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Google Using YouTube Threat As Leverage For Cheaper Streaming Rights 197

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-playing-fair dept.
Sockatume writes: "According to a press release issued by WIN, a group representing independent musicians, Google is threatening to de-list musicians' videos from YouTube if they do not agree to the terms for its unannounced streaming music service. The template contracts issued to musicians are described as 'undervalued' relative to other streaming services, and are not open for negotiation. The press release was issued by WIN but rescinded when Google agreed to further discussions; The Associated Free Press and The Guardian have published stories based on that original release."
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Google Using YouTube Threat As Leverage For Cheaper Streaming Rights

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  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @09:37AM (#47065281) Homepage
    Look, unless its an actual group of independent musicians, can we just assume WIN is a group of agents, managers, and lawyers suckling for cash? Its not as though the musicians couldnt form their own group, start up a listserv, and send a strongly worded email to google insisting they be paid fairly in order to stream content.
    • by alen (225700)

      yeah, because someone who wants to spend their days making music should spend 20% of their time negotiating contracts as well

      • by mfh (56)

        It's so true. Nothing saps creative energy like the business side and it's the music business because someone has to pay for those crazy hats, skin tight pants, stages, lights, promo, food, booze, drugs and whatever else you can think of that helps grease the machine.

        A group of independents would be kind of an oxymoron wouldn't it? The technology exists to enable each musician to become truly independent of the music industry but it's tough to become a strong signal through so much noise. Youtube has essent

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        You are right, of course. But nimbius also has a point - the summary is a bit misleading, as it takes the "poor artists beaten down by big corporation" angle, when in fact it is a pretty large trade group that is getting beaten down. And really this is just a continuation of a longer-term trend where the oversupply of music is resulting in it becoming practically free. In the past, the labels (even the indy labels) combined with limited infrastructure (only so much room at the record shop, only so many radi

        • by N1AK (864906)

          Google may or may not be a bad guy here

          If Google did threaten to screw musicians on YouTube that didn't sign up for their streaming service then Google ARE the bad guys here. I like Google and I think they do a lot of good, but let's not pretend that using your dominance of one market to force musicians to accept your terms in another isn't a jackass move.

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            I don't really have a dog in this fight - if Google is evil than so be it. I'm not a big fan of the recording industry, either.

            My broader point was that artists have been and will be getting less money in the future as the means of distribution becomes trivial and cheap or free, and that whoever wins this particular fight won't change very much. Not that "artists" were ever making very much - most of the money has always gone to the support industry, with the exception of a few high-profile long-term succes

          • by geekoid (135745)

            Seem to me the musician leeching off something some else pays for are the bad guys here. I like musicians and I think they do a lot of good, but lets not pretend that using a service some else provides for free for casual videos in order to sell your music isn't a jackass move.
            Words are fun.

      • Im not sure what you're proposing, but I guess I dont see the problem here. Google has terms for youtube / their streaming service; if musicians /viewers dont like it they can let google know and leave the site.

        But this is, at the end of the day, a matter between Google and the musicians, so it seems like it should be the musicians who (collectively, if they want to) negotiate with Google.

        • by Critical Facilities (850111) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @10:48AM (#47066037) Homepage
          As a composer and a musician, I totally, 100% agree with you. This really isn't a big deal. It's a non-exclusive agreement. If you don't like the terms, sign with someone else, or start your own thing. No one's being backed into any corners here. Plus, there's also the aspect of considering that even though it is alleged that YouTube is going to pay less than other services, the amount of traffic on YouTube compared to other sites could quite possibly generate significantly more "sales" to an artist, so really it becomes a question of price vs volume (sales volume, not sonic volume).
          • by tepples (727027)
            Perhaps the question is to what extent views on YouTube displace views on another service that pays more.
      • by sjames (1099)

        The problem is, the cash that gets tossed their way won't find it's way to the musicians they claim to represent.

    • Look, unless its an actual group of independent musicians, can we just assume WIN is a group of agents, managers, and lawyers suckling for cash?

      So does that mean you haven't even bothered to determine who members of this organization are before posting? You're just arbitrarily ranting, in case something *might* be true?

      As it stands, WIN is basically an organization of organizations. It basically advocates for "independent" labels and such. You could read about their supposed priorities in their manifesto [winformusic.org].

      1. We, the independents, will work to grow the value of music and the music business. We want equal market access and parity of terms with Universal, Warner and Sony, and will work with them in areas where we have a common goal. We will work to ensure that all companies in our sector are best equipped to maximize the value of their rights.

      2. We support creators' freedom to decide how their music may be used commercially, and we will encourage individual artists and labels to speak out directly against unauthorized uses of music as well as commercial uses of music that stifle that freedom. We support creators' right to earn a living from their work, which should be respected as a basic human right. We expect any use of music by commercial third party operators to be subject to fairly negotiated licensing terms, in a market where any use of music is an end in itself, not so-called promotion driving a subsequent sale.

      3. We support independent music labels that treat their artists as partners and who work with them on reasonable commercial terms, noting that labels are investors who deserve a fair return alongside their artists.

      4. We promote transparency in the digital music market; artists and companies are entitled to clarity on commercial terms.

      ........

      Etc.

      Is this empty rhetoric? I don't claim to know for sure. But these are the top points (out of their 10 "manifesto" statements), much o

  • by alen (225700) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @09:43AM (#47065343)

    you can say google is evil,but spotify doesn't let anyone upload videos for free for the whole world to see

    • by StripedCow (776465) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @10:02AM (#47065561)

      ... and lock users into their platform by not allowing downloads of videos ... and suck personal info out of your users by coupling the platform to google+

      • by Yebyen (59663) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @10:21AM (#47065749) Homepage

        How much personal information are you really putting into Google+?

        Have you heard of youtube-dl? It is actually possible to download videos from YouTube.

        • Yes, youtube-dl breaks every two months, because Google changes their protocols, or is actively taking countermeasures.

          • by Yebyen (59663)

            OK, but youtube-dl is much older than two months. So, it's legal free video downloads (assuming these "active countermeasures" are not classified as "devices for copyright control" in the DMCA/trafficking sense of the word), supported by community efforts. The fact is it's broken every few months, and also fixed again, for a couple of years running now. They have not implemented any "strong" copyright protection measures that would prevent its fixing. Where is the netflix-dl?

            • If a sufficient number of users would use youtube-dl, you can bet that Google will take countermeasures.

              Every time I use youtube-dl, I'm just praying that it still works...

              • by Yebyen (59663)

                And if Google would just put up Download links on every video that didn't require some obscure special software that just us nerds know to use, many artists from their target market would pack up their videos and leave. You have to imagine that a lot of artists want to be able to broadcast without enabling free copying for everyone, even when that sounds just as obviously technically impossible as say... uniquely identifying a person across repeated visits without actually storing any token of their identi

      • by swillden (191260)

        lock users into their platform by not allowing downloads of videos

        Why would you need to download the video you uploaded? Or are you upset because you can't download other peoples' videos?

    • by N1AK (864906)

      you can say google is evil,but spotify doesn't let anyone upload videos for free for the whole world to see

      Given the advertising revenue Google makes off YouTube I don't think they, or you, will get very far trying to pretend it's some kind of charitable service that somehow justifies them being dicks (if they in fact are) about something else.

  • Antitrust violation (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Pushing a new service (streaming) by exploiting a market-dominating position in another area (video sharing on YouTube) sounds like a gross violation of antitrust laws.

  • Youtube is a cesspool these days. Soon someone will create a musician-friendly site that has STANDARDS that favor musicians. I would be all over that.

    HTML5 video means you don't need Youtube anymore to successfully distribute videos. Torrent or stream yourself.

    P2P is the answer.

    • Soon someone will create a musician-friendly site that has STANDARDS that favor musicians.

      I'm interested. Could you describe these standards?

      HTML5 video means you don't need Youtube anymore to successfully distribute videos.

      Hosting costs and promotion remain. YouTube provides hosting at no charge (provided you're not trying to make fair use of a work whose copyright is owned by a publisher with a special Content ID deal), and YouTube recommends only YouTube videos as "related videos" for YouTube videos.

      P2P is the answer.

      How so, especially among customers of ISPs that use carrier-grade network address translation [wikipedia.org]? ISPs deploy this for two reasons: to conserve scarce IPv4 addresses and to enforce

    • by AC-x (735297)

      HTML5 video means you don't need Youtube anymore to successfully distribute videos. Torrent or stream yourself. P2P is the answer

      Um, HTML5 video doesn't have anything to do with P2P. If you want to create an HTML5 video streaming site you still need the heavyweight backend and bandwidth that Youtube has, the only difference is you wouldn't be using Flash.

  • fta

    WIN, which represents independent labels worldwide, claims that YouTube is approaching labels directly with a "template contract" and threatening that if they do not sign it, all their music videos will be blocked on YouTube.

    So wait.... Youtube is approaching labels that represent musicians and not the musicians themselves So that means that if a musician still wants to put his own video up on Youtube, and that video is not the property of any label, then there should be no problem, right? Or am I misu

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Or am I misunderstanding something?

      Possibly. What Google is saying is "if you don't sign this contract for our upcoming streaming service, at a rate which is entirely unfair to you, we will block your videos on YouTube".

      From TFS:

      Google is threatening to de-list musicians' videos from YouTube if they do not agree to the terms for its unannounced streaming music service. The template contracts issued to musicians are described as 'undervalued' relative to other streaming services, and are not open for negot

      • by bdcrazy (817679)

        described as 'undervalued' relative to other streaming services

        As opposed to those other streaming services continuing to lose money because the content owners keep charging too much and keep raising their rates?

        Soon they will either have to make money, or fold. Music is in need of something, I don't know what. I'm still listening to music I bought decades ago, so I'm not sure how well I apply.

  • ...claims the terms of the contract are non-negotiable, and undervalue the music of these labels in comparison to Spotify, Rdio, Deezer and other subscription streaming services.

    other subscription streaming services aren't profitable precisely because of those fees.

    • by N1AK (864906)

      other subscription streaming services aren't profitable precisely because of those fees.

      So it's ok for Google to force people into signing worse terms by threatening to de-list them from YouTube? If Microsoft started charging ad providers for showing ads in IE there would be uproar on here, and I doubt MS saying that browsers aren't profitable enough would persuade many people it's ok ;)

  • So THAT's what DRM in HTML5 was for...
  • This will certainly backfire not very long from now: basic reasons why youtube is big is because a) was early, and b) is a high-bandwidth streaming service that you can dump (and find) more-or-less what you want. Take this away, or make it complicated, and soon the tech-savvies or the home/small business people will pull out; and the middle class iPad living room seniors surfers will --sooner or later-- follow.
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Thursday May 22, 2014 @10:09AM (#47065609) Homepage

    Contrary to some misconceptions, being a monopoly is not illegal.

    What is illegal is using one's monopoly position in one market, to expand into another.

    Congratulations, Google. You are following Microsoft's steps.

  • Pish posh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c0d3g33k (102699) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @10:38AM (#47065917)

    Nonsense.

    Google spends time, effort and resource to create the infrastructure for a music streaming service that requires daily, constant effort to maintain, and so gets to define the terms.

    Musicians spend a few hours/days/weeks/months/years creating songs, then look for ways to milk that brief period of productivity for a lifetime (and for their descendants or estates as well, because copyright).

    What musicians don't do: create their own music streaming service built on their own terms and funded by them, asking for the fees they sincerly believe they deserve. And then test it in the free marketplace and discover what the true value of their work actually is. And adjust their model until they have come up with a viable and sustainable business. That's what musicians don't do.

    Yet when someone else does all the work for them but actually wants to get something for THEIR effort that actually reflects the cost and effort involved, it's evil and exploitative.

    Strong arming? Threat? De-listing? Bullshit. Use the music service someone else created for you, find another that suits you better, or create your own. That should be how things work in a free market.

    I can't blame those who are actually doing the hard work for refusing to cater to the exaggerated sense of entitlement that pervades the culture of 'creatives'. For every artist that is sitting on their duff crying out about the unfairness of these services, there are probably a hundred hard working people that get up every single day to collect their tiny paycheck in order to make that service viable so the artists can reap the rich benefits they think they are due.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bob9113 (14996)

      Strong arming? Threat? De-listing? Bullshit. Use the music service someone else created for you, find another that suits you better, or create your own. That should be how things work in a free market.

      Yes, it should be, but surely you have noticed that YouTube doesn't compete like a stand-alone video distribution service in a free market. YouTube has a bunch of features that couple users to it. That coupling gives YouTube a partially closed market.

      You are right that in a free market there would be no proble

      • Re:Pish posh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by c0d3g33k (102699) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @11:26AM (#47066605)

        Greetings Bob9113.

        Please forgive me if I disregard all your academic arguments about economic philosophy that are based on one term I used ("free market") because that was the most concise term I could think of using the english language. There is no dogmatic and irrational belief in lassaiz faire at work here.

        I'm not sure what features YouTube has that couple users to it, because I've never had a YouTube account, yet I can go to YouTube and watch absolutely anything (with the exception of a few vexing restrictions when using a mobile device). I'm not forced to use YouTube for anything, and plenty of videos I watch are provided by services other than YouTube. Lots of stuff is on YouTube, but I don't feel particularly coupled to it. In fact, I'd classify YouTube as the most uncoupled service on the internet because I am not forced to be a YouTube user in any way, yet I can watch any YouTube video I wish on just about any device I own.

        More importantly, I can choose to NOT watch YouTube videos, and there is plenty of interesting information out there that does not use YouTube.

        I'm not seeing the closed market you are describing, at least with respect to YouTube. I DO see a closed market with other services that require me to use that service exclusively to see something, but YouTube has been pretty egalitarian in my experience.

        So what is your point exactly, and what service do you use that is more free than YouTube?

        • YouTube will never show a non-YouTube video in "Related videos". If you're not on YouTube, how will viewers find your videos?
          • by c0d3g33k (102699)

            Not YouTube's problem, is it? Viewers find videos like they find anything else, by looking for them in the places where the videos are. My grocery store doesn't tell me where I can find related groceries not in the store. I go to several stores in the area and learn what each has that distinguishes them from the other. I go to the store that has the best produce/meat/seafood/organic/whatever when I want that thing. I don't consider Stop-n-Shop evil because I have to shop at other places depending on w

            • by tepples (727027)

              Viewers find videos like they find anything else, by looking for them in the places where the videos are.

              The problem is that YouTube has done a good job of convincing users that the only "place[] where the videos are" is YouTube. How should one go about making people aware of a video not available on YouTube?

  • I think this is the most blatantly evil thing Google has ever done, am I wrong?

    • by Stan92057 (737634)
      No I don't think so, they made paid search listings look as if it were the top results not distinguishing them as paid ads. They were fined big time for it. That is true evil IMO.
  • Ever notice that it is Musicians when it comes to some deal the riaa wants? The vast majority of the money would be coming out of the riaa's pocket and that is good news to weaken them.
  • This doesn't seem like something Google would do. I'm also curious about this supposed new Google subscription streaming music service. Why would Google launch a new service to compete with their existing Google Music All Access service?

    This article doesn't make sense to me. I'm skeptical.

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