The Recording Industry: fiddling while Rome burns.

In a few short days, we’ll see the first annual Youtube Music Awards with Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Eminem, and more. Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts are hosting and Spike Jonze is directing.

Jonze is quoted in a Rolling Stone interview as saying: “This is not a red carpet, fancy, pre-packaged, pre-produced thing. I like the idea of making it about music and videos as opposed to everybody getting dressed up."

Obviously I'm not a fan of Big Tech's lack of financial support when it comes to musicians, since they make so much money off of them. (Hello, Megaupload.)
In terms of artists getting their royalties fucked so royally, no one beats Big Tech. The money that should be distributed to musicians is going to google or to ad-supported pirate sites rather than the content creators themselves.

Yet Big Tech is doing what the recording industry can't. In terms of innovation, the recording industry's been asleep as the wheel since Napster first rolled out.
Case in point: While the long-in-the-tooth Grammy nominations are still be judged by a secret society, the nominees of the Youtube music awards are determined by the viewers.

At least in theory. It still is and will always be a popularity contest. As much has been made about the fact file sharing and access to copyright infringing content has widened exposure to all kinds of music, the winner is still the spending the most money on media. In that regard zero has changed.

Variety tell us: "YouTube determined the nominations based on data over the last 12 months, to represent the artists and videos with the highest levels of engagement, including views, likes, shares, comments and subscriptions."

All that access to all that music, and the nominees for the first annual Youtube Music awards include Nicki Minaj, One Direction, and Taylor Swift. Can’t get much more middle of the road than that. And the youtube "discovered" nominees like Psy and Justin Bieber are hardly Lennon and McCartney, are they.

I'd love to believe this is collusion on the part of the recording industry to save itself. I’m more inclined to believe what an industry friend of mine said. The old record label types are sunsetting— waiting for their retirement so someone else can inherit the problem.

They have a few years left to go, for sure. However, if the First Annual Youtube Music Awards ends up a rousing success you can look at it as Big Tech telling the recording industry “We don’t need you any more." If that ends up being the case, the old way of doing things will have never looked so old.

And while the recording industry is losing money, Youtube has a subscription service in the works.

I almost forgot. The First Annual Youtube Music Awards are being sponsored by Kia.