Saturday, February 14, 2009

Major Labels vs. Youtube

So I just got a note from Jordy stating the Anna is a Speed Freak video has been removed from the Youtube site. Checking, it has indeed been taken down, with a message that reads "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by WMG." (Warner Music Group). Kind of a shame really as the label hasn't done a thing for Pure in the past decade and an inspired fan posted a decent copy of our best video up for others to enjoy. The small mindedness of this decision - of which I've read MANY thousands of videos by many other artists have also been taken down - seems to be in line with the way the major labels have reacted to almost every aspect of the internet age. They tried to close down Napster and instead created hundreds of smaller file sharing sites that they could never contain. Now they want their rewards from online video sites too. Hey, I understand it's a business but videos are almost always just commercials for the recorded music anyway, agreed that there have been works of art over the last thirty years or so, but generally they are nothing more than ads for the songs.

Ignoring the relevance of videos for a moment, I'd like to firstly say thank you to the person that had originally uploaded the Anna video. Never knew who you were, but thanks. That was a Floria Sigismondi directed clip and it looked great. She is a brilliant director, who's made lovely videos for Sigur Ros, The White Stripes, The Cure and many more. Almost everything she does is a step above and has true artistic merit (well in my opinion anyway), so it was good to see that one again. The original edit of the video was rejected by Much Music because they found the images of the girl lying in the bathtub too disturbing: I guess promoting ODing to children might be considered bad taste. A re-edit was made and the video received medium rotation on the nation's music station, however it was never really shown to any great amount. Which is a shame as it was our best video. That's why it's upsetting that Warner's has opted to remove it. I mean there had only been around 20 thousand viewings on the Youtube page anyway, could that truly have amounted in a loss in revenue? I think the argument could be made that the videos were the only possibilities of promoting the music once the band stopped performing, so why stop it? The albums are finally up on iTunes, but only after David Hadley personally contacted the label from Australia, and I think I can state the company wasn't too bothered with our back catalog up to that point (ask anyone looking to find a copy of either of our Warner/Reprise records - they just aren't anywhere!).

So, sorry to those of you who may be looking for that video, sorry to those of you who never saw it - it was a nice looking clip - and sorry to Warner Bros for being so damn short sighted on this issue. It never ceases to amaze me how the major labels keep making small minded decisions, still, even after all the mess ups they've made in the past decade. Oh well, what's one more misstep, it only really hurts the artists right?

Good luck to everyone out there, hope you're doing well. If you've still got a job you're probably going to do alright, if you've lost a job, you've got my condolences, but just remember, you're all doing better than 99% of the musicians out there, because we've been in a recession since 1999!

Ciao for now.


p.s. Please buy your music: out of every 99 cents you spend on a track at iTunes the indie artist gets 61¢. That is a better percentage than has ever been offered to any recording artist - ever.