General News

YouTube - Piracy or promotion ? March 2007

This thread on the on previous website forum was started by John Kelly: we thought it worthy of being reproduced here.

"Slow on the uptake I quite clearly am, however, I've just discovered 'YouTube' as a direct result of reading earlier postings on this web page. I went on to view what they had on Gordon and was quite amazed by what I found. For example Dodo's Dream full ten minutes of live music from the maestro in black and white but amazing sound quality.

This then got me exploring the site for other artisits I follow. They're all there. I even managed to view Neil Young playing banjo, busking outside Glasgow Central Station in 1971. This got me thinking is this site exploitation of an artist, or a very useful tool to access obscure and often very rare footage of these guys?

Any one out there have any thoughts on this, maybe Gordon should comment being the artist particular to these web pages. Forgive me but I have referred Dodos Dream footage to all my guitar playing friends and I am sure this will promote an interest in all things Giltrap."

"Hi John.
Many thanks for your caring and thought provoking posting.

Personally for me YOUTUBE is one of the best things to happen for artists on the net. It gives folk a chance to see a musician or musicians in a 'live' situation, it also gives fans of that artist (if they are guitar players) a chance to submit their own versions of their favourite pieces by that artist, thus showcasing THEIR abilities and the artists work.

Long may it continue because it really is a great promotional tool for musicians to exploit their work.
Be Well John.

"Hi John,

I recently did a University course, and explored the topic of music /video on the Internet and the ways it affects acoustic musicians such as Gordon as my dissertation. Don't worry, I won't subject you to the whole thing .

I questioned a cross section of artists, and not surprisingly found a variety of opinions. Some (Show of Hands for example) actively encourage the sharing of their music by existing fans copying cds to GIVE to friends/ making some music freely accessible online / Youtube etc. They take the view that a true fan will probably purchase a genuine copy of a cd/ video complete with artwork, tracklists, high quality etc anyway, even if they have been able to acquire a certain amount free of charge, which was probably low quality.

People who have never experienced an artists music before will either a) decide they like it and become fans who then go on to attend shows / buy merchandise therefore increasing the revenue to the artist or b) decide the music is not to their taste, in which case the artist is unlikely to lose a sale since they probably would not have bought anything without prior hearing anyway.

Other artists were less keen to have their music available online unless it was there to be purchased. Obviously, no one condones bootleggers who copy and SELL cds for their own profit, which does cut into sales for the artist.

We all know how restricted and controlled the playlists and content of radio and tv shows is these days - how often do you see or hear Gordon on radio and tv ?

I concluded that the situation will be different for each artist, depending on many things including existing level of "success," availabilty to fans of the recordings, real or percieved loss of revenue etc. As the Internet changes and develops, the musicians who will do best are those who can exploit the new markets such as download charts and ringtones.

On a similar topic, making a vast library of even more obscure music available to purchase online can be very profitable for record companies as the cost of computer storage space falls. Even items that would sell minimal copies in a physical cd format can be made globally available online (the long tail phenomena )and generate revenue which would not have been acheived by sales in a traditional music store.

Personally, I think the Internet is an excellent way for a non mainstream (ie non chart) artist to advertise and sell their music, expand and reach new audiences and attract new fans who would never have encountered their music in the traditional manner.

Just my thoughts.....hope I haven't rambled on too long !"

"I totally agree with what Sue is saying. Unfortunately, it is not always up to the artist themselves to decide what can and cannot be put on the net it is the record companies lawyers and accountants.

'Illegal' downloading is not a major problem as people will go out and buy the albums themselves. Record sales have gone up over recent years as people can hear of a band, download a few tracks and usually buy a few albums. Previously, I would rarely chance buying an unheard band and so bought less albums. These days I can check and actually buy more.

The current trend for record compaines to close TAB sites as it stops the artists earning money from people buying their books is a very short-sighted thing to do. Especially the Powertabs site which allowed people to create the TAB in a program which then played the music via MIDI convesion system. It was ideal for learning new pieces of music.

What the accountants and lawyers have done is remove a method for young (and old *cough*) guitarists from improving their technique a lot quicker than pre-internet days and therefore reducing the number of potentially good guitarists who will form the new bands that will make the record companies even more money.

I think Gordon is very generous in giving TAB out for free to fans. I could just get it all from Gordon this way but I choose to wait for his next book to come out. My copy of his previous TAB book is falling apart I have used it so much. But unlike alot of other 'album' TAB books I (attempt) to play a good 80% of the pieces rather than other album books I have where I only try about 30%.

If the accountants and lawyers of record companies sat back and realised they are harming the music industry and dragging it back 30years they might stop closing down sites run by people passionate about music."

"Thanks guys for your views. Here is a rabble of my own;

Its got me thinking (oh no!) that with recent developments in computer storage within the home and also considering the new products within the media industry ie as 'pay on demand events' from the likes of sky, ntl and virgin etc becoming more advanced. While simultaneously recognising the parallel development of 'free' streaming and flash media vis a vis YouTube, and pay per play or download from apple, I am becoming of the opinion that the 'tangible' product presently called a CD, DVD or the new Blue Ray equivilent, is already an obsolete form.

For example, Youtube although still in its infancy already offers a vast section on music and it is there to be played whenever you want to hear it! I recognise Sue's point about quality of sound being an issue on these sites, but I think that it is just a matter of adjusting and finetuning this problem from a software perspective. I would anticipate the next generation of media entertainment hardware will be something of the order of a 'juke box' that can access ANYTHING out there in the ethernet and the quality issues will be resolved through time and possibly by obtaining 'the latest hardware'.

Profit will be made by media companies and corporations from selling their services (music /video) and their hardware (eg. I-pods, SKY HD box, etc.) Also observe Virgin's recent acquisition of NTL for example. this company has gone from record producing to internet provider, accessing music media online via themselves. A double whammy!

Therefore, it begs several questions, why would you want to OWN a collection of cd's, dvd's when you can access the media via the latest and most advanced technology? I am not advocating this as the way forward, nor am I a luddite, but I think music companies are ultimately going to offer the majority of their artists works online, whatever form, music, film etc once they have the hardware/software technology to reign in the likes of youtube, limewire etc whether this be through licencing or technology.

I think this will be awful, as these companies will only want to saturate the etheral marketplace with pop /pulp, high turnover products (downloads pay per view etc) to the detriment of lesser know /emerging artists. As you have pointed out they can already pull the like of OLGA search engine offline and NAPSTER is now a pay per download company. I think Youtube's days are numbered.

How will artists be remunerated for their work in the future, as current free exposure undoubtedly leads to further CD's being purchased as indicated by Steve and Sue, but I suggest this a shorter-term gain, as my scenario depicts a not to distant era when there will be no tangible product to purchase ie cd, dvd, vinyl or tape etc. I forsee exciting times ahead.......

(Having read back my rant I wont be annoyed if you dont post this )

Cheers for now anyway"