So, I got this video of a cat waiting for a prawn, which he never gets. It’s a metaphor for life, and destiny. And density. I put a Cure song over it to cover for the paucity of the content. Now, however, it seems that Warner has canoodled YouTube into scanning the track against their music and then muting it. But it’s a 20 second video of a cat which like three people are going to watch, featuring back catalog music. I can understand Warner demanding a share of that ad revenue, or demanding a free ad with a link to that song on iTunes, but I fail to see how muting the song makes any business sense. It’s effectively a free ad, there’s a direct advertising channel built in, but instead all you get is silence. I don’t know when the music business became more about suppression that expression, but that business model has changed.
Wow, I’ve grown up, and it’s all because of Barack Obama. Earlier I’d be like ‘RAWR, PFFFTT free music 4evors’. However, at this point the music industry has alienated me so much that I haven’t bought a meatspace CD in, uh, I think I bought someone a Pink Floyd birthday present in September. I haven’t bought a CD for myself since… since I was in high school, so about 10 years ago (wtf?). At that point I used to spend like 110% of my disposable income on CDs, but now I don’t. Partly because the companies didn’t sell me a service I could use, and also because I think they’re assholes and sue kids for millions of dollars.
What I would and have paid for are Internet streaming libraries like Rhapsody or last.fm. Quite happy to pay a monthly sub to have access to so much new music. I’m not a kid anymore and I don’t devote as much time and energy to downloading and finding stuff, so I will pay for a service that, uh, serves me. My ideal situ is an HSPA iPod. That is, an iPod which rather than storing 5,000 songs streams a library of 5 million off a server somewhere. That is, I no longer store or maintain the music files, I just have the interface and the Internet connection. For that I would certainly pay.
If you’re curious as to how the song recog technology works, you can just dial 389 on a Dialog phone, hold the phone up to the music for 15 seconds and it’ll SMS you the artist and name. I’m listening to last.fm right now and it told me I was listening to Trying by Nuspirit Helsinki. Which I’ve never heard of. It ends up costing about Rs 20, and I work for the company btw. But it shows that the recognition software must be really efficient and scalable. So this shit is happening. I, however, think it has more potential for selling music than suppressing it.
But returning to point, the YouTube/Warner policy of blocking people using music entirely is both socially noxious and business dumb. I don’t get why people can’t share and have fun with music, this is a natural tendency. Rather than trying to mute it, business should see an opportunity and get paid for helping people, rather than getting not paid for hurting them. Put a link to a Cure download or concert tickets next to my stupid video. I don’t care. Maybe I’ll buy something. As it is I a) hate you and b) am taking my business elsewhere.