Already an artist with a long history of flip-flopping on what the web's role in the music business should be Elton John, recently a vocal opponent of YouTube, has announced a new public music video contest sponsored by the popular video sharing site.
Guest post by Timothy Geigner of Techdirt
Elton John is no stranger either to crazy suggestions for how the internet should be or to flip-flopping on those very same suggestions. For example, he once suggested that the whole internet should be shut down for half a decade in order to foster better musical acts (seriously), then years later he was on a list of artists seeking to keep music pirates from being kicked off of that same internet he wanted shut down, until shortly after that list came out when he was totally behind kicking people off of the internet again.
Well, here we go again, it seems. Earlier this year, Elton John joined other artists in asking Congress to remove safe harbor protections, with a specific eye on YouTube. Shortly after, he also signed onto a letter sent to several ranking EU officials complaining about record label music appearing on YouTube and suggesting that artists weren't being paid enough by the video-sharing site for their content. Which brings us to the present, where we come across Elton John's YouTube video revealing a public music video contest on YouTube, sponsored by YouTube.
‘Elton John: The Cut’ will launch at YouTube’s end-of-year show Brandcast, hosted by James Corden today (December 12), with entries officially opening to the public on January 9, 2017.
Elton John said: “We’re excited to partner with YouTube to bring together generations of artists and music lovers around a shared passion for storytelling. YouTube is a rich tapestry of creativity, and I can’t wait to see how the breadth of talent from the dance, live-action and animation communities apply their vision to these cherished songs.”
YouTube is a rich tapestery of creativity? I mean, I don't want to ding someone who appears to have come around on a more sensible point of view, but this is a far cry from "let's turn off the internet for five years." Not to mention that this partnership with YouTube flies in the face, or at least seems to muddle, the claims that the platform is some kind of problem for musical acts. If anything, this partnership shows how valuable YouTube can be and is for musical artists looking for new avenues to get their music noticed, sponsored, and to engage with the public. It's exactly the kind of thing that YouTube is good for...and has been good for dating back to Elton John's several screeds against it.
And it's quite nice to see that YouTube's involvement appears to be aimed at spawning further creativity.
YouTube’s support provides applicants with funding and use to of the YouTube Space production facilities. The production of the final music videos will be supported by Pulse Films – makers of Beyonce’s Emmy-nominated “Lemonade” film. YouTube will also award the prize fund of ten thousand U.S. dollars to the winning creators to support future video-based creative projects.
I truly hope that one of music's most famous voices has managed to come around and realize that the internet and YouTube are not enemies, but tools for music acts. It's just that the speed at which the flip-flopping is occurring is somewhat jarring.