YouTube and Warner Music Group (WMG) have gone through a divorce.
This all stems around WMG’s decision to not continue their license agreement with Google (owner of the YouTube brand), sifting through the millions of YouTube videos and removing songs “belonging to WMG” that were part of user-uploaded video submissions.
This decision has permanently changed any uploaded YouTube video that used a WMG artist’s song for any reason. Such is Warner’s far-reaching efforts to protect any of it’s precious properties that it takes out other label’s artists in the process.
For example, in my video Snowy Sunday Ep. 002, I use clips of three different songs: Dean Martin “Let It Snow”, Crowded House “Four Seasons In One Day” and Van Halen “Dreams”. Of these three artists, two of them are with Warner [Dean Martin and Van Halen]. Crowded House gets crowded out of the YouTube house, at least when their songs are used alongside any WMG artist in the same YouTube video.
In addition to Snowy Sunday Episode 011 having the audio removed from it [which I completely removed from YouTube right after I discovered it contained no audio], previous videos of mine that had soundtracks of WMG artists have also suffered the same silent fate. Here is the list, each one linked to their respective blog posts where you can still watch the “un-altered” videos using Vimeo:
- Snowy Sunday Ep. 004 – [Red Hot Chili Peppers “Under The Bridge”]
- Snowy Sunday Ep. 002 – [Van Halen – “Dreams”]
- Scooter Sunday Captured Ep. 009 – [Led Zeppelin “Tangerine”]
I will not be pulling these videos [at least for now], leaving them in their WMG-revised state.
A Better Solution
While WMG play their greedy fucker card, other labels have used better options for finding their licensed songs in a YouTube video. And I think it’s a WIN-WIN situation.
Let’s take Universal Music Group. There’s been a couple of my videos that have been flagged as having Universal-owned tracks in them. But instead of getting all “nose in the air” and greedy, they get smart: they give me the option to add links to legitimate places to legally download the songs.
The orange-circled area shows the iTunes and Amazon.com buttons to purchase music
Now how hard is that? Actually, not that hard at all. And both Universal and myself benefit. I get to keep the song in my video and they make money from additional purchases of the song [I’m sure Google also has a deal with the labels to make more money on the backend]
A pop-up banner comes up while the video plays, showing the title of the song
They also place a pop-up banner while the video is playing, but it’s easy to click away, if so desired.
So what am I going to do here? This has put me, a blogger that uploads regular videos, in a different place. Sure, I can be creative and make my own songs and music, but I’m trying to generate laughs on a different level.
I will still continue to use YouTube as an alternative viewing option for my regular videos [sorry, but Vimeo kicks ass in all areas], but I will have to come up with different options when confronted with these new rules.
I can use music from artists that are not on any WMG label, which is what I will try to do. But there are some videos where a certain song fits just right. And sometimes that song belongs to a WMG artist.
I respect the position of any person or company that owns the rights to their music and their efforts to protect that. I’m in no way against that. I’m simply suggesting that there are smarter ways of doing that, where both the end-user and the license owner benefit. It’s called “Fair Use” and it appears to be working for Universal. And fair use can also work for Warner, if they want it to. They just have to put the greedy mindset aside and think like a modern and progressive company should.
Yeah, I’m not waiting, either.