Songwriter Claims He Was Exploited By Google... But A Few Seconds Of Logical Thinking Disproves That

from the ok,-let's-work-this-through dept

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.

Filed Under: exploit, pete waterman, rickroll, videos
Companies: google


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  1. identicon
    Todd, 10 Apr 2009 @ 11:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    This is not really for the troll above, but in case anyone else has similar real questions.


    Obviously he'll market it to those that like it. Those that don't like it or are not aware of it won't give him any of their money. Duh. Consider a few points.

    1) I doubt 8 billion people will have seen the movie for "free". If it's good, many might here the buzz about it and pay to watch it in a theater. Those that saw it for "free" might want to see it again in a nice theater with their friends. The theater is selling the experience rather than controlling the view.

    2) Those that like it might actually be willing to pay for a DVD with bonus material or a collectors edition sold with a behind the scenes coffee table book, etc.

    3)License it to TV networks, cable companies, Hulu, etc and either get flat licensing fees or revenue sharing. Just because you make it freely available doesn't mean that others won't pay to associate themselves with the successful movie.

    4) If someone wants to give him $1000 for a round of mini-golf then sure, he could take it if he wanted. What you are really referring to though is access to him and his time. Maybe a lunch and some mentoring might be worth that.

    5) Since you are clearly not a hypocrite, I'm confident you've never ever, not even once bought water have you? That is essentially an infinite resource.

    Using what's freely available to sell something scarce is just plain smart. It's those like you that can't see past a direct sell per view that are short-sighted.

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