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YouTube Says Content Owners Made $1B Last Year -- So Music Labels Should Stop Complaining ( 153

Peter Kafka, reporting for Recode: Here's the latest salvo in the back and forth between YouTube and the music industry: A report from Google that says its video site's copyright software has allowed content owners to generate $1 billion in the last year or so. Or, in other words: Hey, music guys! Stop moaning about money -- we're making plenty of it for you. Google's formal message comes via "How Google Fights Piracy," a 62-page mega-pamphlet it is releasing today. Google adds that its Content ID tool, which lets copyright owners "claim" their videos that users upload to YouTube so that ad money can be made off it, has garnered $2 billion since 2007. This is Google's response to a growing concern from the music industry that YouTube doesn't pay well, its Content ID isn't a solution, and that the video platform is built on stolen material.
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YouTube Says Content Owners Made $1B Last Year -- So Music Labels Should Stop Complaining

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  • It's Kafkaesque...

  • Content owners? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Wednesday July 13, 2016 @10:27AM (#52503617) Homepage

    What is a "content owner"? Oh, the person who owns the recording.

    For those of you who don't understand the big issue, there are two kinds of "owners" for a piece of recorded music - the guy who owns the actual sound recording (master) and the person/people who own the copyright on the underlying work (the writers). These are often not the same people, particularly in commercial music where a record label typically owns the masters.

    Writers get paid statutory rates for sound recordings or digital downloads, known as a mechanical royalty rate. For a song that's 5 minutes or less, it's 9.1 cents per copy, with a 1.75 cent/minute increment above 5 minutes. They also get paid for broadcast uses of their works (this is what BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC handle in the US). The issue with Youtube is that there's no good way to pay writers, so they get screwed. Frankly, the labels are getting screwed, too, as $1B isn't a whole lot of money after it's sliced a million ways. I doubt Youtube's ads bring in enough money to pay out more, anyway. ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC pay writers some from Youtube if the song is recognized in the content-id system, but the money is paltry.

    Writers are really getting screwed on streaming and Youtube, and while people used to be able to make a decent living as a writer even 10 years ago, it's getting quite difficult now. I have a niece trying to get into the business and I'm telling her she has to perform as well as writing so she can make a good living at it.

    Anyway, that's the issue.

    • ... people used to be able to make a decent living as a writer even 10 years ago...

      People used to be able to make a decent living making disco balls. But times have changed. Those who adopt do well, those who sit and expect the money to flow to them do not do well.

      • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

        There is still quite a large market for music. Disco balls, on the other hand.....

        If there's someone out there who wants to listen to music, there's money to be made writing and performing it.

    • Tell your niece that art makes a great hobby and a lousy profession.

      For 99.99% of the musicians out there, that's reality. There are literally billions of people in the world who play a musical instrument, or sing, or dance. Hundreds of millions who do so competently. Tens of millions good enough to perform publicly. Of those, how many can actually make a living at it? I know far more people who have a garage band, or do the occasional gig for beer money. I think they enjoy it more as well, because there's

      • Thanks for the advice. I work on the fringes of the music industry and know plenty of people who make money from it. Few of them "perform". She's very capable and has what it takes, just needs to add "hard work" to what she has. Difficult to say what she'll end up doing.

        I've explained that it's a hard road, but I think she'll be fine.

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      $1B isn't a whole lot of money after it's sliced a million ways

      According to [] (and corroborated by a couple other sites I found on a quick Google search,) the entire US music industry is only generating $15B annually, putting Youtube's injection at a bit under 7%.

      That's not bad revenue considering they don't have to do anything to get it beyond claim their copyrights (often excessively to the point of fraudulent but that's another rant.)

      Of course the most obvio

    • Why should YouTube have to pay the writers? I used to manage a restaurant and we'd play recorded music for the guests and occasionally had live bands. We'd pay the requisite fees [] to the copyright holders. They own the copyright on the actual sound recording, we use the actual sound recording, we pay them.

      If the writers hold a copyright on the lyrics to the song, the place for them to negotiate is with BMI, ASCAP, SESAC before the sound recording is allowed to be distributed. After all, it's using the
    • Actually that sounds like the issue. Too many hands in the pot. Too many middlemen. However writers and artists allow this to happen for their own profit (or not). Change your business model if it isn't working for you.

      The times they are a changin'! (They would probably want royalty for just using that quote) They have been changing for some time now. Trying to use legal machination as your only method of prolonging your business model is not going to work forever.

  • ... no matter how much money they receive, they will always want more.


    • by Anonymous Coward

      > no matter how much money they receive, they will always want more.

      As are most industries, agencies, people. I remember when webcontent had no ads- then ads created inhouse and coded/placed in tables- then ads served through big business adservers- and now ads injected on top of web pages or tv shows by the ISPs themselves.

      Basically, now that the world has gone 'digital' it sure is easier to proliferate money-grabbing techniques across the entire audience. Us.
      BTW where is my pay raise too!?!

  • I'm pretty much done purchasing music. There is more entertainment content that I can consume in my lifetime. Getting rid of Youtube or Pandora is going to net them $0 from me as a consumer.
  • Yeah, especially when their content producers are dishonest about how they "earn" that money. []

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Those Somalians better watch out then.

    Ah, you mean Google fights _copying files they don't want to be copied_? Then tell it like it is instead of calling it grandiose names that have little to do with reality.

  • The act of complaining for the movie/music industry is in itself an industry, with """unlimited funds"""...

  • by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Wednesday July 13, 2016 @11:38AM (#52504057)

    They're fighting hard to make content owners look good by not pissing off their audience (and hence content cabal's customers), but over and over, they find a way to spit on YouTube's services.

    Remember when basically everyone pirated music and didn't give a dime to the artists? Well, at least with Youtube, they're getting some compensation. What do they want? More hand jobs and blow?

    • What do they want? More hand jobs and blow?

      My acute senses are alerting me that this may be, in fact, a rhetorical question.

      I've noticed since the economic depression circa 2008 people think it is much more acceptable now to just ask you to give them money. For the small town I live in, there are an extrodinary number of panhandlers*. Their proposal is this: you give me money and I'll do nothing in return. That's a pretty good deal for one of us, but it's not me.

      * That's the euphamism they prefer to be called now too. It's not like they are panning

    • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

      They want more money. The Copyright Royalties Board decided that streaming royalties would increase, and small broadcasters' offsets would stop, and that's why Live365 closed. I was a subscriber, my favourite stations moved to different services, and I'm not going to pay each of those services to listen to 1 or 2 stations, so the net result is - artists who were getting a little bit of money from my subscription are now getting nothing.

  • by Bender Unit 22 ( 216955 ) on Wednesday July 13, 2016 @12:06PM (#52504227) Journal

    So she is getting a raw deal from YouTube, causing her to miss hitting the mark of earning 1 million dollar a day.
    She has also turned feminist because she believes that, as a woman, she has been held back in her career.

    Fuck off. :D

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Wednesday July 13, 2016 @09:58PM (#52507685)

    if YouTube simply shut down for a week. Just one week. I rather suspect the drop in sales would have those music "industry" fuckers screaming like stuck pigs. Then maybe they'd just STFU about how YouTube is destroying their profitability. In a year or so they'd start bitching again. Lather, rinse, repeat. After a few wash cycles maybe they'd even catch on.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"