The music industry always seems to drag its feet. Often, they want new technology to work the old way. They want to jam that square peg in the round hole, no matter what. A new way – suggested below – would make them a ton of money. Are they smart enough and forward thinking enough to try it?
In the past, the music publishers have made a “ka-ching” off each play of a song on the radio or tv, they’ve sold CD’s and licensed songs to others to record. Because of this narrow way to make money, they see the Youtube cover artists as threats in the following way:
1) “The unlicensed song is getting millions of hits, and we’re not making out money for each play. This means the creator is our enemy, taking away from OUR publishing. Oh no, plays of our song are not making money.”
Based on the false premise
2) “If we eliminate the people doing cover material, viewers will want to watch the ORIGINAL artist, so lets eliminate the people who do cover material, to create the only endpoint possible – our original artist performing the song.”
Another premise, pretty weak
3) “If people see ONLY the original artist performing their tune, then they’ll want to buy the original artist on CD, mp3, etc.”
The solution that occurs after these false premises:
4) “Let’s cut off people who do covers, as it dilutes our sales.”
They have it so backwards and essentially are not coming up with a creative solution. Guess what guys, the internet shook up your world. Deal with it, and adapt.
THE BRAINSTORM. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!
Instead of seeing musicians doing cover material as “the competition, the enemy, and the blame for no sales” – embrace them as the NEW customers. If you can’t sell CDs, why not sell licensing to cover artists? It’s your new product, and you have a new customer base who have identified themselves.
Imagine – for $9.99 a year, anyone can license a song to do as a cover on YT. Then it’s legal, won’t get deleted, and will create a NEW income for the industry. Instead of alienating the new group of YT musicians, why not get them on board as customers?
“Do’h! Why didn’t we think of that?”
Youtube, c’mon you guys are Google. Use the already existing Harry Fox, Warner, UMG and other publisher databases to make a nifty control panel insnde YT. You could even have a cool url like http://coverband.youtube.com, and you could charge via Paypal or credit cards. Keeping a database of which user has performed what song is easy. Then divvy the money up with the publishers once it gets onto your side and leaves our hands.
Let’s say I pay $9.99 yearly for a song like Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. Well, someone like Sungha Jung sees me do that and also pays $9.99 a year for the tune when he does a version. He gets 5 million hits. I think you’ll get a few more $9.99’s a year after other people get excited and motivated. Now Sungha and I also do it on our CD’s because we have a fan base, hungry for the tune.
Suddenly you are not selling CDS, you are selling licenses for YT performance but who cares. It’s better than CDs, you need not manufacture anything – and YT viewers are your FREE advertising agancy. You could be making some serious dough, YT and publishers. But you gotta think outside the box!!!
Oh, and by the way all the “Billie Jean” official viewers can now see ads that you could overlay on the video.
Oh, and by the way you can target ads. If you see I have done 5 MIchael Jackson tunes, you can make smart suggestions to me.
Oh, and by the way you can see which songs are most popular amongst musicians…and so on, and so on.
And what if someone puts up a version without paying? No sweat, first send a notification to get the person on board and pay, then if they don’t – remove the video. Give them 21 days to decde. A potential customer has identified themselves. Don’t alienate them, embrace them!!!
This is not hard to implement, but takes creativity and a willingness to do a new thing. YT, publishers – you have identified a new customer base. People who do cover songs! So sell ’em something!!! Don’t cut em off and whine that CD sales are slumping!
I have about 40 cover tunes and the list is growing. I’d pay $400 a year in a hearbeat to have those tunes on YT, legally, and I bet others would too. If I had 100 tunes, I’d pay $1000 no sweat. Over 10 years, that would be $10K in income for you, earned off one guy – me. That’s way more than I’d spend on CD’s. It’s waiting there for you. And I would not be the only one!
Anyhow, just a thought. All the whining and moaning won’t make it “the way it was” so it’s time for you guys to get creative.
Until next time, keep Swingin’