Back at Midem, Feargal Sharkey, former singer for the Undertones, and now the head of a lobbying group called UK Music, trashed
outsider "utopians" who spout "wild rhetoric and innuendo," when all he really wanted was for others (such as ISPs) to be forced to cough up money to simply hand over to the music industry. That plan has been falling apart
, so now he's looking for other targets, to force them
to pay -- and it seems like Google is in his sights. Responding to the ongoing fight
between PRS and Google/YouTube over paying for music videos, Sharkey has gone on the attack, blaming Google for everything
and suggesting that Google needs to be investigated
for wielding too much power.
Of course, what he really means is that he's finally realizing that Google actually has the leverage
in this fight. They have the value
that musicians want: a platform to gain tremendous amounts of attention, that many musicians are using to successfully build an audience
. That's the value. Google doesn't need those music videos to make money, so it's fine without them. But, musicians sure could use the boost that YouTube gives them.
But, honestly, Sharkey's response shows how hypocritical he and many in the industry are over these issues. First they scream about how YouTube is copyright infringement and stealing form them... and so now that YouTube takes down their videos... they scream again? Shouldn't that be exactly
what they want? If they're not getting paid a reasonable amount for the use of the videos, shouldn't they be thrilled that YouTube took the videos down? After all, we're told over and over again a rather simple mantra by pro-copyright folks: if you don't like the price, don't download the music. Google is living by that exactly. It didn't like the price offered by PRS, so it's blocking the music.
Done deal. What's to be upset about?
At some point, perhaps, it will dawn on Sharkey, Billy Bragg and others in the UK music business that, in their demand to get "paid" tons of money for everything, they've forgotten that the music is only one part of the value proposition -- and the community and platform that YouTube provides is another big part of it. The very fact that they want their videos back up shows they recognize this fact implicitly, even if they're going through massive cognitive dissonance in somehow lashing out at Google for making that point clear.
Sharkey is once again confused. Google isn't abusing any power. It got offered a bad deal by PRS, and it turned it down and blocked all of the videos. If Sharkey really believes what he claims about music business models, this should be exactly what he wants. Rather than allowing such "theft" to continue, it's cleared the playing field so that Sharkey, UK Music and PRS can take those videos to some other site. Or put up their own damn site. The very fact that they're not doing that, and are focusing on YouTube instead, shows they know in their hearts (if not their brains) that Google and YouTube are providing significant value.