warner Music execs desperately need to learn).
Warner Music’s response, apparently, has been to try to pretend it has some leverage, supposedly leaking a somewhat questionable story that it, and other major record labels, are preparing to launch a “Hulu for music.” However, as Greg Sandoval notes in the News.com link in the paragraph above, this seems like little more than idle speculation by the labels. They had talked about this months ago, and have done nothing since. Instead, it was a bluff by the record labels in a weak attempt to convince Google that it needs to play ball or face competition. Google is likely to call the bluff — because Google still recognizes what the record labels seem to have trouble recognizing. The power of YouTube isn’t in having a site that plays videos, it’s in the audience — and you don’t recreate that overnight.