As the recording industry tries to block file trading of songs across peer-to-peer networks, blogs and other viral distribution channels, the major labels suddenly have a whole new piracy concern: music videos.
The rise of user-generated content sites like YouTube, MySpace, Google Video and iFilm has sparked a revolution in the viral sharing of music videos across these Web communities. The problem is, much of the distribution taking place — outside a select number of promotional deals — is happening without the approval of record companies.
In recent weeks the Recording Industry Association of America has been stepping up its efforts to stop sharing of popular videos on such sites, particularly on the rapidly expanding YouTube. The site, which now claims more than 6 million visitors and 40 million streams daily, has become a haven for unlicensed music videos, which users are capturing with
TiVo and other digital video recorders and then posting the files to the Web. Much of the material is coming from recorded MTV broadcasts.
The RIAA recently issued cease-and-desist letters to YouTube users sharing videos from the likes of Nelly Furtado, Beyonce and Rihanna.
Viral video sharing would not have been an issue just 18 months ago, when the labels still viewed music videos as a promotional tool for selling albums. But today videos are a rapidly growing money-maker for the music business. The RIAA estimates that sales of music videos topped $3.7 million in three months, after being introduced in October. Meanwhile, the major labels also are sharing in the profits of ad-supported video-on-demand offerings from AOL, Yahoo, Music Choice and others.
Music videos are advertisements – commercials, and charging for them is the best idea I have heard in decades! Perhaps the idea will catch on, and all advertisements will be withheld from us unless we pay. Poor us, life will be so boring just watching our programs without the joy commercial interruptions bring.
The MPAA could learn a lot from this! That’s right, keep those movie trailers under lock and key! They usually show all the interesting parts of the movie, and they are condensed into just a few minutes! Who would pay to see a bloated movie when the Cliff Notes version is available?!? They should be charging more for the trailers than the movies. Pull them from the theaters and TV! That way, people will want to see the movies even more.