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...

Filed Under: free, promotion, simon cowell, susan boyle, youtube
Companies: google, youtube

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 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.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.