YouTube Removing Sound From Music Videos Rather Than Takedowns?

from the hurray-for-bad-user-experiences dept

Damon writes in to point out what seems like a strange decision on YouTube’s part. In response to at least some complaints from record labels concerning music videos, rather than take down the whole video, as was done in the past, apparently it’s just removing the sound, leaving odd, slightly creepy, soundless videos. The end result? Annoyed and confused users having a bad experience. Update: So it turns out that YouTube gives users the option of muting the sound or having the whole video removed. Still seems like an odd way to handle the issue.

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Comments on “YouTube Removing Sound From Music Videos Rather Than Takedowns?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t think that this tactic is really a problem. I found myself watching a video with no sound…did I get annoyed with YouTube? No, I like most others know that their hands are being tied by other mean spirited companies. At least I could use the comments to find a link to an external video of the same content WITH sound. Wow way to go media companies! I sympathise with YouTube, am pissed at you, and I still get to watch my video with sound…is this really working for you?

Washii says:

Re: Re:

>I don’t think that this tactic is really a problem. I found myself watching a video with no sound…did I get annoyed with YouTube?

Do you really expect the average user to figure out YouTube did this because of the record labels, rather than thinking that their computer was broken? Or another dozen other reasons?

I fix computers for a living for the Average Joe. Oh Lordy would they believe their computer was infected. I’m getting out of this hell-hole as fast as I can.

Kurt says:

The issue still comes back to either 1) the inclusion of music on internet non-commercial videos is fair use 2) the recording industry needs to provide a reasonable licening structure and price for licensing the music for this usage.

Have you ever tried to license music for a home video to play on youtube or another site legally? You have three options. Do not license anything. License a song that no one has ever heard of from a royalty free site (99% do not contain lyrics) for $25 to $100. Or, license a known song from your favorite band from one of the few sites that provide these terms for rates starting at $1000. Those are not reasonable.

Rob (profile) says:

You can’t blame YouTube for any of this, you CAN blame the record hounds that have chewed down to the bone to the point where YouTube has no real options left. It may be stupid to remove the sound, but Techdirt writers aren’t facing millions in potential lawsuits for stuff that other people do on a day to day basis.

As for the Guitar Lesson scenario, at least most bands and record executives have realized that going after those teaching people to play is a little over the top. I mean even Lars Ulrich made a video saying how awesome it was that some little kid was playing the solo to One on YouTube (In basketball we call this a make up call, in real life we just point out that Ulrich was a jackass in the first place).

joe nobody says:

Re: Re:

it’s not the recording artist, or even the record label….it’s the RIAA…yea you know the bastards that tried to ban the radio from playing copyrighted music saying it damaged profits; the same fascist pigs that said the artist that created the songs were not important and that it was the RIAA that was needed to govern them; yea those guys…they are going to all the community sites that allow for uploading videos and threatening a law suit….a lawsuit that all the websites would WIN if they all had a pair of balls due to the RIAA’s attempts at monopolizing the market. So you CAN blame youtube

Voice of Reason says:

A very good strategy

Having seen a couple of neutered videos now, It’s obvious that this is an excellent strategy. We collectively, must stop these pirates at every turn.

I propose that each and every one of us be vigilant about infringing YouTube videos and report any that you find back to the RIAA or MPAA so that these Authorities can take the appropriate action.

Not allowing the punter to hear your music is an excellent way to promote it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: A very good strategy

really? our freaking video of us dancing at our wedding was muted!!!! how did we infringe on anyone?? we haven’t used it for pesonal gain or marketing… it’s just us in our wedding!!! and yet there are thousands of other wedding videos that remain with sound! and ours wasn’t even professionaly made… it was just a clip from a guests personal pont and shoot camera.

tim says:

are they completely daft?

I really dont understand this. Youtube is designed in such a way that it is at least difficult for the average users to copy the stream, so the record companies cant be missing out on sales from people just yoinking their songs out of the stream. This is just free publicity and advertising for the songs. a huge percentage of the videos I watch have credits for the music in them too. And how often do we see in the comments someone saying “Man, I loved that song! Who’s it by?”..
BAM! New customer, right there.

ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Re: Actually, they offer another solution

What was the music they offered to replace it with?

I’d love to see indie bands step up and offer their music as “hassle-free replacement music.” Youtube could start a high-profile program designed to keep your videos RIAA-free. “I’m sorry, that band is signed to Warner, who eat all the dicks. Perhaps you’d like to replace it with this band from CD Baby?”

mike allen says:

Re: Re: Actually, they offer another solution

I just took a look at their list of artists not heard of any of them i cant see a button to listen to the music before adding. I am not saying that the artists they use are no good but to me the sog needs in some way tobe connected to the images on the screen for example a video of say motorcycle racing with say born to be ild steppenwolf.

Zaphod (user link) says:

When my video got suspended...

When my video got suspended for infringing music…

Even though it was off an album entitled “Harley-Davidson Songs of the Road”, and the fact H-D in order for these washed-up artists to promote using their name, demanded that dealerships would be allowed to use the music in promotions, and the fact this video was one I made while working at an H-D Dealership, and branded with the dealer’s logo…

I just said “F’ that!” and removed the content. Maybe if more people start just dropping content, these washed up artists like the “Doobie Brothers” would realize their exposure is suffering, and pull back their dogs.

Maybe Google should just get a blanket ASCAP license for content, and tell RIAA to beat it.

anymouse says:

follow the Music

This is another shot at some of those music aggregator sites out there, where you put in the songs you want to ‘mix’ and the site uses various websites (like youtube) to find the songs and create the mix. Now when it finds the song (from the related video) it comes back with nothing.

So they are getting a two-fer, they can piss off youtube viewers, and piss on the ‘mix’ sites that were using sites like youtube to gather ‘freely available’ music off the net.

Zaphod (user link) says:

I found a kind of solution...

I just won’t use RIAA tunes anymore. I decided I can get all I want from the .MOD archive, use VLC to convert it to a stream for the video editor, and have semi-decent music, with no annoying lyrics. Gonna repost video, minus annoying RIAA washups. for the content. Use VLC from to convert to .wav , and then you have all the royalty free tunes you could want for a backdrop to your video! 😀

Charming Charlie says:

I'm surprised by Techdirt's response

When I heard this news I quickly came to Techdirt to see what the experts thought. I am surprised to see a short post with only 22 comments. Is this not a big deal? Youtube, the biggest video site in the world, with thousands of videos uploaded daily, silencing videos that violate fair use? Don’t half of the videos on there violate fair use in the eyes of record labels? Could this be the beggining of the end for Youtube? Isn’t this the same thing as record companies shutting down Napster and instead decentralizing piracy to p2p networks and bitorrent search engines, instead now people will just move from video site to video site, one getting shut down and another two popping up the same day?

There were a few ways I anticipated Mike might take this news, but instead we just “what a strange decision!”

Me says:

This is just stupid. Don’t these record companies realise that YouTube is actually increasing sales? Half the bands I like I have only even heard of because of Youtube.
For example, there is a Malice Mizer album that I am seriously considering buying regardless of the price. This band come from the other side of the world to me, get no publicity at all in the UK, and went on hiatus when I was 8. If it wasn’t for Youtube, I wouldn’t even know they ever existed. At the moment I think their videos are fine, but if they aren’t then it’s a good example of how ridiculous this is.

I hate how record companies are short-sighted like this. They can’t understand for the life of them how actual people buy music, and don’t want to. They probably wonder why people can’t just get permission before they stick videos up. Of course, the fact that most people can’t afford two week’s wages to pay for the permission probably doesn’t really register with them.

Does anyone know which particular companies have thrown a strop about vids on YouTube? It can’t be all of them, surely?

Kim says:

This Sucks

I have a lot of old school music as my favorites on the tube. Even those are being taken off or sound is being muted, why I ask? Where else am I going to see a performance of the band Switch from back in the day? Until these videos are sold on DVD for me to purchase then I don’t see the point. My favorite videos have been cut down drastically and

Sophie says:


Okay, first of all this is annoying. Already half of the videos in my playlists and in my favorites are mute! I can’t stand this, I’ll wait for YT try to make it better, but sooner or later I’m going to have to give up on YT and move on to a better site. YT is going down the toilet and to get out of that it’ll have to stop deleting/muting videos.


Anonymous Coward says:

I spent hours on a music video i made and put it on youtube after waitin an hour of uploading. Next i know the whole video is removed because of the sound! I try and try again….and it doesnt work. I finally get a version of it up, but the quality and sound has weird glitches/beeps making the whole thing look crappy. In the first 5 minutes i got 5 stars, a favorite, and a comment from somebody. I removed it due to the crappiness of the sound…I wonder how many views i would get if the video actually worked!

Jyn (user link) says:

This isn't just for music videos

This also applies to HOME videos with music on them.

How is anyone supposed to add music and ambiance to our videos without having to worry about this? I’m not talking about uploading a recorded music video- Im talking a home made video say- on your child’s first steps, etc.

Adding some emotional music to it that gives it that ‘something’, makes it more than a home video. Can you imagine watching Star Wars without it’s music? It’s pretty much like that. Seems like a waste of time and money for people to concentrate on going after individuals adding good tunes to a home video rather than just after the people uploading music videos and TV shows.

AJ (user link) says:

You Tube - video music

So can someone please explain this from You Tubes own webpage:

”There are limitations to copyright. It does not, for example, generally protect ideas or facts. In addition, there are some uses of copyright protected materials are authorized by law. This means, for example, that the copyright owner’s permission is not required to use their work in a video.”

Tony says:

Too Much Hassle

Youtube used to be a simple way to share a little video that you compiled and set to music. Since they have been blocking the audio I just yanked ALL my videos off. What really makes no sense to me is that they allow the studio to post the actual music video WITH the exact same music but Joe Blow can’t post a little clip of their own with that exact same music. I mean really…Is this not ridiculious? I can search youtube for EVERY song out there and watch and listen to it. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I am about ready to go back to downloading songs illegally just because I get the impression that my video is just not good enough for THEIR music. They are making more money than ever since they embraced music downloading but it’s just not enough for them. I say screw them.

usinkorea says:


Yes. Youtube sucks now.

I could understand bowing down to the corporate gods over the uploading of entire music videos or TV shows or movies.

But, now that Youtube has gone corporate itself, and joined with a behemoth like google, it is showing the same kind of contempt for the individual that you should expect from a bunch of money-grubbing suits – when before, it became so popular as a source of empowerment.

Now, I can’t get a 5 minute advocacy video up because I use snippets from copyrighted songs.

I lost a dozen advocacy videos that were highly edited — using as primary sources videos I took off of Youtube itself that were nothing but wholesale uploads of documentaries or TV news items – not uploaded by the copyright holder. I lose my account and all that hardwork but the account that has 6 10-minute uploads of a whole documentary I took a part of remains….Thanks, craptube…

Any Youtube can point to the copyright holders and say it isn’t their fault….Fine. I’ll go elsewhere that doesn’t have such a cozy relationship with corporations — corporations who are enforcing copyright law — not because users are making a profit off the corporation’s own sweat and blood (or the sweat and blood of artists they own) — no — they are enforcing copyright because they are pissed off they haven’t figured out a way to make a buck off the sweat and blood of novice video editors.

Greed. Corporate greed and the flexing of corporate power.

Snowdove says:

Ridiculous - YouTube removing audio

It’s absolutely ridiculous how far the music industry and YouTube have gone with this. WHY can’t we add a sound track to our videos?? As long as we aren’t selling it, WHY can’t we? If I bought a CD, I could rip it, easily copy it and GIVE it to a friend. It’s only illegal if I sell it. So all this digital music that we buy has restrictions that buying hard copy does not. It’s NOT fair and it’s RETARDED.

Ryan Gunwitch-Black says:

Youtube and covers/mash-ups

A fan posted some video of me performing a cover where I do a mash-up of Concrete Blonde’s “Bloodletting” and Marilyn Manson’s “Dopehat” and it has been changed enough to fall under the Fair Use clause in a copyright agreement but Youtube took the audio out. I changed the chords and the arrangement is completely different from either of the originals. Youtube and the record companies are going a little far with this.

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