Thursday, 30 March 2017

YouTube as promotion vs. revenue stream

For many years music fans have used YouTube as a music service as well as a discovery tool. What I mean by a music service is that you can be confident most recordings are available in some form (low or high quality). You can almost rely on YouTube to have the particular music recording you want to listen to now.

The problem is that the copyright owners/lawyers (and their artists) are trying to clamp down on safe harbour exemptions and get YouTube to address the value gap more directly (translate this into asking YouTube to pay them more for video plays). It makes sense that if a user can search and play, then the artist and their record company should be paid, right?

On the other side, there are the artists themselves and their marketing teams seeing YouTube not only as the best way to reach a mass audience quickly, but also a creative medium in its own right. Many artists use other video material to accompany their song, using some technology matching techniques from the simple to the intricate. For them YouTube is not expected to pay much money, because the promotion of being found on YouTube will lead users to click on the recording even more on the usual music services like Spotify and others.

What is YouTube to do? Some record companies say they get nearly as much money from YouTube royalties as the other retailers like Amazon, Spotify and Google Play. The big question is how the promotional services need to balance the promotional effect (reducing royalty payments) against the music service effect (royalty payments because users hear what they choose, when they want it).

A never ending story, as usual, with some of the people unhappy some of the time (which implied some of the people are happy some of the time). Different interests in a perpetual collision about payments for music licensing.

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