Informed Digest: Web 2.0 Rip Off, 20 Words, YouTube Monopoly, Google Piracy…

Keeping up & in the know…

Music ● Technology ● Policy: And a Straw Child Will Lead Them: Fan Fiction as an Example of Web 2.0 Double Rip Off

“Like so many others in the tech community, consciously or unconsciously, Ms. Novik equivocates on what Lessig calls the ‘hybrid economy’: ‘Sharing’ at the user level and commercial exploitation at the distribution level. Some take a different view—this is what is sometimes called the ‘Web 2.0 antebellum economy.’ Monetize free labor to allow the distributor capture both the value of the user generated work and any underlying work. Sometimes the distributor shares that value with the user-author but only rarely with the author of the underlying work.”

-Chris Castle

TED: 20 Words that Once Meant Something Very Different

“We’re human. We love to play with words in creative ways. And in the process, we change the language. In retrospect, we often think the changes words undergo are fascinating. May we transfer some of that fascination and wonder—some of the awe that used to make the words awful and awesome synonymous—to the changes we’re witnessing today.”

-Anne Curzan

Digital Music News: Google Receives Its 100 Millionth Piracy Notice, Nothing Changes…

“In the last two and a half years, we have informed the world’s leading search engine more than 100 million times that it is supplying links to sites providing copyright infringing music that pay nothing to artists, songwriters or record producers. And this represents only a fraction of the infringing links supplied by Google, because the search engine caps the amount of piracy notices that rights holders can send.”

-Frances Moore, IFPI

Music ● Technology ● Policy: Should Artists Hitch Their Royalties to Advertising in the YouTube Monopoly?

“The Web 2.0 antebellum economy is designed for one thing and one thing only and that is to enable incumbent gatekeepers like YouTube to extract as much value from artistic works as possible while paying the creators as close to nothing as possible and while paying nothing to the users who create and upload ‘user generated’ clips.


Despite all of Google’s protestations about online tools to help manage content, there’s one tool that Google doesn’t have for the artist who wants no part of the entire YouTube grubbiness. The tool that stops the artist’s work from being made available on YouTube in the first place.”

-Chris Castle

Cognoscenti: Why the Music Business Continues to Stumble Toward Its Demise

“I talk to a lot of young people and the ruling sentiment when it comes to content of any kind is ‘give it up for free or forget about it.’ And we can’t simply blame the kids. The ease of downloading pirated content means my grandmother can do it, and the ubiquity of the practice makes it at least feel somehow legal and ethically permissible. Add to this the paradigm shift that has so many of us streaming music instead of buying it and we’ve become a nation of music fans hastening the death of the thing we profess to love. The one thing about a market economy that can’t be denied is that there has to be a market.


Marx believed capitalism would ultimately fail when the shift to mechanism displaced so many workers there would be no one left with enough money to buy the goods produced. In other words, no buyers, no market, ballgame over. His timing was off. The Industrial Revolution didn’t bring his theory of collapse to fruition, but Internet piracy did, and it’s why the music business as we’ve known it continues to stumble toward its demise.

There’s still great music out there, some of it ‘brought to you by Brand X,’ and some of it, to steal a line from Neil Young, ‘sponsored by no one.’ It’s up to us to decide if it’s worth paying for, and ultimately, if making music is going to be a sustainable endeavor for artists of the future.”

-John Winters

The Trichordist: #SXSW REWIND—Venture Capitalist Admits Artists Cannot Make a Living on Streaming Royalties…

“The grand irony here is that the panel which asked the question ‘Will Artists Make Money on Big Music Platforms?’ not only reported that artists could not, but also suggested that artists needed to focus on selling concert tickets and merchandise. You know, things artists did before the internet.


Mr. Nada’s statement and philosophy that streaming sites should be viewed by artists as a promotional platform more so than a financial one are an admission of the failure of these unprofitable start ups to serve musicians. As such, let artists decide if there is a value proposition in these companies that benefits the artist and allow them to opt out. Not every album should be on streaming services. Not every artist should be on streaming services. And if streaming is nothing more than promotion with little value proposition, than artists need to rethink their relationships and strategies regarding those businesses.”

Music ● Technology ● Policy: Why Can’t Songwriters Audit? A Brief Guide to Statutory Audits Under the U.S. Copyright Act

“Starting around 2000 or so and at an increasing rate ever since, online retailers began using statutory mechanical licenses for streaming services. Online retailers discovered something very important about statutory licenses for streaming mechanicals—nobody could audit them if they complied with the license. Fast forward to 2014—digital services send hundreds of thousands if not millions of statements under Section 115 statutory licenses and Ebenezer Scrooge, CPA signs annual statements of account for every one of them with the certification that no one believes.

And no one can ever check whether the service has given songwriters a straight count. They can’t opt out because the government forces them to license, but they can’t check if they are paid properly because the government won’t let them.

What is odd about this is that there are several other statutory licenses in the US Copyright Act and guess what? All of them require a royalty compliance examination of the licensee. Here’s a high level thumbnail guide to those provisions—as you’ll see, songwriters are the only ones asked to depend on the kindness of strangers.”

-Chris Castle

Digital Music News: Why Streaming Music Isn’t Like Bottled Water…

“People are convinced that there’s a difference between bottled water and tap water. Not enough people feel there’s a difference between ad-based (free) streaming and premium (paid) streaming.


The bottled water industry has convinced its consumers that tap water isn’t safe or clean enough, even though this isn’t necessarily true. The streaming music industry has taught consumers that free streaming is not only sufficient, but a potentially superior option.

The bottled water is successfully competing with free. The streaming music industry is losing against free, and constantly lowering its price or giving away music for free (to… compete with free).


The bottled water industry is often accused of screwing the environment. Streaming music is often accused of screwing artists.”

-Paul Resnikoff


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