YouTube & Video

Neil Young On The WMG YouTube Battle


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By Neil Young, Reprise recording artist

Warner Reprise records was one of the very first to embrace You Tube. You Tube was in its fledgling stages when Warner made an early deal to work with them. Today, other labels have made more lucrative deals for their artists at You Tube.

So You Tube is the new radio…..but not quite.

Radio used to introduce music to the masses and was crucial to every new release, with identical compensation for every artist and label. Since You Tube has given some labels better deals that others, the Media Giant is treating artists unequally, depending on which label they are on.

Today's web world has created a new way. Artists today can go directly to the people. There is nothing standing between the artists and their audience. Freedom of expression reigns. People today feel that they should be able to get all the music and art that they want, from the artists who they appreciate. When that conduit is broken, the connection is weakened.

If all artists were compensated equally, and the people decided who had the hits and misses by virtue of number of downloads and plays, there could be no grounds for disagreement that would cause the facilitator of the art to break the conduit between an artist and an audience. That is what has happened to Warner Bros artists caught in You Tube's web. You Tube has a responsibility to respect the artists it facilitates and resist punishing them to make a business point.

It is time for industry wide standards of artist's compensation on the web.

Reprise and Warner Bros artists deserve what artists from other labels are getting. Let the people decide what constitutes success. Warner Bros and Reprise are looking for a level playing field. Until they get one, these problems may not go away. That is the essence of the issue between Warner Bros Reprise and You Tube.

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  1. I don’t even agree with his stance on the issue… but he GETS the issue… and that’s more than I can say for 99% of music industry executives.
    Removing the barrier between fans and art is the future… its all going to end up on the web eventually, might as well embrace it and find a way to monetize it once an artist has built momentum.

  2. Unfortunately that doesn’t do anything for the tribute video I made for a deceased Vietnam Veteran that had a Phillip Glass track as part of the background. The Veteran talking and the Glass track are now silenced because of this dispute between youtube and WMG. And there are only two options as far as I can tell. One, pay WMG thousands of dollars to license a song in ten minute video or, two, not use the track. No wonder the music companies are in trouble … the internet is here to stay but instead of thinking of new ways to monetize the music they shut down people’s videos on you tube. WMG might be angry with Youtube but it’s the fans of the music who are being punished. I think WMG and Youtube both suck. Youtube is obviously too greedy to pay WMG and WMG could care less about which youtube users they crush with their corporate hand. And I didn’t even know Youtube was paying WMG and these other labels. I thought one day the music labels would create a system for the little guys to license music and other content based on how they plan to use it. However, now I’ll find other sources for my music and other places to post my videos until they either agree on a solution or create a way I can pay a reasonable fee for the material I want to use. There are other sources for music besides WMG and other ways to post videos too. There is a consequence for this youtube and WMG and you’ve stepped on the toes of the multitudes who used youtube as a way to post videos that they own the rights to and used to buy music from your label.

  3. Oh right like WMG hasn’t been screwing artists and limiting free expression for years right? There are thousands of talented artists out there we would never get to hear if it were up to WMG.
    WMG is a greedy, greedy, greedy company that has one purpose in life: choking the flow of good music to make a profit.
    The best-case scenario would be for people to just avoid using anything under a WMG label. If they are happy not getting paid let em have their way.
    BTW I am a law student and I believe the days of copyright are numbered. While it may have been a foundation of law, and indeed our society, it is nevertheless a dinosaur concept. You will never be able to keep people from stealing or reproducing 1’s and 0’s. In the end that is all music, video, and software is. Bits and bytes. Trying to swim in quicksand only makes you sink faster. The old ways won’t work. Whichever side of the issue you are on, you have to accept information has a tendency to be free, and no amount of kicking, screaming, threatening, or suing is going to change that.

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