YouTube and Facebook were squarely in the sights of Crispin Hunt, chairman of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), as he delivered the opening address at yesterday’s Ivor Novello Awards in London.
“I want to thank YouTube and Facebook for cracking the funniest joke online: the one where they pretend they’re just a dumb pipe and not the biggest and best streaming services on the planet. You guys! You’re killing us… literally!” said Hunt.
However, he also praised three audio-streaming services for the role they’re playing in the music industry.
“On the other hand, I want to thank Apple and Spotify for teaching us how to sell music that isn’t trapped in plastic. And hopefully for saving the music industry in the process,” said Hunt.
“And let’s not forget Deezer for trying out a user-centric payment model, so that money from death-metal fans actually goes to death-metal bands, and not to Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. Ed and Taylor don’t need anybody else’s money, they’re quite brilliant enough. We should all join Deezer now!”
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:
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.
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.
[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.”
This week, Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research was the first analyst to downgrade Google because of the dustup.
It began last week when marketing giant Havas pulled all of its ads from Google’s YouTube UK site following a report from the Times of London that British government ads had been placed alongside videos from white supremacist David Duke and anti-Semitic pastor Steve Anderson.
Wieser told The Post on Wednesday that the impact will be felt by Google, which instead of discussing how to take away TV ad dollars in upcoming ad negotiations will now be mired in “brand safety issues.”
“The marginal increase [in ad dollars] is less likely to occur,” Wieser said.
He said the impact on Google was likely to be around 1 percent of its revenue base, or $1 billion.
“Google’s stated solution was late and woeful,” Wieser said. “Given numerous opportunities to nip it in the bud, they’ve seemingly made it worse.”
When is an “ad credit” actually a refund? As Chris wrote on MusicTech.Solutions, Google advertisers should be entitled to refunds stretching back years for Google’s failure to live up to its promises to protect advertisers from their ads appearing in terror videos.
Many Wall Street analysts are trying to play down the continuing advertising controversy at Google’s YouTube, but Alphabet Inc. investors are likely jittery — and should be.
Last week, Google updated its ad policies and expanded safeguards for advertisersafter some pulled advertising from YouTube because the video streaming site was displaying ads next to inappropriate content that espoused hate or even terrorism. Google said in a blog post that it has put in place more controls for advertisers, and it is also taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content….
The bigger fear for investors is that an advertiser backlash could spread from YouTube to Google’s overall search business, or cast a pall over YouTube’s planned “skinny bundle” service. Since the story broke, Alphabet shares have fallen nearly 4%.
Google’s efforts to handle the situation are getting mixed reviews from investors who see cause for concern.
“Their public statements do not suggest to us that the company appreciates the degree to which advertisers are concerned and the continuing announcements of advertisers suspending their activity on Google properties reinforces our view,” Pivotal analyst Wieser wrote.
Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with Global Equities Research, predicted that Google will need to give out ad credits to lure back advertisers, which would also impact YouTube revenue.
Mountain Dew banner and video ad served up by one of the ad networks in the box in the lower right corner. According to The Guardian in the UK this is the “national anthem” of Islamic State. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/nov/09/nasheed-how-isis-got-its-anthem
We’ve been writing about the many issues Google ads have had for years, they way they appear on everything from ISIS recruitment to pirated content sites. The way they support human trafficking. The way they can actually throw hardcore porn banner on a legitimate local news site. The worlds most ‘democratic’ ad network is being undone by the very thing that made it appear everywhere. By placing ads on everything from Youtube channels to Blogger blogs, as well as sites with editorial oversight, Google was the least controlled ad market in the world. As well as the worlds largest, and possibly the laziest as Google suggested that the brands themselves should police the piracy sites, which would be the ad networks job, not the ad buyers.
Brands soon took the brunt of appearing on pirated sites, or having their ads support their competitors Youtube channel, receiving complaints and boycotts from consumers. The final straw was the ‘extreme’ content. For years violent, pirated, and controversial videos have been uploaded and monetized on Youtube and finally hundreds of companies suspended advertising in “row over extremist content” according to The Times in the UK.