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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.

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Nothing Interesting...'s picture

There is nothing new or innovative about this awards show. Just because people don't "dress up" doesn't distinguish it. In fact, by looking at the lineup it mimics very closely something MTV would produce, so there's nothing to get excited about here. Especially not for music lovers. zzzzzzzz

kidsleepy's picture

The was precisely my point. It's nothing more than a popularity contest. The only thing Youtube really thinks is innovative is the use of digital bells and whistles to for the "most innovative video," category. I have to say though, if you strip away the bells and whistles, you don't have much beyond boring popular music. What's worse, it's popular music as determined by who bought the most media to shove it in front of our faces. In that sense it's not really any different than what the big record labels did in their heyday.

Dabitch's picture

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

mal's picture

As far as the industry being 'asleep at the wheel', all content industries would have been much better off keeping their stuff as far away from the Internet as possible. 'Innovation' on the Internet is nothing but a death spiral for artists - ultimately, the only people making money on the Internet are ISPs and the gate keepers like Google - making money off of other people's information.

We all should have seen through the lie sued everyone and everything, and lobbied for tough regulations on Internet companies, starting in 1995. But, everyone was blinded by those fake dollar signs. Journos should know better, they were the first to get burned. Their business is ruined forever, fewer journalists making much less, but they still believe so strongly in the lie. Go figure.

kidsleepy's picture

Yeah and the weirder part is, pre-internet, very few journalists were making money beyond lower middle class. Now they make less or are instructed to write "for free, for the exposure." And they can't argue because there is a legion of young kids believing the lie. This makes publishers and music managers seem positively benevolent in contrast.