Music World Bands Together Against YouTube, Seeking Change to Law

Description:     A few years ago, the biggest enemy of the music industry was Pandora Media. Then Spotify became the target.  Now it is YouTube’s turn.


Date: May 31. 2016


In recent months, the music world has been united to a rare degree in a public fight against YouTube, accusing the service of paying too little in royalties and asking for changes to the law that allows the company to operate the way it does. The battle highlights the need to capture every dollar as listeners’ habits turn to streaming, as well as the industry’s complicated relationship with YouTube.

The dispute has played out in a drumbeat of industry reports, blog posts and opinion columns. Stars like Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and Billy Joel have signed letters asking for changes to copyright laws. Irving Azoff, the manager of artists like the Eagles and Christina Aguilera, criticized YouTube in an interview and in a fiery speech around the Grammy Awards                read rest of story

1.  Do you think changes are needed in the in the copyright laws for the recording  industry?

2.  Do you feel these artists will will be successful in their strategy to capture every dollar from listeners of the digital product?  Why or Why not?


63 thoughts on “Music World Bands Together Against YouTube, Seeking Change to Law

  1. Michael Forster

    Question 1.
    After reading the article, I do believe some sort of change needs to be made to copyright laws. The world has never experienced a technological advancement of this magnitude before: All industries must be able to adapt and grow towards accommodating the changing needs of the world, and by extent the consumers and producers of content. This holds true in all entertainment industries; The internet is currently much too uncontrolled and piracy of musical content is inevitable. However, the “current” (and very outdated) law is harming the music recording industry. Losing more of the profits in the production and release of music is going to heavily harm the incentive of the artists to put out quality content, or even content at all. YouTube is free and Spotify is a paid streaming service. Artists are gravitating towards Spotify and others such as Apple Music because of the increasingly fair compensation. YouTube needs to stop usin outdated laws to its advantage and come clean with artists.

    Question 2.
    While they deserve more compensation, I don’t believe that artists will be entirely successful. In order to reach the biggest audience, something must be sacrificed. Whether that is money for a marketing team, agent, or giving royalties to a record label this is the way it has always been done. These websites are companies and are required to make a profit, therefore they cannot allow any and all profits to be taken .

  2. Todd Bullock

    After reading the New York Times article i do think that changes are needed within the music industry regarding copyright laws. I think a major argument that will be made against changes is that a lot of these musicians are already millionaires and don’t need more money from YouTube. However copyright laws do not only apply to the famous musicians. There are so many smaller musicians who these laws also affect. If copyright laws have not been changed since 1998 then those laws are so outdated that they wouldn’t even acknowledge YouTube and other sites where users can listen to music for free. Technology and the internet are changing every day, sometimes so fast that users miss out on things. With the rapid changes of the internet and users being able to listen to music freely on YouTube the old copyright laws obviously are not working. When someone puts in the time and effort to create something that a user would want to buy then the creator should be compensated for that work. Musicians work in a highly competitive workplace and deserve to be paid the royalties from YouTube.

    I do not think that the artists will be successful in capturing every dollar for their products. Even if copyright laws were to be changed and YouTube created subscription channels to pay for listening to music, other new websites would arise that provide the same music for free. There will always be a way to get that music for free, especially with the rising popularity of streaming. Users don’t even have to download illegally from other piracy sites if they can just stream the music they want.

  3. Erika Lauer

    After reading the article I understand where the artists are coming in regards to wanting the copyright regulations to be updated. The development of technology has resulted in easier access to music, therefore resulting in music artists to not always get the proper royalties for their work. For big artist such as Taylor Swift, missing out on a few royalties is not a huge deal. However, for smaller artist that are missing out on even a couple royalties could be a huge deal for them. I believe that the copyright rules need to change alongside the always-improving technology in order to ensure everyone is getting properly compensated for the work they have done.
    Conversely, an artist trying to capture every dollar for their music is next to impossible due to the fact that it is getting increasingly easier for people to listen to music for free. Even if one isn’t technologically advanced, it is still rather easy to obtain music without paying for it. A solution to this issue could be that artists start to invest more into improving copyright policies, thus them get more and more of their royalties from their music. However, with improvements of copyright policies it is still unlikely that artists will get absolutely every dollar that they deserve for their music, but will definitely get more then they are now. In conclusion, people will always find illegal ways around paying for music no matter how many copyright policies are put into place.

  4. Donovan Goeseels

    Before commenting on the laws and whether or not they should be changed, it is important to remark that thanks to Youtube, many artists are getting attention and views that they would have otherwise never have gotten. After all, it is not specifically a music site, it is a video sharing site. So I am not surprised that they are having some difficulties managing the music artists and labels put on the site.

    No matter what the laws are, there will always be some way to post, listen, and download music from Youtube and other information sharing sites. It is not the artists who are speaking out against Youtube, it is the record labels. They don’t care about the artists, they only care about themselves. If they cared about the artists they would take a lower cut from Youtube’s royalties and give most to the artists. I do not think the laws should change, I think the labels should.

    In order to get the most money for themselves, an artists might have to become independent. With no label to take royalties, and with their own Youtube account, they would receive more money from digital products. It is getting easier and easier to become independent because sharing music has become easier.

  5. Tanner Siemens

    First off, do I think artists will be successful in their strategy to capture every dollar? No, this article talked alot about youtube so I will do the same. If they truly wanted to capture their dollar then youtube isn’t the place to do it. Youtube is a video-sharing site, has been and will hopefully continue to be. They do try and offer royalties to those people that would like, but where does the majority of this money come from? Mainly, its those 30 second advertising before your video, alot of which do not actually payout anything to Youtube unless the 30 seconds is watched, and then they pay per user to watch per video. Millions of users use youtube that’s for sure, but how many of us have actually sat through a 30 second video when we can just skip it and go to our video, unless you press play and walk away and let it play out while you grab a drink or snack. Generally, this a very poor way to make alot of money as a company, one who then has to pay employees on top of running a gigantic server based company able to store all of the billions on billions of videos. Now, the music industry is trying to grab a larger chunk of that.

    To try and make up a larger revenue, as the article suggested, Youtube has released Youtube red in the US (not Canada) and uses it as a subscription based method to remove ads. So generally speaking, Youtube is trying to have you pay out more than the advertising companies per videos that you watch in order to make more revenue. Ok, smart idea or you could do what a large population is already doing and using adblock and magicactions extensions for chrome and you essentially are running Youtube red, for free without actually helping them.

    What I’m trying to get at here is, this fight against Youtube, not the greatest way to maximize your dollar. Yeah I get it, the artists want to be compensated more for their products they are giving out to youtube. However, what I believe is that youtube should just be used as a way for people to sample the music, and watch some good music videos. Its a low cost way to advertise yourself, except you’re now expecting to be payed more for your own advertising…

    If they are going to fight anything they should fight the piracy and how easy it is to grab an mp3/mp4 of a youtube video for free and then drop that unto your music libraries instead of paying. Maybe they should try and advertise direct buying through their own sites rather than this continual fighting with third party systems (apple).

  6. Stephanie Martin

    1. Do you think changes are needed in the copyright laws for the recording industry?

    It is easy to see both sides of the argument, however after reading this article I feel that it is very clear that there needs to be changes made to the copyright laws. Technology is advancing at such a rapid rate and in return causing the music industry to evolve in a way we have never seen before. As said in the article a law passed in 1998 is going to be outdated. With so many more platforms to share and download music we need a law that is more relevant to this constantly evolving industry. That being said it sounds as if youtube is making a conscious effort to control how much pirated videos are being posted.

    2. Do you feel these artists will be successful in their strategy to capture every dollar from listeners at the digital product? Why/why not?

    I fully believe that artist should be compensated for the music they produce, just as a store owner or clothing designer would be. It was shocking to find out how little youtube is paying them in royalties and that vinyl record sales provide more income. That being said I think it is unrealistic to think they will capture every dollar from listeners. There are too many sites/apps to manage and track for that to be possible. If it’s not Spotify, its youtube and if it’s not youtube some other site will pirate the music. As mentioned in the article these music providing platforms are a great way to promote and gain exposure, after all where would Justin Bieber be without youtube? If the actual sites are not going to fairly compensate artist through royalties, I think artist will have to use these sites to promote and make money in different ways.

  7. Sam Gleim

    Piracy accompanies the internet and is therefore unavoidable. The act of pirating, whether it be the music industry, movie industry, or educational textbooks, is continually evolving. The fact that it is always progressing makes it an impossible task to eliminate it. However, it is feasible to diminish the amount of piracy being practiced. That being said, I think the staff of YouTube is actively trying to decrease the amount of piracy on their site. YouTube has established the Content ID function that allows copyright owners to be aware of their work being pirated. Not only is the owner aware of the pirating they also have authority to decide to take the pirated work offline. This may be viewed as inconvenient due to the sheer number of piracy acts per day. However, it is a step in the right direction, keeping in mind piracy will never cease to exist.
    The desire to alter the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is futile and a bit naïve. Due to piracy constantly advancing, to change the law would be more costly and time consuming than it is worth. The law will always be one step behind those who pirate, and continually proposing to alter the law will not prevent pirating.
    I propose that YouTube continue promoting and progressing the Content ID feature as it is decreasing pirating. However, in regards to the revenue aspect YouTube should seriously consider paying more for the content it is receiving from musicians. The stem of the argument is money. Pay the musicians and copyright owners more and YouTube will not have to endure the negative publicity. In regards to artists’ ability to capture “every dollar” from those who listen is not feasible as piracy is inevitable. The most realistic approach is to continue actively trying to implement programs, such as Content ID, to deter pirating and for YouTube to pay the artists more. The proposal may not be ideal, however it is realistic.

  8. Brooke Torgerson

    Yes I think that changes need to be made with the copyright laws involving the relationship between the recording industry and music streaming apps and websites such as Youtube. Youtube provides free music streaming to its users, many of which have found ways to use Youtube, or sites like it, to illegally download music, cutting into the profits of the artists whose material was downloaded and viewed. In order to create more royalty revenue for the artists I believe that small changes to the royalty and copyright laws could help immensely. For example, a deal could be arranged regarding the views on a clip. The more views the more royalties payed out by the company.
    I do not think the artists will be able to capture every dollar from listeners because with today’s technology it is very difficult to prevent free streaming and downloading. Sites like Youtube are becoming more and more popular. Majority of people now carry devices that allow a person to download the music from online, some legal some not, this takes away an abundance of hard copy record sales, as the market is just not the same. As technology advances the strategies for releasing music needs to evolve as well if artists want to capture more money from the listeners.

  9. Maximilian Gundl

    For question Nr1:
    A change, and not a small on is definitely required in the recording industry, as the article mentions several examples on how internet giants such as Youtube are able to nearly exploit the artists. The Digital Millennium Copyright act seems to me as too much old-fashioned as it has no direct prescriptions for the “third” use of media. Literally the comparison between Spotify and Youtube identifies the major problem; one appears to pay an appropriate amount of money for the rightful use of the songs and one is just simply using grey zones in the law to avoid payments; payments which are in my eyes mandatory to pay although they seem to be significant. The article gives quite good examples on how Youtube manages to avoid paying and tries to justify this with other payments. It is simply not working. When comparing the revenue generated with old vinyl labels- which are more than old fashioned to me- and digital music, it is more than obvious that something is going terribly wrong in the payment sector of digital media. Although other sectors of social media may be affected by a updated law, the risk of let this happening is pretty low as the law can be specialized in a way which sets a focus on the recording industry.

    For Question Nr2:
    I believe that they will not be that successful because the old days of vinyls are just simply gone. The trend to music streaming exploded like 2 -3 years ago and this will definitely not evaporate. The trend for streaming and having multiple artist´s songs for 10$ a month is much more attractive for the consumer as buying 10 songs of an artist for 10$. This strategy is in my eyes more determined to fail than to succeed. It´s partly even their own fault by allowing Youtube to have their songs or videos for popularity reasons.

  10. Lauren Sturdy

    1. Do you think changes are needed in the in the copyright laws for the recording industry?
    The emergence and continued growth and evolution of music streaming requires that copyright laws be re-examined for the recording industry. In order for laws to be relevant they need to be reevaluated to ensure they are providing a level of protection that is on par with current technology.

    2. Do you feel these artists will will be successful in their strategy to capture every dollar from listeners of the digital product?  Why or Why not?

    I do think artist will eventually be able to capture more dollars from listeners. As the popularity of streaming services increase and laws change, companies like Spotify will end up having to pay increased amounts in royalties or risk losing access to content all together.


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