Thread: Brutally honest predictions

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  1. #1041
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    Obviously you aren't saying this for my benefit since I've made the same argument probably dozens of times in this thread.
    Nope. I'm just explaining it for the benefit of those who are late to the party. May as well get it over now...
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  2. #1042
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    It isn't my house that isn't in order. If it is, please explain.

    I take an indie perspective.
    Nobby, would you mind explaining what you mean when you said you take an indie perspective. I have some general presumptions of Indie vs Major... based on bad 90's MTV bits probably... but I genuinely doubt I understand most of the important distinctions between the two, nor how those differences impact the industry.

    thx

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  3. #1043
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    DRM CAN very much work for audio. It simply requires a deep level of co-operation from the OS developers that has never been available.

    Audio fingerprinting is very real and it can prevent copying from a microphone if no ownership is tied to the device being used to record.
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  4. #1044
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    DRM CAN very much work for audio. It simply requires a deep level of co-operation from the OS developers that has never been available.

    No. It can't because you can still copy the analog signal, which is beyond the control of any OS. You can prevent copying the digital recording but once the signal becomes analog that's it. And the signal MUST become analog at some point, at least until we become cyborgs that can accept digital signals directly into the brain.

    You'd have to be able to embed DRM firmware in every audio device in the world and that's simply not possible. There's too much existing hardware.

    And you could still copy analog playback.

    Analog audio systems don't need an OS to run.

    And even so you'd need backward compatibility with unprotected legacy recordings, home recordings, etc.


    Audio fingerprinting is very real and it can prevent copying from a microphone if no ownership is tied to the device being used to record.
    I understand that recognition is possible but I don't see how that really helps.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  5. #1045
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    Nobby, would you mind explaining what you mean when you said you take an indie perspective. I have some general presumptions of Indie vs Major... based on bad 90's MTV bits probably... but I genuinely doubt I understand most of the important distinctions between the two, nor how those differences impact the industry.
    I was responding to your question "it's an uphill battle to fight the tech giants, but how can you even consider that before getting your own house in order?

    What are we being blamed for?

    Within this conversation it seems as though you think that there is a certain order in which things have to be fixed and you're placing the onus on the music biz while deflecting it from the tech biz.

    Since none of us involved in this conversation are currently involved with the Major Labels that are doing whatever backroom deals are being done (and I've never been affiliated with Major Labels) your question sounds sort of analogous to this:

    "Shouldn't you do something about the kid's math problem whose family you've never met at the end of the block before you address the bulldozer that's about to level your house?"

    Okay that was a little weird. Let me try again.

    "Reno, shouldn't you do something for the problems at IBM?"

    "I don't work for IBM"

    "OH."

    Spotify's business model requires it to stiff Indies while giving lavish salaries and perqs to its employees and officers.

    From an Indie perspective:

    Nobody is forcing Indies put their premium content on Spotify.

    Google, however, is forcing Indies to allow third parties to put Indies' premium content on Youtube.

    If an artist is currently signed to a major label and doesn't have a lot of clout, that artist could very well be being screwed by his label under the current regime since stock options are separate from royalties as John explained earlier.

    But anyone who isn't currently signed can (and should) avoid signing a contract with a Major Label unless the terms are really generous, which to my understanding is pretty unusual compared to the 20th century.

    The problem is with people distributing your work with no agreement or contract and little or no compen$ation.

    That has nothing to with Major Labels. So, no, we don't have to "first get our house in order."
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

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  6. #1046
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    I was responding to your question "it's an uphill battle to fight the tech giants, but how can you even consider that before getting your own house in order?

    What are we being blamed for?

    Within this conversation it seems as though you think that there is a certain order in which things have to be fixed and you're placing the onus on the music biz while deflecting it from the tech biz.
    I want to stress that I'm not pretending to "know" anything. I'm conversing or speculating about it at best. I think a more accurate representation of what I was getting at is that I'm looking for an order of operations which would be advantageous.
    I'm also not looking to accuse one and shield another. I'm just trying to work through how making a change in one place might lead to a change in another.

    When my old man was teaching me to play pool he'd always say, make the easy shots first and the hard shots will get easier.
    ...then he'd suckerpunch me and tell me I needed to be on the lookout for that in pool halls. He was equal parts sage and son of a bitch. Given some presumptions I had (see below) I thought it might be easier to fix things inside the industry first. Get the majors to knock off the harm they are causing by enabling groups like Spotify. Presumably that would have given you a stronger position, at least a more unified one, when taking on the next problem.

    Since none of us involved in this conversation are currently involved with the Major Labels that are doing whatever backroom deals are being done (and I've never been affiliated with Major Labels) your question sounds sort of analogous to this:

    "Shouldn't you do something about the kid's math problem whose family you've never met at the end of the block before you address the bulldozer that's about to level your house?"

    Okay that was a little weird. Let me try again.

    "Reno, shouldn't you do something for the problems at IBM?"

    "I don't work for IBM"

    "OH."
    Makes sense...the second one anyway. Sounds like I'm incorrectly lumping too many things together. I wasn't separating out the actions of the majors from "the industry". My thinking was that the industry more or less revolved around the majors or at went through it in some way.

    If you don't know off the top of your head that's okay, but maybe someone does. Do you know what percentage of the music industry's money flows through the major labels and what doesn't?

    I also don't have a good feel for where people inside the industry stand with the major labels. Are they good for it, are they bad? Were they once good but now bad? Are there some nuances that don't make that a black or white situation?

    From an Indie perspective:

    Nobody is forcing Indies put their premium content on Spotify.

    Google, however, is forcing Indies to allow third parties to put Indies' premium content on Youtube.
    ...
    The problem is with people distributing your work with no agreement or contract and little or no compen$ation.

    That has nothing to with Major Labels. So, no, we don't have to "first get our house in order."
    Thank you. This makes sense to me. As noted above I've more or less lumped everyone on to the same team. Meaning from top to bottom in the industry, there was some affiliation/influence with how the major labels behaved. That they were the spearhead, but were in someway guided by all the other industry members around them.

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  7. #1047
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    I want to stress that I'm not pretending to "know" anything. I'm conversing or speculating about it at best.
    I do that. I'll make a statement that I'm not sure is correct, knowing that if it's incorrect someone here will set me straight.

    There's more value in learning something than in looking like an expert.

    When my old man was teaching me to play pool he'd always say, make the easy shots first and the hard shots will get easier.
    ...then he'd suckerpunch me and tell me I needed to be on the lookout for that in pool halls.

    It really isn't a sucker punch if you can see it coming.


    BTW, that was one of the blame-the-victim excuses for Tech to rob creatives:

    That the creative industries should have magically anticipating what tech was up to and create their own digital distro/ streaming companies that would somehow, magically be immune to piracy.

    Given some presumptions I had (see below) I thought it might be easier to fix things inside the industry first. Get the majors to knock off the harm they are causing by enabling groups like Spotify. Presumably that would have given you a stronger position, at least a more unified one, when taking on the next problem.
    Indies don't get to tell the Majors what to do, though.

    Majors, huge indies (like Big Machine) and major acts are usually in a much different position.

    If Johnny Oklahoma puts out a record now, he needs to make enough to pay for making the record, pay whomever helped make the record, pay for living expenses and have enough left ovcer to make another record.

    IMO his best bet vis-a-vis Spotify would be to put non-premium content on Spotify and hold back on the premium content. A lot of people do that.

    I call this method "Show them some leg but don't give away the store."

    So he would put files up on Spotify of, say, himself being interviewed and/or maybe a live cut or two. The album he worked his guts out on wouldn't be available on Spotify.

    Way on the other end of the spectrum you have the Rolling Stones.

    The Rolling Stones:

    1) already have more money than god, because...

    2) they sold zillions of albums and singles back when there was virtually no piracy and records sold for a premium. The Stones made so much money that they were ripped off and lost a fortune and turned around and made a fortune again. And again. And their label, Decca/ London, undoubtably bankrolled many acts with the money they made from the sales of the Stones' records.

    3)The Stones have all their albums (AFAIK) on Spotify

    They obviously don't need to make more money; this is gravy.

    3a) Due to the size and value of their catalog, I highly suspect that they got a streaming rate that was "more equal" than most. We don't get to see their secret deal, though. Led Zeppelin held their material from Spotify for a long time, now they have their whole catalog there. You can bet they got a special streaming rate also.

    My point is that there is a wide range in what it means to have your material on Spotify depending on your position.

    Major Labels have a lot of deep catalog material that stopped selling years ago and is enjoying new-found life on streaming services. Again, those records mostly made all the money anyone thought they ever would back in the 20th century; anything additional is gravy.

    Someone starting out now is in a starkly different position.


    Makes sense...the second one anyway. Sounds like I'm incorrectly lumping too many things together. I wasn't separating out the actions of the majors from "the industry". My thinking was that the industry more or less revolved around the majors or at went through it in some way.

    If you don't know off the top of your head that's okay, but maybe someone does. Do you know what percentage of the music industry's money flows through the major labels and what doesn't?
    My answer to that question is actually the punchline of an old joke:

    I don't know, and I don't care.

    (The joke is: What is the difference between ignorance and apathy?)

    To me, the question "Do you know what percentage of the music industry's money flows through the major labels and what doesn't?" is no more relervant than "Do you know what the prevailing wage is for bamboo carvers in Southeast Asia?"

    I am no more signed to a major label than I am a Southeast Asian bamboo carver.

    I'll answer you question, though, so I don't leave you hanging.
    "Do you know what percentage of the music industry's money flows through the major labels
    Most of it, AFAIK.

    and what doesn't?"
    The rest of it.

    I also don't have a good feel for where people inside the industry stand with the major labels. Are they good for it, are they bad?
    I think that depends on whom you talk to. It isn't a one-size-fits-all situation.

    Were they once good but now bad?
    My feeling is that while there were always bad actors (more often managers than labels, probably) labels have much less money for advances and since record sales tanked they are taking more money from artists' touring and merch.

    The overall label situation is worse regardless of the size of the label

    Are there some nuances that don't make that a black or white situation?
    Yes. There is a wide variety of different individual artist contracts with individual terms specific to them

    Thank you. This makes sense to me. As noted above I've more or less lumped everyone on to the same team.
    I think of it as being like a lake.

    The major label guy is in a yacht. I'm in a canoe.

    Piracy drains the lake.

    To make the metaphor work better, the canoe and yacht have the same draft so they both get stranded at the same time.
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

    IMTBO = In My Thoroughly Biased Opinion
    CMIIW = Correct Me If I'm Wrong
    Never underestimate the amount of contempt a failed musician has for those of us who are still trying.
    If the party's good enough, you can actually suck to a remarkable degree.

    Greedle
  8. #1048
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    I thought it might be easier to fix things inside the industry first. Get the majors to knock off the harm they are causing by enabling groups like Spotify. Presumably that would have given you a stronger position, at least a more unified one, when taking on the next problem. r
    How the hell do you do that? The majors ARE Spotify, or 18% of Spotify, anyway.

    And Pandora.

    The majors aren't part of Apple, but that's like looking toward a rattlesnake to save you from a cobra.

    The big problem with the majors now is that they are no longer in the music business. They're all subsidiaries of megacorporations whose sole loyalty is to the shareholders and the board of directors that works for them. They're not in the music business, they're in the stock business.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  9. #1049
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    Berry Gordy used to remind us that there were ten tool and dye shops in Detroit that were larger, far more profitable companies than Motown.

    The majors have always been David against the SillyConMan Valley banksters and their offspring such as Google, Amazon, Apple and Micro$oft.

    What speaks volumes is that Amazon, Apple and Google have all begun producing music and television.
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions


    BTW, that was one of the blame-the-victim excuses for Tech to rob creatives:

    That the creative industries should have magically anticipating what tech was up to and create their own digital distro/ streaming companies that would somehow, magically be immune to piracy.
    Except that that "idewa" is a great st(r)eaming pile of horse turds from the get-go. Lies, out of whole cloth.

    There were AT LEAST two streaming services BEFORE Napster. in the days when music piracy was shunned and derided by "real" (i.e. software) pirates, whoi wouldn't touch music with a 10 foot pole because it didn't carry copy protection and was therefore unsportsmanlike.

    Those two companies were RealMusic (later Real Networks) and Liquid Audio. I actually responded to an employment ad from Liquid and went to an interview. Turned out that they weren't looking for audio people at all (contrary to their ad), they were looking for drones to feed CDs into PCs for encoding. I didn't get the job - overqualified. (Too bad, they had great perks - game room, cafeteria, lots of nice potted plants, laid back environment, fuyll benefits package, right by the commute train from SF.) That was at least a year before Napster. They were (IIRC) a subscription based service incorporating moderately heavy DRM on the stream. They were doing OK until Napster came along and killed them dead. Booming, really - couldn't feed those encoding PCs fast enough...Killed Real's streaming service, too, but Real repurposed the company and limped along a few more years before giving up.

    The point is that there were real efforts to build DRM protected streaming services well in advance of Napster, which had a real chance of success - if the industry hadn't dropped the ball on criminal piracy prosecutions when Napster came along.


    If Johnny Oklahoma puts out a record now, he needs to make enough to pay for making the record, pay whomever helped make the record, pay for living expenses and have enough left ovcer to make another record.

    IMO his best bet vis-a-vis Spotify would be to put non-premium content on Spotify and hold back on the premium content. A lot of people do that.

    I call this method "Show them some leg but don't give away the store."

    So he would put files up on Spotify of, say, himself being interviewed and/or maybe a live cut or two. The album he worked his guts out on wouldn't be available on Spotify.
    Thanks for the mention!

    Johnny Oklahoma managed to recoup enough on the first release to pay for the mastering on the second one, which has been delayed by about a year so far by forced relocation and associated economic catastrophe which totally disrupted his studio operations and delayed finishing mixing the record. At present there is no money to pay for manufacturing hard copy as forced relocation has essentially killed sales in his former core market. As a result he has put the album on Tunecore, which promises to deliver it to streaming and retail services around the globe, allowing him to not make money everywhere, and depriving hard copy customers in those markets of the truly beautiful album design on which he laid out significant money for the enjoyment of his fans and to give due credit to those involved in creation of the record.

    I really don't see any point of putting material on Spotify that nobody wants to hear. If I was Radiohead then sure, it would make sense, but as an unknown artist trying to break into public awareness outside the immediate SF area I don't see it doing any good.


    I'm tired. I'm really, really tired.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  11. #1051
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    I really don't see any point of putting material on Spotify that nobody wants to hear.
    I don't see the point of recording material that nobody wants to hear.

    as an unknown artist trying to break into public awareness outside the immediate SF area I don't see it doing any good.
    It would only be good for if you heard an artist's name from a friend or read about them somewhere and put that into Spotify's search engine to get a better idea.


    It's unlikely that anyone would find anything they hadn't heard about on Spotify, unless it's on a popular playlist. I get the impression that those are Spotify's version of payola.

    BTW, almost everyone is outside the immediate SF area, but I'm not sure that that's a big advantage
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

    IMTBO = In My Thoroughly Biased Opinion
    CMIIW = Correct Me If I'm Wrong
    Never underestimate the amount of contempt a failed musician has for those of us who are still trying.
    If the party's good enough, you can actually suck to a remarkable degree.

    Greedle
  12. #1052
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    I don't see the point of recording material that nobody wants to hear.
    Exactly. Who would go to Spotify to listen to interviews with unknown musicians?

    Actually, I've never heard of anyone using Spotify to listen to interviews with anyone.

    Or live demos, for that matter.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  13. #1053
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    So where's distro kid fit into all this? It sounds interesting (and cheap, $20/year). They claim you keep 100% of your earnings, but your stuff gets out on similar channels, which apparently don't. So what's 100% of $0?
  14. #1054
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    So where's distro kid fit into all this? It sounds interesting (and cheap, $20/year). They claim you keep 100% of your earnings, but your stuff gets out on similar channels, which apparently don't. So what's 100% of $0?
    I don't understand what you're trying to say here.

    What "similar channels? Similar to what? What apparently don't?

    I've never heard of "Distro Kid" before but at least superficially it looks similar to Tunecore.

    Tunecore is just a distribution aggregator/broker. It doesn't really have much of anything to do with what we've been talking about.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  15. #1055
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    Maybe not directly, but it distributes music across the platforms being discussed here (iTunes, Spotify,etc). And since we were also talking about artists getting/not getting paid, I thought maybe it was relevant. Maybe not.

    Ah well, carry on...(slinks away)
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    Maybe not directly, but it distributes music across the platforms being discussed here (iTunes, Spotify,etc). And since we were also talking about artists getting/not getting paid, I thought maybe it was relevant. Maybe not.

    Ah well, carry on...(slinks away)
    Naw, not really. I'm distributing through Tunecore - it's not likely I'll get shit for it but a little crappy distribution world-wide is better than distribution out of my shoulder bag.

    And having my stuff on Spotify now doesn't hurt me and my keeping it off wouldn't hurt them - but in the highly unlikely even that a 66 year old country singer with no promo budget does actually manage to score a hit ( or at least garner enough attention for anybody to take notice) I'll be pulling it just as soon as I can make a difference by doing so. In the meantime I can still rail against them on the internet, I doubt they'll drop me because of it.

    Maybe it's a bit hypocritical, but that's the state of the more honest part of the world these days - the LESS honest part is a LOT hypocritical.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  17. #1057
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    Interesting tidbit I heard about the YouTubes. A buddy put together a spectacularly uninteresting video of our kids skiing this winter. Through iMovie he bought a track off iTunes and attached it. When he went to upload it to YouTube it recognized the song and told him he wasn't the rights owner to that song. He was presented an option to continue on the condition that any profit from the video would be diverted to the rights holder.
    He didn't remember the exact details/verbiage, so I'm going to do the same thing and see what the scoop is (and 'cause the grandparents can't just watch the kiddos hucking 3 inch airs without some sweet backing tracks)

    The net takeaway though, it seemed like YouTube is applying some kind of automated filter to identify songs and routing (some portion of) the money back. At least it seemed that way on the surface...
    How you get your song rightfully registered to you is also a process I wanted to look into.

    -r
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    Join SoundExchange and ASCAP and get your own ISRC registration so your songs can be encoded and will show up in the SoundExchange database. Check into if YouTube has some registration system of their own.
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  19. #1059
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    Youtube has Content I.D., a program they were forced to implement in 2006 in order to provide a fig leaf for youtube's piracy.

    Content ID has about 8000 members worldwide, but basically it's the bigger players, indies would have to go through a 3rd party, AFAIK.

    Since Google/youtube is a monopoly, they get to take an extortionate 45% off the top, which the major labels hate, but have to tolerate.

    Indies would have to give a percentage of their 55% to a third party. Which would be affiliated with Google/youtube.

    This is excerpted from the article below.

    Read the entire article and you will know more than most people about how this actually works.

    In the press, YouTube has fought back against the recent flood of criticism, saying that all rights-holders can access Content ID – that they can get it through “third-party vendors.” These third party vendors often take between 20% to 50% of the revenue paid by YouTube—after YouTube takes its share. That means the rights-holder is paying two overpaid gatekeepers. So yes, it’s available, but at a completely unreasonable premium. If big record companies are complaining about their bad revenue from YouTube, they should try being an independent musician, paying yet another middleman!

    [...]

    With a straight face, YouTube tells you and the media that they give 55% of ad revenue to the rights-holder and only keep 45%. But they calculate that percentage split after they first reimburse themselves for their own expenses, which they calculate behind their green curtain. So the 55% figure is not of gross income. An article by East Bay Ray explains that after YouTube pays itself about 37% for its expenses, rights-holders receive only about 35%. That’s not a split, that’s a fleecing.

    https://musictechpolicy.com/?s=content+id
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

    IMTBO = In My Thoroughly Biased Opinion
    CMIIW = Correct Me If I'm Wrong
    Never underestimate the amount of contempt a failed musician has for those of us who are still trying.
    If the party's good enough, you can actually suck to a remarkable degree.

    Greedle
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    Default Re: Brutally honest predictions

    With YouTube’s standard deal, they take 45 percent of what they call “recognized” income (presumably their term for net) of both the recording and composition income. No advance and no investment in promotion. According to Google’s financial reports, YouTube’s expenses can be estimated as about 37 percent of revenues, so 45 percent of net is the equivalent of them taking 65 percent of gross, so that means about only 35 percent goes to artists and labels. YouTube is taking almost twice the “bad old” music companies’ cut, for basically doing no more than hosting on a server.
    http://observer.com/2014/11/dead-ken...-with-youtube/
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

    IMTBO = In My Thoroughly Biased Opinion
    CMIIW = Correct Me If I'm Wrong
    Never underestimate the amount of contempt a failed musician has for those of us who are still trying.
    If the party's good enough, you can actually suck to a remarkable degree.

    Greedle

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