Warner Music Taking Its Music Off YouTube And Going Home

from the still-not-getting-it dept

Warner Music desperately wants people to believe that it's not the evil record label that people make it out to be, but it's going to have a very difficult time proving that's true when it keeps doing strategically braindead things like pulling all its music off of YouTube because it's upset Google won't pay more money. This is classic Warner Music. The company almost always overvalues its music, compared to the services that help promote that music, and is always demanding a larger cut. Last summer, it did a similar thing and pulled its music off of Last.fm. With plenty of other startups, the company has a history of suing until they agree to cough up a huge chunk of equity. This, of course, is the same company whose boss, Edgar Bronfman Jr. just a year ago declared that the industry had made a mistake in going to war against consumers, ignoring the fact that it was his own speech back in 2000 that basically kicked off that war.

To be honest, Warner Music should be hugely thankful that Google is paying the company anything for music on YouTube. Legally, Google has no reason to pay a dime. Thanks to the DMCA safe harbor provisions, if Warner wants to go after anyone, it should be going after those who upload the videos, but Google worked out a totally unnecessary (and somewhat questionable) deal to pay the labels for a promise not to sue users. However, it looks like Warner Music is getting excessively greedy again. Perhaps it's the recent reports that Warner's larger competitor, Universal Music is bringing in significant cash from YouTube that got Bronfman and crew angry, but it's doing exactly the wrong thing in pulling its videos.

Pulling the videos off of YouTube doesn't punish Google. It punishes fans: the folks who Warner desperately needs on its side, though it's been failing at that for a long, long time. Google's response should be "good riddance." Let's see how Warner Music copes with angry musicians who want fans to promote their music on YouTube, while seeing plenty of other bands build up larger audiences that way.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Rich Apps Consulting, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 4:27am


    I don't think that youtube new strategy of selling branded music on site would really work ...

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

  2. identicon
    Daniel B., Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 5:03am

    Pulling the videos off of YouTube doesn't punish Google. It punishes fans
    I would argue that anything that makes it harder for fans to post on youtube punishes Google as well, especially in the long run.

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

  3. identicon
    Dave, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 5:10am

    here's a fix

    Why doesn't Google just start it's own label. Sign some bands, and let people put the videos and music up with no worries. I'm sure they would give the bands a bigger cut and probably make more money.

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

  4. identicon
    Heywood, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 5:22am

    Re: here's a fix

    Being a record label is so far away from Google's core business that it isn't even worth mentioning.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 5:28am

    Not Really

    Didn't Google make a phone? Not sure that music label is such a stretch.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 5:41am

    Google wouldn't let Warner sell t-shirts on youtube. It is the only way to make music valuable you know.

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

  7. identicon
    :Lobo Santo, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 6:42am


    Wet t-shirts on youtube? That'd be a video worth watching! If you find the link to some hot chicas in wet shirts with some kickin' classic rock in the background, post it here for everybody!! :P

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re:

    And then sell the actual t-shirts on youtube. See that is valid revenue stream.

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

  9. identicon
    Griper, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 7:24am

    Warner Music doesn't need fans, they just need a couple companies to sue. See, they're changing their business model. They're turning into patent trolls.

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

  10. identicon
    steveaustin1971, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 7:46am

    No loss

    None of the major labels have anything innovative to offer anyway, let them take their pitiful bands.

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

  11. identicon
    Heywood, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 7:48am

    Re: Not Really

    No, they didn't. They made an OS for phones. And the reason they made that OS is to make it easier for them to provide their existing services to phone users. Being a record label is a very big stretch.

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

  12. identicon
    IMHO, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re: here's a fix

    I think it is worth mentioning and seriously considering. Once upone a time, iTunes wasn't Apples core business, and whether you like their service or not, it's clearly been successful for them. Look at the way Google, Garmin and Apple are branching out into cell phones. They have some interesting products that are shaking the industry. The music industry badly needs a change to their business model. These kind of paradigm shifts are unlikely to come from within the industry, but it's exactly the kind of thing Google could do.

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

  13. identicon
    Overcast, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 8:47am

    Being a record label is so far away from Google's core business that it isn't even worth mentioning.

    Perhaps - but I think it might be hard to find someone who could do it WORSE than the current players out there.

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

  14. identicon
    ahhh, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 8:51am

    no missed

    By Warner.... you wont be missed! Take all your shity music off you tube, if by chance you do produce good music, ill find it on TPB... thanks Warner.

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

  15. identicon
    SteveD, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 8:51am

    The bosses at Warner are still desperately fighting the media battles of the 20th century; the battle for control of distribution.

    They haven't realised just how little such fights matter to the consumer.

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

  16. identicon
    Andrew Bell, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 9:08am

    Re: Not Really

    I agree that Google should look into opening a record label, and my retort to the comment "Its so far from their core business to even be mentionable" Google has grown to the size that it is today by being diverse. Multiple streams of income are always good for businesses, and besides, they could get into a lot riskier business.

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

  17. identicon
    mike Allen, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 9:13am


    Until you are one of the customers that get sued or have your video removed. that would certainly piss me off either way. im off to a bay for pirates.

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

  18. identicon
    Lucretious, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 9:25am

    OH NOES, where will I get my Madonna video fix from??

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

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 9:41am

    Google could offer a great opportunity for distribution, but Apple could be better positioned as a label. Here's a hypothetical from a product marketing perspective:

    Apple could hire a few tech-savvy A&R reps that would go to each market on a quarterly basis to teach free workshops in iMovie, Garageband, perhaps even Avid and Protools. Apple's business goal would be to enhance the entire Apple Ecosystem, by assisting in tools/techniques for production-quality content distributed on the iTunes and Youtube Platforms. Perhaps recommend B&H for renting filming equipment, or whatnot.

    But in this hypothetical, they could also scout out talent and/or financing for a major label. Much of music is NY/LA/Memphis based, and an idea such as this opens up for better scouting.

    But considering that MTV doesn't show music videos anymore, the consumption needs to replaced with a different platform to justify production costs. Using music videos as a promotional tool online would be nice. Youtube has the audience, and I don't understand Warner's logic.

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

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 5:22pm

    Observations on New Music

    Warner’s announcement strikes a particular chord with me. Over the past few months, my 13 year old daughter and her friends have ‘discovered’ music in a big way, and it has been interesting to see how that works with her generation. First, and most important to Warner’s announcement, is how they find and listen to music. They don’t use music sites. My daughter has no MP3s on her laptop. They don’t listen to the radio at all! All of the music they find and listen to is from YouTube. If they want to listen to music on their computers, they just click on a YouTube link.

    My daughter finally saved enough money to buy herself a Creative Zen. Now, when she likes something from YouTube enough, we will buy the MP3 from Amazon. But, even after putting the MP3s on her Zen, she uses YouTube as her music player on her PC. (This also speaks to the ubiquitousness of good internet connectivity, but that is another discussion.)

    There are several points here that the labels had better catch on to, or they will lose this (and future) generations completely:
    - She NEVER goes into record stores (why do we still call them record stores?) and has NO interest in buying CDs.
    - What radio stations are playing simply is irrelevant. Radio has no place in how they experience music.
    - If the music is not on YouTube, her group of friends will never be exposed to it nor be interested in it. From my point of view, YouTube has replaced the function that radio played with my generation (at least with my daughter and her friends).
    - The video is as important to them as the music.

    These are the future music buyers, and as far as I can tell, the record companies are not meeting their needs at all. The future will be interesting to watch.

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

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Observations on New Music

    Very insightful post, thank you. I see this shift to digital content distribution as being a bigger problem for the music industry than any previous media change has been; records, 8-tracks, audio cassettes, CDs... all had something physical to sell to the user who wanted to own it so they could take it with them. Music fans today have alot less interest in owning; they just want the content delivered on demand and in a way that lets them socially experience it.

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

  22. identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 23rd, 2008 @ 1:16pm

    Amusing Quote

    From the 2000 Bronfman speech:

    What would the Internet be without "content?" It would be a valueless collection of silent machines with gray screens. It would be the electronic equivalent of a marine desert - lovely elements, nice colors, no life. It would be nothing.

    The main challenge for you in continuing the growth of the Internet at this time is not taxation; it is not government regulation; it is not in any way technical. It is, rather, to manage, preserve and protect the sun around which all these planets make their stately circles.

    That sun is not an operating system or even the greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts Internet itself: It is the content, without which the Internet would die in a day.

    Completely missing the point, that the Internet is built, not on content, but on connectivity. What drew people to the Internet--and led them to abandon the proprietary alternatives like CompuServe, the original AOL, and the original MSN--was that it let them connect to all the other people also going on the Internet. The "premium content" that the proprietary services tried to offer was never enough to offset this. In the end those services could not get the Internet to come to them, they had to go to the Internet.

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

  23. identicon
    Ben, Dec 24th, 2008 @ 9:00am


    This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.
    I listen to a lot of my music on youtube and then for the most part if I really like the artist I might buy their CD and support them. But if they have absolutely no videos on you tube I probably won't even bother. I don't understand what Warner Music could possibly accomplish by this. Why does it hurt to have people listen to music by artists under their label? Wouldn't it be better to have their videos on you tube?

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

  24. identicon
    Nightmike, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Re: Observations on New Music

    I totally take your side on this, despite the fact that I'm an individual who use to purchase plenty of tapes and cds back in the day, meaning the 1990s, and would still get cds today, YouTube has definitely provided a huge volume of new music experience and helps as a modern radio to the newer generations and the record labels have to finally prepare to live with that fact...taking the music/videos off YouTube is a huge mistake and would only further the hatred people now have towards the labels; Cheers!

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

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 9:06am

    monkeys like kfc chicken very good

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

  26. identicon
    chels, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 7:38pm

    seriously? seriously.
    come on people. i am SO sick of money hungry companies like warner. you know, these companies DEPEND on the consumers. we as fans can really turn them around. make THEM cater to us. we're buying into their companies aren't we? it just takes a very large group effort, and maybe some media coverage. these little things need to stop, because they will amount to something huge in the long run.

    i just wish that we could come together and cry out against these atrocities instead of painfully watch them slide by.

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

  27. icon
    sprearson81 (profile), Jun 9th, 2012 @ 6:26am

    Warner sucks major style. I'm happy when they do this kind of thing as it just highlights the idiocy.

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

  28. icon
    fodder99 (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re:

    warner may not be too clever, but youtube hacks me off because of all the ads on the tunes nowadays !

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

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