Thursday, March 26, 2009

don't mess with the WMG part deux

A month ago I wrote a blog about how Warner Music Group (WMG) muted my 'WLCA' video on Youtube. Well, now they muted my 'portfolio' video. (I used Junior Senior's song 'Move Your Feet' as my theme music) So, I decided to do some more research about this disturbing thing. Look, I know what I did wrong, and I respect the copyrighting and licensing laws and such. But, all of the other 'big 3' music companies seem to be cool by people taking their artists work and posting it for different purposes. So, why the WMG? I'll think of a great place to start.

Warner Brothers has been a well-respected media company since the 1920s, and as we all know, they've been bought out many times, and they have several sister companies. Today, its Time Warner. In the music division they're competing with Universal, Sony and EMI. Their CEO, Edgar Bronfman Jr., stated that they don't make a lot of money with Youtube and, Google, in general. In addition, apparently, there's a lot of backstage drama between Google and Warner. Youtube was forced to mute or pull down videos from WMG artists last year (and still in the process) because of the disagreement between the two parties. It's not just the uploaders (who use the songs without permission) that are hurting. It's also the artists/bands that are signed with the WMG's labels that are feeling the pain. Several up-and-coming artists have greatly utilized the Internet to advertise their music (like Myspace and Youtube) but so many complaints have come from these artists that its definitely easy to make the switch to another label. Even Death Cab for Cutie, who has found success the last few years, is even rumored to boycott the WMG for refusing to upload their Atlantic Records material on Youtube.

I've done my own research on this to learn more, just in case my more-important videos get pulled or muted. In the latest issue of Spin magazine there's a full article about the issue and it's leaning towards sympathetic to the people who want to use the music. If you type in WMG on the Google/Youtube search engine, you'll find plenty of videos that want to fight back with the WMG, and plenty of vlogs to go around. There's also more on Wikipedia. Speaking of which...

It's not just the Youtube people that are hurting from the WMG. It's the video game industry....bigtime. I, as mentioned before, don't care too much for the new crack (Rock Band and the Guitar Heros), but from what I understand, the music industry has extended its life by having artists collect royalties from having their songs played in these games. Its also to help introduce multiple audiences through the older music as well. From what I understand, these games have sold over $100 million...combined. And here's the WMG CEO as quoted: 'The amount being paid to the music industry, even though these games are entirely dependent on the content we own and control, is far too small, and will not license to those games'. (Source: Wikipedia) and at one time there were rumors that MTV Games (Rockband's publisher) has boycotted the WMG, but it has so far been proven untrue by both parties. I'd like to think that its happening though :)

Overall, its not the record labels that are the enemy. Sure, they've made bad decisions to influence the music industry's downturn spiral. But the real enemy is really the hypocritical, clueless mind of Edgar Bronfman Jr. that those who care about the music industry should look at. So, to the Warner Music Group, here's a choice: a) grow up, keep up with the times and technology, show some love to those who want to spread your artists/groups work (if not the wrong or right way) or b) let yourselves self-destruct and be hated. Again, its their choice.

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