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.

Filed Under: copyright, music, videos
Companies: google, warner music group, youtube


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 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.

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