Michael Price: Composer for Sherlock blames Google and YouTube for suppressing rewards songwriters receive | Independent UK

More artists, performers, songwriters and composers are getting it.

“YouTube are effectively paying incredibly low rates and are not a willing partner to negotiate licences and that pulls down the rates from someone like Spotify, which has to compete in their free service with YouTube,” he told The Independent on Sunday.

“The value from the music we create is being sucked out into the companies that aggregate it, [but] YouTube … are not happy to set adequate streaming rates. There is a huge shift of value from artists to tech companies.”

READ THE WHOLE STORY AT THE INDEPENDENT UK:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/michael-price-composer-for-sherlock-blames-google-and-youtube-for-suppressing-rewards-songwriters-receive-10447054.html

“User Pirated Content” Is Core Internet Advertising Model (Which is Why Streaming Rates Can’t Increase Until Piracy is Decreased)

Google’s YouTube is a business built on infringement as a model. So called “User Generated Content” is really just code for what the majority of the high value media on YouTube really is, “User PIRATED Content“.

In other words there’s nothing internet advertising loves more than illegally monetizing the work of professional creators, and thus driving down the true fair market rates for those works (keep this in mind when thinking about Spotify and streaming services!).

Below are excerpts from emails discovered during the Viacom Vs. YouTube lawsuit and published  by DailyFinance:

• A July 29 email conversation about competing video sites laid out the importance to YouTube of continuing to use the copyrighted material. “Steal it!” Chen said , and got a reply from Hurley, “hmmm, steal the movies?” Chen’s answer: “we have to keep in mind that we need to attract traffic. how much traffic will we get from personal videos? remember, the only reason our traffic surged was due to a video of this type.”

And this is not the only smoking gun, here’s a quote from DailyTech regarding Google’s Ad Sales and the site EasyDownloadCenter: 

In fact, Google’s ad teams even made suggestions designed to optimize conversion rates by using keywords targeted to pirated content – such as suggesting downloading films still in theatrical release, that obviously were not available yet in any authorized format for home viewing.

According to PCWorld this added up to some decent money…

EasyDownloadCenter.com and TheDownloadPlace.com generated US$1.1 million in revenue between 2003 and 2005, and Google received $809,000 for advertising, the Journal reported.

Both YouTube and Google Search function similarly by monetizing infringing “User Pirated Content” with advertising. On YouTube users upload infringing music and videos of all varieties which attract the consumers to the globally dominant and monopolistic video streaming site.

Remember the email above where the YouTube founders admit “how much traffic will we get from personal videos? remember, the only reason our traffic surged was due to a video of this type”. And by “this type” they mean professionally produced and created media by artists, musicians, filmmakers and other creative professionals that are of high value in attracting an audience – an audience that can then be monetized with advertising.

Google Search operates in very similar way (no coincidence) by monetizing (mostly with advertising) millions infringing URLs on sites primarily dedicated to distribution of copyrighted works via p2p networks and bittorrent.

Over 50 Major Brands Funding Music Piracy, It’s Big Business!

LouReedCHEVY

But don’t take our word for it, here’s a report from DigiDay (owned by The Economist):

According to AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley, it’s an easy problem to fix, but ad companies are attracted by the revenue torrent sites can generate for them. Kelley said his company refuses to serve ads to torrent sites and other sites facilitating the distribution of pirated content. It’s easy to do technically, he said, but others refuse to do it.

“We want everyone to technically stop their customers from advertising on these sites, but there’s a financial incentive to keep doing so,” he said. “Companies that aren’t taking a stand against this are making a lot of money.”

What about the removing infringing material with a DMCA notice you ask? Well, we’re glad you did… here’s how it “works”…


DMCA “Takedown” Notices: Why “Takedown” Should Become “Take Down and Stay Down” and Why It’s Good for Everyone | Nova Edu


 

Safe Harbor Not Loophole: Five Things We Could Do Right Now to Make the DMCA Notice and Takedown Work Better


 

Why Apple Music and Tidal are the right business models with the wrong optics.

Since Spotify launched in 2010 the music business has been in an existential crisis. Convinced that ad-supported unlimited free access to on-demand music would ultimately grow recorded music revenues the major labels opted into what may be their worst decision ever. This decision aided by an estimated 18% (or more) equity position in Spotify has not grown overall music revenues over the past five years. In fact, for the year ending 2014 global revenues reported by the IFPI stated that revenues were at the lowest point in decades. So what to do?

For starters the first and most obvious solution would be to eliminate the unlimited ad-supported free access to on-demand music. This is the model that made ad funded, for profit piracy so popular on over half a million infringing links from unlicensed businesses served by Google search and delivered to your inbox by Google Alerts complete with social media sharing buttons. These unlicensed businesses are receiving hundreds of millions of DMCA notices annually from artists and rights holders. Let us not forget that this is also the same model that Daniel Ek helped to perfect as the CEO of u-torrent the worlds most installed bit-torrent client. Ek has said he’d rather shut down Spotify than give up his failed ad supported business model.  We thought Spotify was built on converting ad supported (where Spotify board member Google makes money serving ads) to subscription (where artists make money).  So much for that.

And this is who the record business is taking notes from? Perhaps that’s why Universal is restructuring.  This may have seemed like a good idea to some senior executives but it turned out to be a complete disaster.  Time to change.

Despite moves in the right direction by Tidal and Apple Music the optics for both of these companies at launch of their respective streaming models have been somewhere between missteps and an absolute disaster. Dismissing for a second that both Apple and Tidal could be the targets of public relations campaigns by competing corporations such as Spotify, Pandora and Google (YouTube) let’s look at what each is offering. Tidal and Apple Music offer no unlimited ad-supported free access to on-demand music. That means no business to those selling advertising… like, Google.

There is nothing more important to the future of the recorded music ecosystem than removing the unlimited ad-supported free access to on-demand music.

For all intents and purposes even free streaming is ownership and here’s how you can tell. If you can chose it, and access it, you essentially own it whether you pay for it or not. Streaming replaces ownership at the consumer level but does not compare to ownership on price. At some point there needs to be a market correction to properly value music consumption.

The launch of Tidal should have been a rallying cry for all artists to support a business model that limited free streaming, incentivized paid subscriptions through exclusive offerings and diversified consumer experiences with higher quality streaming formats. This is the model we should be focused on. As the Buddhist saying goes, “trust the teaching, if not the teacher.” In other words it doesn’t matter if you don’t like Jay-Z and Madonna.  And securities laws makes the whole stock issue so difficult that Tidal would have been far better off saying they’d pay all participating artists a bonus in the cash from the company’s own stock sales rather than get down the rabbit hole of who gets stock and who doesn’t.

Unfortunately the celebrity that could have united a community, instead divided it through messaging that most would acknowledge appeared to be less than inclusive. Worse, the optics appeared to be elitist whereby those already rich and famous seemed to be more focused on their own fortunes as opposed to a sustainable ecosystem for the next generation of musicians.

Perhaps if each of the artists at the Tidal launch would have appeared with a developing artist they were supporting the messaging and optics would have been more inclusive and more about community than celebrity.

We have to acknowledge what kind of business we want going forward. Clearly, unlimited ad-supported free access to on-demand music is not working. Both Tidal and Apple Music do NOT have unlimited ad-supported free access to on-demand music. So what’s the problem?

Following the Apple Music launch Spotify announced it had achieved 75m global users (we love that, “users” no kidding) and 20m paid subscribers. So let’s look at the numbers in relationship to what Apple Music could bring to the market place. Keep in mind that 55m of Spotify’s user base are NOT paying for the service. Based on reporting we’ve been provided the free tier accounts for 58% of plays which is only 16% of the total revenue.

With all the back and forth between Apple and labels and the announcement last week by NMPA of the publisher’s deal—freely negotiated without government “help” by the way–it’s pretty clear that Apple announced Apple Music without all their ducks in a row contractually.  This opened up an opportunity for haters who are just gonna hate.  Now that the picture is becoming a bit clearer, we feel more confident than ever that most of the noise is coming from competitors who would like to create yet another consent decree situation but this time for artists and record companies.

So there are a few questions we need to ask about the launch of Apple Music to evaluate the trade-off for eliminating the unlimited ad-supported free access to on-demand music. But before we ask those questions, we need to understand the mechanics of the Apple Music ecosystem.

First, the 90 days free without payment at launch requires the understanding that all consumers will get 90 days free at Apple Music whether they sign up at launch or at any other point later. This means that some people will opt in at launch, some will opt in at some later time. Based on what we have seen of how these streaming subscription services scale we have to ask a few questions.

How many people will have access to opt into Apple Music Streaming on launch? We’ll assume it’s the entire installed user base who upgrade into iOS 8.4. Here’s some back of the napkin math from the iPhone 6 launch when Apple dropped that U2 album into everyone’s Itunes.

According to CBS News 33 Million people of the 500 Million Global Itunes users “experienced” the U2 album. That’s just 6.7 percent of Apple’s reported consumer base.

So what kind of adoption and conversion rate could one expect from the launch of Apple Music? 10 million paid subscribers? 20 million paid subscribers? 50 million paid subscribers? It’s hard to know, but anything north of 20 million pretty much beats Spotify on paid subscribers.  And if you are looking for the company that has defined a paid music service, who you gonna call?  Apple or Spotify?  Who do you trust going forward?

What if Apple is able to convert 30 million or more consumers to paid streaming in only four months when it has taken Spotify five years to acquire 20 million paid?


BREAKING NEWS AT PRESS TIME. APPLE WILL PAY ARTISTS DURING THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD!
Apple Reverses Course, Will Pay Artists During Apple Music Free Trial | Mac Rumors


Of course, Apple should use a couple of bucks from it’s 178 billion dollars in cash reserves to compensate musicians for the consumption of their music during the initial 90 day launch of Apple Music. This would  incentivized artists to promote the service as being both fair and artist friendly and give Apple the thumbs up from the people that matter the most, the artists themselves. Apple’s purchase of Beats was a three billion dollar acquisition, so surely there’s enough money in those coffers to pay artists something.

To put these numbers into perspective Spotify claimed to have paid artists and rights holders two billion dollars globally from it’s initial launch in 2008 through October of 2014.

Here’s some more perspective from asymco.com: In 2012, global music revenues were reported at $16.5 billion, with $5.6 billion coming from digital music. Of that $5.6 billion in music downloads, Apple paid labels $3.4 billion for iTunes sales, which is about 60% of the total digital revenues industry wide—IN LESS THAN ONE YEAR.

In 2012, Apple’s transactional digital model created more revenue for artists and rights holders in less than a year in then it took for Spotify to earn almost 6 years.

If we want to break the death spiral of unlimited ad-supported free access to on-demand music we have to embrace the trade-off of offering limited free trial periods as an incentive for consumers to make the switch.

And by the way—compare the classy way that Eddie Cue of Apple handled Taylor Swift compared to Daniel Ek who comes off like a semi-stalker.  Who understands artist relations the best?

The problem with ad-supported unlimited free access to on-demand music is illustrated below showing Spotify domestic streams and revenues. It’s just math and it’s time to move on. Apple Music and Tidal are showing us the way.

 

Google Proxies Double Down on Piracy AND Child Prostitution

Where do we even begin?

Google anti-copyright proxies Electronic Frontier Foundation and Center For Democracy and Technology file amicus briefs in support of defendants in Backpages Child Prostitution case. Wow.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/05/21/backpage_ruling_dismisses_child_prostitution_allegations/ 

Meanwhile down in Florida a very modest bill aimed at pirate websites gets the hysterical “break the internet” treatment from other Google proxies.

Center For Democracy and Technology has a busy week, by also opposing this  bill.  I guess because it’s important to be able to buy music from anonymous pirate websites on the internet?    And artists really want their music sold and distributed by anonymous websites because it’s so much easier to get paid when we don’t know who it is that is selling our music.  Right?

Not to be outdone Fight for the Future the biggest fake-grassroots-internet-corporation-ass-kissing organization of all time weighs in as well.   Fight for the Future does its usual routine of making up the most far fetched interpretation of the bill (what most reasonable people would term “a total lie”) and tries to whip up the old “censorship” hysteria.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 6.41.54 PM
Did Holmes Wilson and Tiffiniy Cheng dream  “One day I’m gonna grow up to totally manipulate the public by demagoguing on behalf multi billion dollar internet corporations and get paid for doing it.”  Because if they did it would appear they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.  There’s a special place in…. er… uh… Mountain View for these two.

And in case you are just joining us.  Why does Google care?  Google is an advertising company. And they are still advertising on many sites like these. They’ll apparently advertise on anything. Including ISIS training videos.  Report here.

PROXY:  Acting on behalf of another party. For instance filing an amicus brief on behalf of the other party. Like here, here. herehere, here and here.

You still don’t think these groups are Google Proxies?   Have you been sniffing glue?

http://voxindie.org/google-funded-interest-groups-come-defense-sugar-daddy/

https://musictechpolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/cy-pres.jpg

http://www.washingtonpost.com/Politics/How-Google-Is-Transforming-Power-And-Politicsgoogle-Once-Disdainful-Of-Lobbying-Now-A-Master-Of-Washington-Influence/2014/04/12/51648b92-B4d3-11e3-8cb6-284052554d74_Story.html

Media Democracy Fund gave over a million dollars to Fight For the Future.  Google at the very least indirectly funds the Media Democracy Fund.  They may directly fund  MDF but no one knows for sure because they don’t fully disclose their funding.   Certainly there is significant overlap between Google Public Policy Fellowships and grants made by MDF. I’ll come to your house and wash your car if it turns out they aren’t funding MDF.  Regardless FFTF is right there with Google on every single issue.

 

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.

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

* MUST READ * YouTube’s Heartbreaking Extortion Of Musicians Begins… | Zoë Keating Explains New Rules

Below is the opener, after that – it gets worse…

“My Google Youtube rep contacted me the other day. They were nice and took time to explain everything clearly to me, but the message was firm: I have to decide. I need to sign on to the new Youtube music services agreement or I will have my Youtube channel blocked.
This new music service agreement covers my Content ID account and it includes mandatory participation in Youtube’s new subscription streaming service, called Music Key, along with all that participation entails. Here are some of the terms I have problems with:

1) All of my catalog must be included in both the free and premium music service. Even if I don’t deliver all my music, because I’m a music partner, anything that a 3rd party uploads with my info in the description will be automatically included in the music service too.

2) All songs will be set to “montetize”, meaning there will be ads on them.

3) I will be required to release new music on Youtube at the same time I release it anywhere else. So no more releasing to my core fans first on Bandcamp and then on iTunes.

4) All my catalog must be uploaded at high resolution, according to Google’s standard which is currently 320 kbps.

5) The contract lasts for 5 years.”

Seriously the whole post is an absolute must read, in full, probably at least two or three times to have it all sink in.

READ THE FULL POST ON ZOE KEATING’S BLOG:
http://zoekeating.tumblr.com/post/108898194009/what-should-i-do-about-youtube

Sons of Anarchy’s Kurt Sutter Is A Rock Star for Creators Rights

We love Kurt Sutter’s unapologetic response to Google and Silicon Valley’s assault on creators. Below are links to Kurt’s two editorials that are essential reading for all creators to understand what the “internet economy” means for artists of all disciplines.

Kurt Sutter Attacks Google: Stop Profiting from Piracy (Guest Column) | Variety

Google is in the process of systematically destroying our artistic future, and more importantly, the future of our children and grandchildren. They’re spending tens of millions of dollars each year on eroding creative copyright laws. I believe that if the creative community doesn’t intervene now, and by now, I mean, fucking now — we will be bound to a multigenerational clusterfuck that will take 40 to 50 years to unravel.

The last time this happened was in the 1950s, when the tobacco industry spent millions to hide the truth, and convince everyone that smoking cigarettes wasn’t really dangerous to your health.

Earlier this year, Kurt took to writing a response in Slate to an editorial by Google Lobbyist Marvin Ammori (which lead to a later editorial disclosure of Mr. Ammori’s relationships).

Not-So-Zen and the Art of Voluntary Agreements | Slate

Every writer, producer, actor, musician, director, tech wizard, and fine artist working today needs to be aware of what this all means for our future—we will lose the ability to protect and profit from our own work. Every kid out there who aspires to be an actor or musician or artist: This is your future that’s at stake. More importantly, everyone who enjoys quality entertainment: This impacts you most of all. Content excellence cannot sustain itself if it loses its capacity to reward the talent that creates it. Consider this clunky analogy: If your local car dealership started selling your favorite luxury car for $1,000, then $100, then started giving it away, what do you think would happen to the quality of that vehicle? Before long, the manufacturer would be forced to let go of the skilled laborer, the artisan, and the craftsman, and eventually cut back on everything in the production process. And before long, that fabulous, high-end car you so enjoyed will be a sheet of warped plywood on top of two rusty cans.

Yep, it’s cheap, and it’s shit.

Among the arguments that Kurt brings to light are the use of Merchants Of Doubt tactics by Silicon Valley interests, the mechanics employed by Google and YouTube detailed by The Digital Citizens Alliance and the ability for creatives of all disciplines to join Creative Future for a unified voice against these forces of exploitation.

Artists Take To The Streets to Protest Google/YouTube in NYC | NY Times

Last week, the dispute spilled out into the streets of New York. On Saturday afternoon, a few dozen supporters of the Content Creators Coalition, an artists’ advocacy group, picketed Google’s office in Chelsea, playing New Orleans-style marches on horns and carrying signs like “Economic justice in the digital domain” and “What YouTube pays? Nothing.”

Marc Ribot, a guitarist who has played with stars like Tom Waits and Elvis Costello, summarized how the larger conflict over streaming revenue affected artists’ careers.

“If we can’t make enough from digital media to pay for the record that we’ve just made,” Mr. Ribot said, “then we can’t make another one.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE NEW YORK TIMES:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/25/business/media/small-music-labels-see-youtube-battle-as-part-of-war-for-revenue.html