After the Gold Rush
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Article 13 and Providing Musicians a Fairer Financial Deal – and Why New Copyright Laws May Prove Problematic
THERE are a few points I want people to consider…
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when it comes to money in music and how it is generated. Think about new and established artists alike and how they go about their promotions. They will release a song and, typically, it gets pitched to radio and websites to big them up. If they are lucky they might get airplay once or twice on a station but, for some, they might enjoy longer focus. In terms of physical sales; very few underground artists are relying on C.D. and vinyl sales. The bigger names might enjoy healthy sales in that respect but how much money can they expect to see after shifting a lot of units – and how much of that profit goes to the record label?! Merchandise is an option but when you add all this up; is a lot of money being made from each track/album? The costs will be covered but, considering how much work the artist puts in to promote and spread their work, it really doesn’t seem like adequate compensation. It used to be the case that physical sales could generate a lot of money and music was more physical. Now that we do a lot of our listening/buying online; one would think the money has shifted and drifted in a natural fashion. Whereas an artist might have made quite a lot from physical album sales back in the day; now, many are struggling to get fair finance and profit when they put a track online.
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If you are a small artist who puts their tracks onto YouTube; they might get a few hundred views and that will be it. Perhaps that is the only way you can get people to listen but, even when that many people hear you, the money going to the creator is a tiny. We should all be aware about the discussion that has been happening for the last month or two regarding Article 13. This article lays out what Article 13 is intended to do and how a fairer deal for artists can be struck:
“The UK music industry has joined forces to take on the tech giants that are trying to block EU plans to give everyone in the music industry a fairer deal.
Members of the European Parliament backed the Copyright Directive in an important vote on 12 September. This change would boost the tiny amounts that some tech firms like YouTube pay for music played online.
Our campaign - called #LoveMusic - supported this important change.
TRUTH VERSUS FAKE NEWS
· Article 13 does not impose obligations on the general public. The rules only relate to online platforms and to creators and those who invest in creators.
· Article 13 makes it easier for the public to create, post and share online content.
· Article 13 will only be applied to online platforms whose main purpose is to make a profit from storing and making available creative content.
· Online encyclopedias, open source software and non-commercial platforms are explicitly excluded from the requirements of Article 13.
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· Article 13 will NOT make memes illegal. Exceptions to copyright for parody are already in place and the Directive does not change this.
· Article 13 will NOT kill remixes. Services are already licensed for remixes and mash-ups are covered by existing exceptions to copyright.
· Article 13 will NOT harm small businesses and start-ups. The measures will be proportionate, reflecting the specific size and scope of the service.
· Article 13 will NOT breach privacy or personal data and will be in full compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation.
HOW YOUTUBE COINS IT IN AT MUSIC’S EXPENSE
· 1 million streams on YouTube generates as little as £540 for the artist
· YouTube pays creators a tiny £0.00054p per stream of music
· Streaming sites like Apply Music and Spotify pay £4.3 billion for music use – way more than YouTube, even though YouTube is the most popular music service in the world.
· A song needs to be streamed 51.1 million times on YouTube before the creator can make the average UK annual salary of £27,600.
· A total of 85% of YouTube’s visitors come to the site for music and YouTube accounts for 84% of video streaming services. At least £2.33bn of YouTube’s revenue in 2017 was generated by music in 2017, according to MIDiA Research.
WHY CHANGE IS NEEDED TO PROTECT MUSIC
Many tech companies are fully licensed and have systems for managing content on the internet.
But there are legal loopholes that undermine the rights of creators and those that invest in them. We need to close the loopholes and make the internet work for everyone.
According to figures from the International Federation of the Phonographic industry (IFPI), audio streaming platforms attracted 272 million users in total in 2017, while 1.3 billion music-using users turned to online video services like YouTube...
Despite having one-fifth of users, audio streaming platforms pay substantially more for the use of music. These services paid around $5.6bn (£4.3bn or £15 per user per year) which contrasts significantly with the $856m (£650m or just 50p per user per year) returned to the industry by the likes of YouTube.
The legislation proposed in the European Parliament would create a level playing field in the online market. If you#LoveMusic, please continue to support this change.
To watch our video to learn more about this campaign and to sign the petition please visit http://love-music.co/
There have been some developments and debates regarding this proposal but the reason I wanted to bring it up now is to make people aware of how much money artists are ‘losing’ when they accrue millions of streams on YouTube. I am not sure whether the problem is the same regarding Spotify and how artists are paid but it renews my calls for YouTube to provide subscription. I get the luxury of perusing Spotify and having limitless access to music in exchange for a subscription fee. I am happy to pay this and feel they could go further – charging users a bit more and sharing that revenue with artists. YouTube doesn’t have that same option and anyone can go on the site for free and watch any video they wish. YouTube relies on advertising a lot when it comes to paying artists but, as the figures show, the amount of money artists make is very low.
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It is not only about the profit and loss and making sure artists get their fair share. There is that guarantee of data protection and, essentially, ensuring sites that profit from users and musicians are giving money back. YouTube makes a pretty hefty whack from musician and advertising and the site has not really changed much since its inception. You might get the odd tweak here and there but it could be a lot better, more organised and user-friendly. I feel, unless you are a huge artist who can bag millions of stream with each single; your life is going to be a bit hard and it seems unfair so little money is generated. Even if you are someone like Rihanna, Taylor Swift or Drake; does the amount of money earned correspond to the amount YouTube will make and is it treating the artist with respect?
IN THIS PHOTO: Dua Lipa/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Although it is good there is that awareness and accountability regarding fair pay and making more for artists; another component of Article 13 relates to user content and copyright laws – something, some say, could threaten YouTube’s future. This article explains the proposals in more detail:
“The platform’s Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl has said the ability for creators and artists to find fans and build a business online is now “at risk” thanks to the heavily debated Article 13.
Kyncl cites the role of user-generated content in the success of videos by Drake, Dua Lipa and Alan Walker, explaining: “Creators and artists have built businesses on the back of openness and supported by our sophisticated copyright management tools, including Content ID and the recently launched Copyright Match Tool that manages re-uploads of creators’ content.
“Copyright holders have control over their content: they can use our tools to block or remove their works, or they can keep them on YouTube and earn advertising revenue. In over 90% of cases, they choose to leave the content up.
“Enabling this new form of creativity and engagement with fans can lead to mass global promotion and even more revenue for the artist.
“That’s what makes platforms like YouTube special: fan videos have the power to help propel established songs to new heights and even break new artists. This is the new creative economy in action.”
The idea that Article 13 will threaten the ability of people to create user-generated content has been dismissed as “bogus” by music industry representatives”.
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Since all the debate and build-up regarding Article 13; it was approved and passed and, over the last few days, there has been speculation as to how profitable and sustainable will be in future years. I applaud the need to make sites like YouTube aware of how little money is being paid to artists but are the copyright restrictions/tightening going to create a problem regarding freedom of speech, choice and surveillance (users being monitored tightly to ensure they are not breaking any rules)? This article, published today, poses some interesting points:
“While not yet law, the proposed reform has split the modern music industry as YouTube supporters claim the legislation limits the possibilities of content creation on the internet. Others are happy at the idea of creators earning more revenue directly from their content on YouTube.
“This is a good sign for the creative industries in Europe,” said Axel Voss of the EU Parliament in a statement concerning the vote.
His view is not shared by YouTube, which has been unequivocal about where it stands since the passing of the vote. “Today’s outcome in the EU copyright debate is disappointing and we’re concerned about the impact on the creative economy across the internet,” tweeted YouTube ‘s chief product officer Neal Mohan after news of the legislation got out.
Although the vote by the parliament was in favour of the Copyright Directive with a 438-226 landslide, individual countries will carry out their own votes in 2019 before the reform becomes law. If Article 13 does become law, watchers can expect more displeased notes from YouTube”.
I think there needs to be a definite revision of copyright laws and change how YouTube is operating right now. Whilst I am all behind the need to put more money back in the pockets of artists and ensure they are being fairly paid for the work they put online; do the stricter controls around copyrighted material and new measures mean jobs will be sacrificed? A lot of money is being brought in right now that means YouTube can operate as they do and they can employ the amount of staff they have. With fewer videos coming onto the site and stringent controls being levied; will staff numbers be cut and revenue shrunk?! It seems, if Article 13 does fully pass into law; YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, will not be happy – as this piece explains
“YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki warns video makers about the threat of a controversial copyright law in the European Union and urges them to "take action immediately" and protest the ruling with videos and social media posts.
"This legislation poses a threat to both your livelihood and your ability to share your voice with the world," she writes in a blog post published Monday.
Wojcicki focuses on Article 13 of the EU's new Directive on Copyright, which passed in early September and makes tech platforms liable for copyright-protected content. Essentially, this means that giant platforms that rely on user-generated content, including Google's YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, would be responsible for making sure that users don't share copyrighted material. As it stands now, the platforms aren't fiscally accountable for violations, although they do need to remove copyrighted content when rights holders ask them too.
Critics say that Article 13 could could threaten people's ability to share material like memes or parodies”.
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What does all these changes mean and how will they affect YouTube? Polygon provided a compelling argument that put together the pros and cons of Article 13 in relation to its proposals and checks:
“The new proposal would likely find YouTube implementing a more rigorous, pre-publish copyright check, which many critics assume means using a filtering system whose algorithm can’t tell the difference between transformative work and direct re-upload. User content isn’t directly at risk of disappearing, but in this scenario, a Doctor Who meme or video essay would be hit before it’s even published because it includes work that belongs to the BBC. Transformative or not, the filtering system would kill the video.
Rights holders who defend the EU Copyright Directive cite fair compensation as the main reason for their decision to back the directive. Paul McCartney, for example, published an open letter in July announcing his support for the directive.
“We need an internet that is fair and sustainable for all,” McCartney wrote. “But today some user upload content platforms refuse to compensate artists and all music creators fairly for their work, while they exploit for their own profit”.
It seems to be this case of Article 13 overhauling YouTube across the board and getting real serious. I am sort of divided as to the outcomes and how beneficial the rules will be. Many are saying copyright laws being proposed are akin to a dictatorship or being controlled. Whilst I do not think there is a need for outrage and protest; it does seem like a lot more checks will be applied when anyone uploads to YouTube. Whether this will weed out those who are ripping off someone else’s work and need abiding by copyright laws or it will go deeper and impact many others remains to be seen. It has been said remixes will not be affected and it is for the good of the YouTube community but you have to wonder whether there is an easier way to do things. Article 13 has whipped up a lot of opposition – regarding copyright and how users will be affected negatively – and there are positives regarding payment to artists and that is a good thing. This proposal will also affect sites like Twitter and Facebook but I am concerned with YouTube because of the music on there and how people like me use it. Whilst I am on-board for the most part (of changes); there is some confusion as to what will be affected and how far the legislation goes. In this WIRED article from a week ago; they provided their thoughts and what will be impacted:
“The latest amended version of the Directive removes this phrase and inserted an exception saying “special account shall be taken of fundamental rights, the use of exceptions and limitations as well as ensuring that the burden on SMEs remains appropriate and that automated blocking of content is avoided.”
The reason why this article has been dubbed the “meme ban” is that no one is sure whether memes, which are often based on copyrighted images, will fall foul of these laws. Proponents of the legislation argue that memes are protected as parodies and so aren’t required to be removed under this directive, but others argue that filters won’t be able to distinguish between memes and other copyrighted material so they’d end up being caught in the crossfire anyway”.
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Another proposal going through, Article 11, or the ‘link tax’ is something that might impact me and makes me wonder how much of an article I can use in my own work:
“The article intends to get news aggregator sites, such as Google News, to pay publishers for using snippets of their articles on their platforms. Press publications “may obtain fair and proportionate remuneration for the digital use of their press publications by information society service providers,” the Directive states.
No one is really sure how this one would work either. How much of an article has to be shared before a platform has to pay the publisher? The Directive states that platforms won’t have to pay if they’re sharing “mere hyperlinks which are accompanied by individual words,” but since most links are accompanied by more than a couple of words it seems that many platforms and news aggregators would fall foul of this rule.
The Directive does contain an exemption for “legitimate private and non-commercial use of press publications by individual users,” so it doesn’t look like individuals sharing links on social platforms will have to dip into their pockets”.
In January next year; the Directive will go back to the European Parliament and there will be a vote regarding the final wording. If the Directive passes then member states of the E.U. have two years to pass laws that will bring their laws in line with new regulations.
It is clear change needed to happen. You cannot operate sites like YouTube and pay artists so little. It is clear there is also a need to protect artists’ work and ensure there are no copyright violations. Most people can get onside regarding shifting money from tech companies to provide more substance and coin for artists. Nobody should see their work get a lot of views and attention and be paid paucity. If some fear this will leave YouTube with less profit and affect their growth; I would suggest implanting a subscription and asking users to contribute. As it stands; anyone can wander in and see what they want and share it out into the world. It is clear users need to pay and artists, in turn, need to get their fair shake. It is yet to be seen how proposed copyright changes will impact sites like YouTube and their future but there are a lot of opposing voices – if there had been these measures since the start of YouTube; many argue it would not be as open and accessible to artists as it is. There is a long way to go but this is something that has provoked a lot of response and emotion. I am a little nervous about some proposals and articles but I feel the increase artists get when their music is streamed/viewed has been a long time coming! Many will welcome this rule and I think it will benefit music in general and allow new artists the chance to grow and not struggle as much. Whether there will be implications as to YouTube’s future and its freedom down the line has yet to be seen. I hope, when there is a ruling and we get greater clarity, we will not see the future threatened of a site that, whilst lax regarding payment to artists, is a hugely…
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