Searching for answers from Google about Google | The Hill | East Bay Ray

In 2001, a journalist named Bethany McLean posed a simple question in Fortune Magazine: “How exactly does Enron make its money?”

Neither company executives nor outside analysts could give her a simple answer. Her one question is now seen as the drip that opened the floodgates that drowned Enron. By 2006, the one-time Wall Street darling was closed, companies that enabled the fraud had failed, and executives were imprisoned. All this happened because Bethany McLean got the chance to ask a question.

The only way we’re going to learn about what Google is doing is through legal challenges like that of AG Hood.  I don’t see any Congressional hearings looking into Google’s practices (especially with Google spending almost $17 million on lobbying this past year). I don’t hear President Obama asking about Google (see previously mentioned $17 million). While there are European leaders and governments pushing Google to be more transparent, I don’t know why we’ve outsourced an investigation we ourselves should be doing.  I worry that if Google can block a state’s top law enforcement officer from even asking questions, then who is there to stand up and search for the answers we clearly should be seeking?

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE HILL:
http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/technology/232681-searching-for-answers-from-google-about-google

East Bay Ray is the guitarist, co-founder and one of two main songwriters for the band Dead Kennedys. He has been speaking out on issues facing independent artists—on National Public Radio, at Chico State University, and on panels for SXSW, Association of Independent Music Publishers, California Lawyers for the Arts, SF Music Tech conferences, Hastings Law School and Boalt Hall Law School. Ray has also met with members of the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. to advocate for artists’ rights.

So Much For Spotify in Sweden, Overall Sales Drop… and Norway Too…Streaming Kills…

Remember how we’ve been told for years that Spotify is the solution to the record industry’s problems? Remember how we’ve been told that Spotify is the solution to piracy? Remember the stories of how “sales are growing” in Sweden and Norway?

Well guess what? According to Digital Music News (reported by IFPI) overall sales in Sweden and Norway are actually down for 2014.

Overall. Down.

Hmmmm… Click the links below…

After Years of Recovery, Music Sales Are Now Declining In Sweden… | Digital Music News

Streaming Killed Piracy In Norway. It Also Killed Recording Sales… | Digital Music News

We’ve said it before, and we’re willing (and happy to be wrong) that streaming economics, specifically of the Spotify variety are unsustainable. That doesn’t mean the economics can’t be changed, or that streaming doesn’t work and can not work – it just means that the predictions about growing revenue via Spotify are wrong.

We’ve questioned the philosophy and math behind streaming for a while now and it appears some of our criticisms and concerns are coming true. For example we noted that the Spotify per stream rates are dropping as more users are added to the service.

If overall revenue continue to decline, especially in the most promoted and championed markets in the world, what does that say for the rest of the world?

We previously reported that the per stream rates are dropping as the service add more users (graph below). This new data suggests that not only is the per stream rate dropping, but in two the leading countries in the world overall revenues are also down.

It’s just math.

SpotifyNetMONTHLY_Charted

 

@IMPALAmusic Takes Action at European Commission on YouTube Abuses Against @zoecello

trichordist:

IMPALA Takes Action on Behalf Of Zoë Keating

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

Thanks to the efforts of music makers and the fans and journalists who love them–who clearly respect music more than YouTube does–the latest round of abuse on Zoë Keating from YouTube has resonated all the way to Brussels where indie label trade group IMPALA launched a new initiative against Google inspired by the reaction to YouTube’s treatment of Zoë.  Paul Resnikoff of Digital Music News, Andrew Orlowski of The Register and Stuart Dredge of The Guardian deserve special recognition for doggedly sticking to the story despite Google’s Spotify-like whisper campaign to discredit Zoë.

IMPALA’s press release today in Brussels tells the story:

Independent music companies launched a unique Digital Action Plan today, calling for a new European industrial policy to drive the digital market through the cultural and creative sectors, which account for 4,2% of EU GDP and 7.1 million EU jobs.

The role of culture in Europe’s digital market will be one of…

View original 586 more words

Zoë Keating Publishes Google/YouTube Transcript : Clarity | Zoë Keating Blog

With friends like these…

If i wanted to just let content ID keep doing it’s thing, and it does a great job at and i’m totally happy with it and i don’t want to participate in the music service, is that an option?

That’s unfortunately not an option.

Assuming i don’t want to, then what would occur?

So what would happen is, um, so in the worst case scenario, because we do understand there are cases where our partners don’t want to participate for various reasons, what we basically have to do is because the music terms are essentially like outdated, the content that you directly upload from accounts that you own under the content owner attached to the agreement, we’ll have to block that content. but anything that comes up that we’re able to scan and match through content ID we could just apply a track policy but the commercial terms no longer apply so there’s not going to be any revenue generated.

Wow that’s pretty harsh.

Yeah, it’s harsh and trust me, it is really difficult for me to have this conversation with all of my partners but we’re really, what we’re trying to do is basically create a new revenue stream on top of what exists on the platform today.

PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE POST/TRANSCRIPT AT:
http://zoekeating.tumblr.com/post/109312851929/clarity

Involuntarily Distribution Business Subsidies | East Bay Ray

One of the talking points that various tech company commentators, academics and bloggers have used to try to justify companies exploiting an artist’s work without consent (a loophole in safe harbor) is that it would lessen the barrier for tech companies to start up. The idea is that creators should be required to give something up to facilitate this goal. Business start-ups are all well and good, but to require anyone to involuntarily subsidize a business, internet or otherwise, with something they have put time, effort, money, and skill into is extremely problematic.

Would these same people advocate that landlords and utility companies also give up income and the right of consent to help internet companies? That would also make it easier for them to start. But no one has suggested that.

It could be ruinous for creators to be required to be involuntarily involved in start-ups that may or not succeed, tying them to businesses that the artists has no way to vet to see if they even know how to distribute competently or honestly. If they are to survive, artists need to examine their licensees and distributors. I’ve seen many artist’s careers die prematurely from incompetent, greedy or dishonest businesses. (Compulsory licenses that are a last resort to negotiation, rather than the first resort to eliminate negotiation, is an alternative that has for decades shown itself to ensure artist’s sustainability.)

To put it into personal terms, I shouldn’t be forced, or any person for that matter, into being a lab rat for some click bait experiment. And then if the experiment is successful, none of the content creators share in any of the IPO rewards. A bit un-American I’d say and bad policy, it does not allocate rewards according to risk.

History has shown that exploitation of another person’s work with little compensation or without their consent to insure an enterprise’s survival is fraught with ethical and moral issues. If internet companies can not make money selling a product or service on merit and integrity, and treating the people that supply their “product” justly and with respect, something is not right. No matter how well intentioned by well meaning people, economic philosophies that ignore consent or fair compensation, rarely turn out good for society.

– – –
East Bay Ray is the guitarist, co-founder and one of two main songwriters for the band Dead Kennedys. He has been speaking out on issues facing independent artists—on National Public Radio, at Chico State University, and on panels for SXSW, Association of Independent Music Publishers, California Lawyers for the Arts, SF Music Tech conferences, Hastings Law School and Boalt Hall Law School. Ray has also met with members of the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. to advocate for artists’ rights.

Nashville’s Musical Middle Class Collapses | Tennessean

This says it all…

Since 2000, the number of full-time songwriters in Nashville has fallen by 80 percent, according to the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Album sales plummeted below 4 million in weekly sales in August, which marked a new low point since the industry began tracking data in 1991. Streaming services are increasing in popularity but have been unable to end the spiral.

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE TENNESSEAN:
http://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/music/2015/01/04/nashville-musical-middle-class-collapses-new-dylans/21236245/

Google’s Guide to RICO

trichordist:

well… just because… the more you know…

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

PRS For Music recently released a report entitled the “Six Business Models of Copyright Infringement.”  This report was co-sponsored by Google.  The company’s European Policy Blog had a suitably Googlely statement (if you know what I mean) announcing the release of the report.  (http://googlepolicyeurope.blogspot.com/2012/07/follow-money-to-fight-online-piracy.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EuropeanPublicPolicyBlog+%28European+Public+Policy+Blog%29) Well, it wasn’t entirely Googley because it didn’t contain any of the usual “Joe Camel” semiotics.

No references to children’s foods, candy, or toys, and it didn’t say “goo goo ga ga”.  Maybe they take the report seriously.

The blog said in part:

How best to combat this danger [of massive copyright infringement]? Instead of imposing blocks or filters that might damage fundamental freedoms, governments should construct coalitions with reputable advertising networks, payment processors and rightsholders. Together, these coalitions can crack down and squeeze the financing behind online infringement.

Good point.  Yes, indeed, Google has made an excellent point.  And you know, here in the United States…

View original 991 more words

MegaUpload (MegaVideo) Smoking Gun? Did the site illegally charge for Streaming Movies?

trichordist:

As the SONY HACK unravels, keep this in mind. It’s about the money.

Originally posted on The Trichordist:

These screen shots appear to show that Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload was selling streaming movies that it did not have the rights to sell.

Megaupload was allegedly paid uploaders per stream from files they uploaded to Megaupload. That is why there were so many links that Google autopopulated Megavideo after you entered Star Wars in the search field.

Then Google estimated that there were 4.3 million web pages that had the words “star wars megavideo” on them.  Legitimate file locker sites like Dropbox, don’t allow any public links to copyrighted content.  In fact Dropbox just banned Boxopus, a torrent tool from using its API.

Megavideo let you play the first 45 minutes of Star Wars and thousands of other movies for free (after they had served you and profited from dozens ads) . . .

But then, to watch past 45 minutes, you had to enter your credit card and pay…

View original 83 more words

Zero Dark Thirty, Best Picture Academy Award Nominee, Exploited by AT&T, Verizon, MetroPCS, Nissan, H&R Block, British Airways, Progresso, and more…

trichordist:

Zero Dark Thirty was also a SONY PICTURES release – this is how piracy is a FOR PROFIT business. The latest hack is intended to create financial harm…

Originally posted on The Trichordist:

We spend most of our time here focused on artists rights as it applies to music and musicians. But we wanted to see if the film industry was having the same challenges as music. We believe in the rights of all creators to consent and compensation for their work (ethical internet principles numbers two and four, respectively).

With the upcoming Academy Awards we wondered if it would be possible to find pirated versions of Zero Dark Thirty. It is  the most talked about film of the year which is nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture. But it could easily be any of the other nominated films, in any of the categories as well. We just picked Zero Dark Thirty. It’s also been widely reported that most of the nominated films have already been pirated and are online.

We were also curious what major brands might…

View original 695 more words

Artists, Know Thy Enemy – Who’s Ripping You Off and How…

trichordist:

With all the talk about Spotify and YouTube Music Key, let’s remember the source of the real problem…

Originally posted on The Trichordist:

Musicians have been getting the short end of the stick for a long time. There are no shortage of stories about the wrong doings of managers, booking agents, etc and of course record labels.

But today we find ourselves in a battle with an enemy few of us understand. If we were to believe the writings and ramblings of the tech blogosphere, than they would have us believe that our enemy is our fans. This is simply not true.

The enemy are the for profit businesses making money from our recordings and songwriting illegally. Let’s be clear about this, our battle is with businesses ripping us off by illegally exploiting our work for profit. This is not about our fans. It is about commercial companies in the businesses of profiting from our work, paying us nothing and then telling us to blame our fans. That is the ultimate in cowardice…

View original 959 more words