Internal Warner Music Memo Shows Google’s Notice and Shakedown Business as Usual

Music Business Worldwide posted this internal memo from Warner Music chief Steve Cooper about Google’s DMCA abuse and the effect of YouTube’s notice and shakedown negotiation tactics:

Hi everyone,

I wanted to let you all know that, following months of tough negotiations, we’ve extended our deals with YouTube, separately for music publishing and recorded music.

On the publishing side, Warner/Chappell tirelessly championed songwriters’ rights, and equally, our recorded music team was relentless on behalf of our artists and our music. We secured the best possible deals under very difficult circumstances. Our new deals are also shorter than usual, giving us more options in the future.

Nevertheless, our fight to further improve compensation and control for our songwriters and artists continues to be hindered by the leverage that ‘safe harbor’ laws provide YouTube and other user-uploaded services. There’s no getting around the fact that, even if YouTube doesn’t have licenses, our music will still be available but not monetized at all. Under those circumstances, there can be no free-market ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ negotiation.

YouTube has a bigger audience than any other streaming service, which presents huge opportunities for the creative community, and we’re always hopeful about the future. But our experiences during these negotiations were proof positive of the acute need to clarify ‘safe harbor’ provisions under US and EU copyright legislation. That’s the only way to conclusively close the gap between the revenue YouTube generates and what songwriters, artists, publishers and labels make in return.

Our sustained investment in new music and the pace with which we embrace emerging technologies, is resulting in some promising growth. However, ‘safe harbor’ laws that don’t protect artists, songwriters and rights-holders remain the weak link in the music ecosystem. We’re now calling for change more loudly than ever.

In the meantime, we’re all focused on doing truly original, imaginative and exciting work across all platforms, in order to bring our artists and songwriters the biggest opportunities, both creative and commercial. It’s already been an incredible year, and there’s an outstanding array of new music still to come.

Steve

Please note, this email has gone to a limited distribution list, so please do not forward, but I wanted to keep you informed in case you get any questions.

@ryanlcooper: Google is a monopoly — and it’s crushing the internet

Five to 10 years ago, independent bloggers used to be able to getby on internet advertising, like the broadsheets of yore. But that changed quite quickly, and for two big reasons: Facebook and Google. They now gobble up the vast majority of internet advertising dollars — about 85 percent, as my colleague Jeff Spross writes — and a great many media outlets have been forced to move to direct subscriptions or other business models.

Google and Facebook manage this because they are platform monopolists. They can exert tremendous influence through their control of how people use the internet — and crush productive businesses in the process. Like any monopoly, it is long since time that the government regulated them to serve the public interest….

The upshot here is that both Google’s overwhelming search dominance and their profitable exploitation thereof are almost wholly unmerited in terms of their actual product. Google is a fine tool, but what defines the company is luck. Its profits come from a largely unearned strategic position within a socially-created communication medium. Devouring a small business that provided Google and the internet writ large with quality research simply to keep people fenced onto their own portion of the internet is just one particularly egregious example how this position can be abused.

Read the post on The Week

@marksweney: Music Industry Goes to War with YouTube

[Editor Charlie sez:  And then Google shares the YouTube revenue with terrorists, neo-Nazis and illegal drug purveyors….]

The music business is a tough place for most artists to make money. This struggle was thrown into sharp relief last week when the UK industry revealed that artists earned more from vinyl sales in 2016 than they did from YouTube payments for viewings of music videos.

The BPI, the record labels’ association that promotes British music, says this is the latest example of YouTube exploiting the “value gap” between what it makes from online advertising shown around music videos and what finds its way to the artists’ pockets.

As if to add insult to injury, news of the paltry level of payouts came a day after figures showed that Google, and subsidiary YouTube, took home the lion’s share of the £10bn spent on internet advertising in the UK last year. BPI figures show UK vinyl sales growing for the ninth consecutive year in 2016, to a 25-year high of 3.2m units – driven by Blackstar, the final album by the late David Bowie – and making £41.7m for record labels and artists. By contrast, music video streaming, which is dominated by YouTube, funnelled just £25.5m to the industry.

“YouTube’s holding company [Google] can’t really have a motto ‘Do The Right Thing’ then pay one-seventh of the rates other streaming services pay,” said Allen Kovac, who has managed bands including the Bee Gees, Mötley Crüe and Blondie. “Moreover, Google drives audiences to YouTube, which devalues artists’ music. That’s a win-win for them, but a colossal loser for artists.”

Read the post on The Guardian

@jonesjourno: SONGWRITERS FIGHT APPLE, SPOTIFY, GOOGLE, AMAZON AND PANDORA OVER STREAMING RATES

Over 2,000 songwriters have signed a petition demanding better mechanical royalties for interactive streaming from Google, Apple, Amazon, Spotify and Pandora.

The campaign has launched ahead of a court hearing in Washington today (March 8) where the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) will determine rates for the next five years.

The tech giants are expected to argue to reduce the amount they pay, while the National Music Publisher’s Association and the Nashville Songwriters Association International will lobby for an increase.

Read the post on MusicBusinessWorldwide

@danacimilluca: Sullivan & Cromwell Hires Former Justice Department Antitrust Head Renata Hesse [aka Songwriter Enemy #1] as Partner in D.C.

Remember the ex-Googler Renata Hesse who managed to get both herself and the Department of Justice sued by SONA over Hesse’s grotesque mishandling of 100% licensing?  Like a good little bureaucrat, she leaves the songwriters to clean up her mess while she skips out to the big money.  Don’t let the revolving door hit you.

And good job avoiding a confirmation hearing…that won’t happen again.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is hiring Renata Hesse, formerly head of the antitrust division at the Justice Department, as the law firm prepares for a continued wave of complex, cross-border mergers and other deals.

Ms. Hesse, 52 years old, will join Sullivan & Cromwell as a partner in Washington, D.C., the firm plans to announce Monday. The move is noteworthy not just because of Ms. Hesse’s stature in legal circles, but also because it is rare for Sullivan & Cromwell and other elite law firms to bring in partners from the outside. Until January, Ms. Hesse was acting assistant attorney general in charge of the antitrust division at the Justice Department, a position she has held twice.

Read the post on the Wall Street Journal

@RobertBLevine_: ‘YouTube Can Do Better’: Cee Lo, Evanescence, Rush Among Artists Calling for DMCA Action

Comments for the U.S. Copyright Office study of the “safe harbors” of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) were due February 21, and dozens of media and technology companies and organizations dutifully submitted filings. In what may be a first, however, a few dozen musicians also signed a video message that was submitted to the government on their behalf.

Unlike most such filings, which tend to consist of pages of anecdotes and arguments, the video — titled “YouTube Can Do Better” — couldn’t be much simpler. Over a half-minute of silence, white letters against a black background spell out “Dear U.S. Copyright Office,” then the names of the few dozen acts who endorsed the message, then “YouTube Can Do Better.” It doesn’t directly mention the Copyright Office’s study of the DMCA safe harbors. The list of acts is wide-ranging, including The Black KeysCee Lo GreenEvanescenceJohn MellencampRushT Bone Burnett, and many more.

Read the post on Billboard

T-Bone Burnett’s Comments on Reform of the DMCA Safe Harbor

The U.S. Copyright Office has invited the public to comment on potential reforms of the DMCA “safe harbors” and the incomparable T-Bone Burnett delivered this video version of his insightful comments on DMCA abuse. (See also Billboard article on T-Bone’s comment and my 2006 post on MTP, The DMCA is Not An Alibi.) It is important […]

via T-Bone Burnett’s Comments on Reform of the DMCA Safe Harbor — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY