Simon Cowell's Confusion: YouTube Should Pay; YouTube Helped Sell Millions Of Albums

from the cognitive-dissonance? dept

We were amazed a few months back when a variety of press reports started surfacing after Susan Boyle became famous via a YouTube clip, claiming what a shame it was that no one was monetizing that video. That whole thing seemed preposterous. YouTube provided free software, free hosting and free distribution and turned Susan Boyle into a world famous star, overnight. As we noted at the time, if you can't monetize that in some other manner, you don't belong in business. And, indeed, as tons of folks have reported, Susan Boyle's first album has been a massive top seller -- the best opening week selling album of the year, and the best opening for a "debut" album in sixteen years. And, yes, much of the reason that anyone knows of her existence is because of the clip on YouTube.

But would you believe that people are still complaining about YouTube's role in all of this? Rob points us to an interview with Simon Cowell, who demonstrates stunning cognitive dissonance in both slamming and praising YouTube in two contradictory consecutive sentences:
Cowell also spoke of the popularity of Susan Boyle's Britain's Got Talent audition, which saw her rendition of I Dreamed A Dream viewed 100 million times in its initial days on YouTube - without any kickback for him.

"That will change," he told GQ. Because, eventually, if YouTube are not paying, they're not getting the clip.

"But at the moment I'm very happy to get promotion around the world. She'll sell 10 million albums this year because of YouTube."
So, wait, is he upset or not? Would he have preferred that YouTube had not shown the video which it didn't pay for, and a very small number of people knew of Susan Boyle? Or is he happy that he got free hosting, free software, free bandwidth and free promotional value that helped him sell 10 million of her albums? Maybe he should be paying Google...


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  1.  
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    rw (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 9:32am

    Maybe...

    Maybe he's upset because YouTube did his job for him and he's afraid he's obsolete.

     

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  2.  
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    Brian (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 10:32am

    I think an old fashioned face palm will do in this case

    ............................................________
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    .............................,.-”................................ ...“-.,
    .........................,/...............................................”:,
    ........ .............,?......................................................,
    .................../........ ...................................................,}
    ................./........................... ...........................,:`^`..}
    .............../............................................... ....,:”........./
    ..............?.....__.........................................:`.........../
    ............./__.(.....“~-,_..............................,:`........../
    .........../(_....”~,_ ........“~,_....................,:`........_/
    ..........{.._$;_......”=,_.......“-,_.......,. -~-,},.~”;/....}
    ...........((.....*~_.......”=-._......“;,,./`..../”............../
    ...,, ,___.`~,......“~.,....................`.....}............../
    ............(....`=-,,.......`...... ..................(......;_,,-”
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    .............`~.*-,.....................................|,./.....,__
    ,,_..........}.>-._........ ...........................|..............`=~-,
    .....`=~-,__......`,............................... ..
    ...................`=~-,,.,...............................
    ................................`:,, ...........................`..............__
    .....................................`=-,............. ......,%`>--==``
    ........................................_..........._,-%.......`
    ............. ......................,

     

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  3.  
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    Brendan (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 10:47am

    Maybe he should pay Google

    I like this plan.

    Once a video with corporate backing hits a certain viewership count or rate, YT can start demand money, or it will block users from seeing the content. We'll see how they like that.

    Disclaimer: This is probably a terrible idea. Both parties are better off just taking the mutual benefits without money directly changing hands. Can't we all just get along(tail)?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 10:53am

    You got the headline wrong

    The headline ought to read Simon Cowell's Dilemma: YouTube Should Be Paid; YouTube Helped Sell Millions Of Albums

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 11:00am

    If YouTube didn't steal Simon Cowell's personal property then I guess we wouldn't be having this conversation, now, would we?

    We are raising a generation of thieves! A society of stealers! A cabal of copyright infringers, wait, that one doesn't have the same moral heft as the other two.

     

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  6.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 11:15am

    Re:

    The main problem with this site is you can never really tell when someone is writing what should be obvious satire or when someone believes he's writing the absolute truth.

    I'm leaning towards satire with this one...

     

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  7.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 11:17am

    Re:

    yep, if we ignore the fact that millions of people bought an album, we are all terrible, terrible thieves. Yes, even you who did not see the video or heard of Simon Cowell.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 11:20am

    I don't think there is any better argument for copyright reform than what Simon Cowell pointed out here.

    Simon indirectly shows the application of the double standard being applied towards copyright between these interests. It's quite simple: We won't enforce copyright until it's no longer a hot item and we take our marketing people elsewhere. When we stop devoting marketing dollars, then by golly, someone's rights are being infringed and we will enforce our copyright.

    You need to understand that the Marketing People often have rights to create buzz and chatter, and if they get a hot lead like Suzanne Boyle, they may also claim such organic success as a result of their own effort and not willing to really admit that it's buzz from the very onset was quite organic in nature.

    When the marketing budget is exhausted, and people continue to talk about it, by gum, that's an infringement of someone's copyrights, and someone has to pay for facilitating this free advertisement.

    Perhaps the problem is that Simon hasn't paid into a marketing budget to promote Suzanne Boyle yet is paying hand-over-fist to the same or similar marketing company that made Suzanne Boyle famous expecting similar results. Thusly, someone has to pay handsomely for these rights.

    But that's really not it, because it's not an organic strategy. It's the old Cart-before-the-horse problem.

     

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  9.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    I've said it before, but in today's legal climate, radio never would have stood a chance.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    You know what the problem is? Youtube is free. Apparently the issues with understanding free in a business model is tough from both side.

    If Youtube had just been charging all of these years, no one would suggest that they need to pay anyone for the use of the clip, someone would have been paying them for distribution. You know like how I constantly see American Idol clips on TV in an attempt to get me to watch the show.

    There's absolutely no flaw in this plan, other than the issue with no one visiting youtube.

     

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  11.  
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    Yano (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 11:23am

    as if Simon Cowell needs the money, this attitude of embracing the free publicity then wanting to charge for the clip use is nauseating. fucking cunts want tollbooths around everything.

     

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  12.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 11:52am

    Re:

    "You know what the problem is? Youtube is free..."

    The same thing could have been said about radio. But yet, no one complained about radio being free or getting a free ride back when Elvis, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones were selling millions of albums based upon their radio play.

     

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  13.  
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    interval, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

    Re:

    "Wow." I think of the time you put into creating that and can only think "Wow."

     

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  14.  
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    interval, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually, radio caused a stink back in the day with phonograph and sheet music publishers.

     

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  15.  
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    bubba, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re:

    right, the industry embraced radio, then raped it like asex-offender step uncle, and left it the hollow wasted useless driveling shell it is today.

     

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  16.  
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    John Doe, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:16pm

    He knew what he was saying...

    Just like RIAA, the MPAA and all the others like them; Simon knew what he was saying. They actually do want it both ways. They want publicity to sell movies/albums/whatever, but they want you to pay them for the privilege of providing that publicity. Simon, even with all his money, could never have paid for enough advertising to equal what YouTube did for him, but that doesn't stop him from wanting paid on both sides.

     

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  17.  
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    interval, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re:

    Except for the fact that he's bazillionaire, Simon Cowell is an ass clown.

     

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  18.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re:

    Your astonishment is misdirected - unless by some odd chance it was Brian who kicked off this particular meme.

    http://www.facepalm.com/page/Ascii-Facepalms.aspx

     

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  19.  
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    DaveL (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:27pm

    wait...

    Well... another way to interpret what he said might be in order...

    I think he realized that YouTube made money (page hits = $$ ) off the Susan Boyle video as well and that in the future, he might find a way to monetize that by making YouTube (or something similar) pay him for that. But as it is now, he's glad to let YouTube promote his upcoming talent.

     

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  20.  
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    John Duncan Yoyo (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:28pm

    Perhaps Simon didn't want to make money

    Obviously Simon is an altruist and never wanted to exploit the poor woman. He was forced to do so by the demand generated by youtube. Youtube forced him to sell millions of CDs and he hates the carbon foot print it forced him into.

     

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  21.  
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    iamtheky (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:28pm

    I think he was just speculating that in the future large television stations would want a kickback from the site, but until then hes happy getting the extra millions of views.

    I dont see anywhere where he says "I want them to pay" or an opinion in the least on the current state. Just speculation that in the future someone will successfully force youtube to pay for clips.

     

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  22.  
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    Anon, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:32pm

    If it had not been for a link to the youtube video in an email I would have never heard of Susan. I don't like the shows that Simon produces and never watch them..

    So Simon should be thankful for the free exposure, reap the benefits of the album, dvd, tour, sales and move on... honestly without the youtube exposure I am willing to bet that when ever Susan performed on the show there were increased viewers as well.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:34pm

    I dont see any conflict

    She was a virtual unknown and youtube helped her become famous (it was a mutually beneficial deal). Now she is famous and she doesnt want to be on youtube anymore. Where is the conflict?

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:57pm

    I think he is stating the obvious: No matter how much good youtube did for Susan Boyle, it also did good for YouTube and Google (ad sales, exposure, etc). If You Tube wants to use a copyrighted clip, they need to pay. It's a pretty simple thing.

    It doesn't matter the "good" that is done, if the "good" isn't wanted, then they don't have the right to do it.

     

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  25.  
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    Tyanna, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:20pm

    Re:

    This is pretty much a win in my book.

     

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  26.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I have no doubt that sheet music publishers and song writers were upset. That's why they get paid for radio play.

    But I've never heard that the seller of phonographs, i.e., the music labels, complaining about airplay. There's this thing called payola. Despite what you may have heard, it did not start in the 50s. For as long as music was played on the radio, the people selling the music were willing to pay for the play.

     

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  27.  
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    Tyanna, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:41pm

    Re: wait...

    But that in itself isn't correct. YouTube may have made money off of all the hits and adds that they displayed. But in the end, Simon or the Britain's Got Talent show would never have been able to promote their show or the contests as much as that one clip did. They got FREE advertising.

    I saw that video and after watching it I saw other videos from the show and watched them. I payed attention to the results of the show. I sent the link to my friends and family. Hell, I'm buying my mom her CD for Christmas b/c she loved that clip so much.

    I'm Canadian, and had it not been for that clip they wouldn't have gotten a record sale from me b/c I would have no idea who Susan Boyle is. How many of the sales has Simon received b/c of this YouTube clip? I'm sure I'm not the only one!

    At the end of the day, he needs to ask himself if the free advertising he received from YouTube (or anywhere else) helped him sell more records, and if he could have paid for that type of advertisement with the same results. And the answer, in this case, is no. He reached a much larger audience because of YouTube, and in my opinion, shouldn't be looking at the proverbial gift horse in the mouth.

     

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  28.  
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    Jeff, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:42pm

    For goodness sakes...

    Will you people get it right? It's Simon Cowbell.



    Oh, and he knows nothing of the internet.

     

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  29.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:44pm

    The problem is obvious: it's not that the "big fish" are afraid they're not making enough money, it's that they're appalled that someone ELSE is making money. It's not my happiness what matters, but how unhappy everyone is compared to me.

    Same thing applies to all this entitlement culture: someone else is making money, we must stop that. No matter if they're actually helping US make money also, the trick is to win the money ourselves and prevent their enrichment at the same time.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:47pm

    Re:

    Then the copyright owners should have had the Susan Boyle clip removed.

     

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  31.  
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    interval, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah yeah, I get it. It just looks like crap on my monitor. Interestingly enough the originals look great on same.

     

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  32.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Climate

    > I've said it before, but in today's legal climate, radio never would
    > have stood a chance.

    Neither would the automobile. The BIAA (Blacksmithing Industry Association of America) would have lobbied their congressmen to pass protectionist laws banning the automobile because it would destroy the market for horseshoes and buggy whips.

     

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  33.  
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    DocMenach (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 3:19pm

    Youtube has a procedure...

    Youtube has a very simple procedure where a copyright holder can request a video be taken down, and YouTube is very quick about taking down clips after receiving a request. Since the copyright holder in question did nothing to remove the video, it must be assumed that they approved of it being there.

    And in response to the AC comment: "No matter how much good youtube did for Susan Boyle, it also did good for YouTube and Google (ad sales, exposure, etc). If You Tube wants to use a copyrighted clip, they need to pay. It's a pretty simple thing.

    You once again fail. There is nothing that says copyrighted clips must be paid for. All that is needed is credit and permission. The law says nothing about a "need to pay".
    P.S. I find it quite amusing that in one comment you used YoutTube three times and managed to spell it three different ways.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 6:45pm

    Blank Slate

    All these comments and nobody remembers that YouTube is not providing the content but provides the platform for the content? They are the blank book that the users write on.

     

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  35.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 7:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's not a matter of monitors it's a matter of the font, which is different in each case. I didn't realize your initial comment was intended as a jibe, though - I was just letting you know that the ASCII facepalm was an existing thing.

     

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  36.  
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    Ima Shrimp, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 9:22pm

    Re:

    Why?

    Radio pays fees to use music, they don't get it for free. There isn't even the slightest whiff of logic to your statement.

     

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  37.  
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    DocMenach's Ugly Utube, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 9:26pm

    Re: Youtube has a procedure...

    Doc, please.

    YouTube is like any other user of music or copyrighted material, they are obliged to pay a usage fee. Many people waive that usage fee by uploading in a sort of creative commons or copyleft way, although most of them are infringing on someone else's work when they do it.

    It is still an ongoing process, but the basics are there: If you want to use copyrighted material, you have to pay for the rights. What that cost is, well, that is subject to negotiation. But nobody gets a free ride, unless the right holders decide so.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 25th, 2009 @ 1:08am

    I just bought the CD from Amazon as an MP3 download. If it wasn't for YouTube, the talk radio host I listen to on the way to work in the morning never would have seen the video, raved about it, and talked about Susan Boyle's personal story. His enthusiasm was what made me go to YouTube to look at the video. The host also played the audio of the YouTube video on the radio, and I'm not sure if that was legal or not, but hearing the audio convinced me this was music I wanted to buy.

     

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


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