In the last week I’ve been reading more than I’ve been watching videos. Lord knows, I’m no bookworm: the last book I successfully read before I plugged myself into the Matrix was assigned to me by a teacher. Instead of watching videos, I’ve been reading cease and desist notices, and “content removed by ____”. This past week I had a hard time enjoying videos I’ve come across on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, et al. because it seems as though YouTube is no longer the fountain of free content that I, along with the billions of other people on the web, have come to trust. Exhibit A:
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Two weeks ago I attended a tremendous concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Kings of Leon did more than just impress me and my set of low expectations, they played a few new songs from a forthcoming album. New material from a band that’s been touring on the legs of a platinum selling album for several years is always worth noting. One track in particular, called “Immortals” was the highlight of the entire set for me. I was excited to upload my first HD video, shot on my new iPhone 4 because the audio quality came out great. Several days after uploading, I received an email and when I tried to visit the video’s page, I saw this (above). Don’t worry, I posted it on Vimeo instead. See below for face melting rock:
As someone who still avidly pays for music, something most of America can no longer say, I am in support of artists’ right to profit as the next 75 year old music industry executive. But let’s consider the facts on this: the song HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED in any form that requires money to obtain. Therefore, all I am doing, by publishing a live video of Kings of Leon KILLING IT on a new track, is providing the band, it’s record label, its management company, etc. FREE publicity at my own expense. If, let’s say, the video becomes popular (not double rainbow popular, but popular), there are hundreds of thousands of people watching a free promotional video of the Kings of Leon doing what they do best. Not to mention if someone sees the video and says “I wasn’t going to go to see Kings of Leon on this tour but if they are playing new material it will definitely be worth it!” You’re welcome, LiveNation/Ticketmaster/Budweiser/t-shirt vendors.
So why such flagrant acts of corporate tyranny these days? Just the other day I went to check out the iPhone 4 vs. EVO videos that have a BestBuy employee in hot water and got a similar message. I’m not surprised by these messages, they’ve always been there every time I went to watch a classic Will Ferrell SNL sketch, but I have definitely been seeing them rear their ugly heads more frequently than usual. These might be glitches in my browser or the Google servers, but if Chrome can’t load embedded YouTube videos on the regular, there’s no hope for anything working correctly. This is just another example of how completely misguided major entertainment companies are in their quest to make a profit off of YouTube. They want to charge people for something they are accustomed to getting for free, if they can’t charge them for it, they take the content down. Despite what they might think, this is not a business model.