Category: People

Facebook screenshot of Johnny Vicious post complaining about mislabeling of his Ecstasy song on YouTube incorrectly attributing to Tiesto

This is track is not by Tiesto

In our fast-moving social media universe, many times music fans do not stop to think about the implications of posting a mislabeled audio or video content to YouTube or SoundCloud. Whether simply excited about hearing or a song or thinking they helping an artist as a super-fan, they might take a part of a song from another performance, such as a DJ mix, and upload that song again. Not under the original artist’s name and song title, but the name of the artist whose mix they stripped it from. In the process, Mr. or Ms. Super-fan has confused other music fans, as well as the digital systems that track the public performance of songs in these services by labeling the song incorrectly.

While there are some systems in place to recognize the audio fingerprint of a song, if a song has never been fingerprinted, it will not exist in the various databases of all fingerprinted songs, which there are many. The song could be in one, but not the other. Therefore, it cannot be identified by the digital systems in place to decide who is the correct artist.

In addition, that person would have also added the metadata for the song, including artist name and song title. Every time someone else ripped the audio from YouTube,  inaccurate metadata will come along with it. As the song then spreads virally through file sharing networks, it may end up in databases for companies promoting music for play in retail stores. Or, the song may get played on radio. Each time, reporting the performance of the wrong artist and title back to a performing rights organizations like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, or SoundExchange. Today, there are tens of thousands of mislabeled songs and millions of dollars of royalties sitting in bank accounts, which never make it to the artists who deserve it, because of these meta data issues.

Long time DJ and dance/electronic music producer, Johnny Vicious, recently took to Facebook to state his frustration with a system that sometimes penalizes artists, before correcting the record. Many times after it’s too late.

 

Some time ago, a YouTube user, 3nt3rZz, ripped the song,“Ecstasy (Take Your Shirts Off)(Remix),” originally produced by Johnny Vicious, from a DJ set by Tiesto. That user has been inactive on YouTube for 2-years, but before his account went dormant, he posted the song both with the wrong title, which he spelled Extacy, and he incorrectly attributed the artist as Tiesto. At the time of this writing, the original YouTube video for the song racked up 34,447 views. The one with the mislabeled song title and artist name has, well…4,218,890 views.

That is a huge discrepancy.

Here is the incorrect version uploaded with the wrong title and artist name.

Here is the original version, with the correct title and artist name.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0lAfzGGlTw

The only way to resolve these issues is to tell YouTube of your copyright complaint through an online form. In order to file a complaint. you must be the rights holder or a representative of the rights holder. If you are an artist, but the rights holder is the label that acquired your song, you may no longer have the right to issue the takedown (depending on your agreement with the label, unless you share rights). The label is the one filing the complaint. If the label no longer exists, then whomever acquired the label catalog can file the complaint.

For many artists, this is frustrating, because they won’t see any of the revenue from a song with 4M views if the meta data is wrong. And, once the royalties are distributed, it’s most likely difficult to get them back. There is a lot of work involved with YouTube and Tiesto’s publishing company to fix the issue. While he may inadvertently benefit from the mistake, it should still be fixed.

Unfortunately, in today’s world of social music, many artists and labels not only have to make, promote, and distribute their catalog, they also have to police it too. That can take up more time and energy than most of us realize. There is no easy fix and to attempt to educate the masses on the proper tagging of uploads is, well, futile.

As we continue to further develop these online services, the hope is that songs are tagged correctly using identifiers, like ISRC (International Standard Recording Code), and those tags will help control the flow of revenues to the correct rights holder. However, we are a long way off from a global system, so for now, policing your catalog is the cost of doing business as an artist or label today.

Of course, even ISRC will have its problems, because not every song in every system will have a code assigned to it. Someone has to go back through tens of millions of songs and apply ISRC or replace those without ISRC with a digital copy that contains the code. In many cases, songs may have multiple codes assigned to them by both the label and the artist and those codes may conflict. There is a lot of work to be done, but don’t hold your breath, because we’re not there yet.

UPDATE – November 13th, 2014

After a little investigation, here is how a copyright owner can ensure that his/her work is properly identified, even if it is mislabeled by any user.

According to Google’s support forum for YouTube, a copyright owner with “substantial” works existing on YouTube can apply to be included in their ContentID program. That copyright owner would then submit all works through ContentID. Those works would be fingerprinted and can then match any existing or new uploads to the system, even if they are tagged incorrectly or mislabeled by YouTube users. The copyright owner would receive notifications for each incident and be able to make a determination on how to handle it – whether to issue a takedown or something else.

Here is a link to the form for copyright owners who wish to apply to the ContentID service.

First, check the criteria to make sure you qualify.

Also, SoundExchange does not collect a performance royalty for the artist from YouTube, Vevo, or any other video service. SoundCloud only collects for artists at digital radio, such as Pandora or 8tracks.

For those artists that need a service to help them collect royalties from YouTube and other video platforms, former TuneCore founder and CEO, Jeff Price, is a co-founder of Audiam, as service which helps artists collect royalties from video platforms.

An Introduction

Ilya Danilkevich photo
Ilya Danilkevich

As a new contributing author for this blog, I would like to introduce myself to you. My name is Ilya aka Master Ill (that is ILL and not “the 3rd”). I am a recent graduate of Washington & Lee University Law School (Lexington, VA) now back in Los Angeles post-graduation seeking to make my way back into the music entertainment industry. Before law school, I was a DJ (I still make mixes on occasion, but not nearly as much as I wish I had time for), an aspiring minimal house music producer, and the founder of Twisted Entertainment Group (TEG).

TEG was a collective of unsigned and unrepresented EDM DJ’s and producers with varying skillsets key to any up-and-coming artist in the EDM scene. We were a close-knit group of friends looking to get our music careers off the ground. But we needed help marketing and selling our “brand.”

The members had complimentary skills in management, electronic music production, photography, videography, graphic design, and a myriad of other DIY skills to the collective. We met on a weekly basis to discuss how each member’s career was progressing and offered advice or provided networking opportunities to each other. We also collaborated on creating EPKs and websites to secure gigs, as well as assist each other in music production.

As a group of unknown and often financially struggling artists, the collective offered an opportunity for the members to trade services with other members to advance each others careers without having to seek paid-for services. I would like to think that TEG acted as a stepping-stone for those who continued with their music careers. Or, at the very least, some great memories from the time spent in our in-home studio for those who shared in the music only, but had no music career aspirations. I can say, with a huge smile on my face, although TEG is no longer around, one of our traditions remains alive and well – our annual retreat.

Over time, we have gotten to know each other very well and remain very close friends. Every year, we gather a small group of available TEG members and their closest friends. The DJ’s and producers in the collective would showcase their love of EDM music, creating a mix specifically designed for group, often times different from what we would play for the general public. We played these sets back-to-back for our friends to hear. These retreats pushed us to create some of the deepest, most interesting mixes that were often ahead of their time and ones that we would never dare to play at our usual gigs. After the one-day retreat had been over, some of these sets were never heard again, while others have been posted online with very few listeners. So as I plan this year’s mix, I would like to share with you, my very first set that I created for the TEG retreat, which was first heard by our small group back in August of 2010.

Frankie Knuckles

I put together this Storify post of various social media hits and remixes to celebrate the life and times of the legendary house music DJ/producer, Frankie Knuckles, who will always be known as the Godfather of House.

Read more

Kanye West SNL performance of Black Skinhead

Love him or hate him, Kanye West is back, and this time he’s not playing games. He’s going straight for the jugular on race, dropping lines that reflect on basketball star, Lebron James’ game jersey being burned by fans in Cleveland after James decided to play for the Miami Heat. How he’s been particularly judged by the media due to his relationship with Kim Kardashian, a white woman. Saying that even thought he’s attained this status, he still has to be careful of who he brings home with the media laying in wait at his doorstep to turn around a news story that will tell the world who he’s seen with.

His lyrics also contain references about how corporate America can’t control him or what he does, despite the money and the contracts thrown at him. He’s just going to continue running at warp speed and making his way in the life the only way he knows how. There’s no turning back. You’re either going to watch him or you’re not, but if you do, then get ready because he’s not going to play by the rules as they are set by others – specifically corporations, white society and media.

Without question, it’s arguably one of the most powerful songs in Hip-Hop today. It’s a game changer in terms of style. substance, beats and instrumentation. Whatever happens, this track is going to be hard to follow. I’m not going to say it’s equivalent to the legendary Public Enemy track, Fight The Power, chiefly because Kanye is talking about himself and his view of how the world treats him, while Chuck D. is looking at it from a “we” and not “me” perspective.

In Kanye’s world view, it’s always all about him – what they’re saying about him, how they are trying to bring him down and how he is going to still be standing. While his argument is absolutely valid and real, his continued focus on himself as the catalyst for others to hate him because of his skin color and what he does plays into an ego that, while touching on the issues of others, always comes back to what is being done to him and how he is living and dealing with that everyday. The question, is it unfair? Many times, absolutely. But if you’re an artist and you live in the spotlight, you’re certainly asking for attention and you must live in the glare of the spotlight that feeds the beast – the media. With it comes all the trappings of wealth, fame and success, but it also comes with media scrutiny and public reactions to moments when what you do is not perceived a unacceptable, regardless of who you are, what you do or the color of your skin. Like the time when Kanye decided to interject himself into the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards presentation for Best Video by taking over the mic during the presentation to the winner, Taylor Swift, and announcing that Beyonce should have won for her video, “Single Ladies.”

If you’re Kanye, is it always because you’re black in an unfair world? Or, is simply because you’re Kanye and the ego that drives your talent is so outsized, you only can see things the way you perceive them to be? It’s definitely a little of both, but if you listen to this new track, the perception is that Kanye will always be himself and others will judge as they do, but he’s keeping it moving in the only direction he knows how and whatever they do or say, they can’t stop him. As a black man in America, he makes a strong case, but he never wants to be judged for what mistakes he makes in the process, which is unfortunate. Because everyone, at one time or another, has to step back and take a look at their actions and ask themselves, am I doing the right thing, regardless of the color of my skin?

Anyway, it’s worth a listen. It really is that good. In Kanye’s world, his perceptions are real for him and that’s all that matters. It takes an artist of incredible strength to be able to light up the mic with as tough as these lyrics are to digest. It’s a portrait of our society – one that is as real, brutal and honest as an artist can get. Hard to digest for most for sure, but give it to Kanye for saying what needs to be said.

UPDATE: After listening to this track again, let me restate my position on the “we” vs “me” comment I made in this post. Maybe I missed something and it took the lyrical scientists over at Rap Genius to school me.

In this verse, Kanye shines the spotlight on kids in urban communities, especially Chicago, where Kanye is from, acting like “goons.”

Stop all that goon shit
Early morning cartoon shit
This is goon shit
Fuck up your whole afternoon shit

It’s a reflection on how kids are joining gangs and trying to be tough by killing each other in the streets of Chicago. It’s a call to all those listening that their way of life is, in fact, cartoonish and silly.

In another new track also performed on SNL called, New Slave, Kanye raps about some black Americans buying into the culture of spending on luxury goods. Despite the success of Black Americans in Hip-Hop and the trappings of wealth and acclaim it has brought them, in Kanye’s view, it’s still subservient to buy into the consumer culture, because black Americans who have attained wealth continue to enrich those who are in power by buying these luxury goods. That, no matter how you slice it, slavery still exists – but, it’s now mental slavery that he equates to profit taking from the purchase of luxury goods by the black community that continues to enslave the community, in place of the physical slavery experienced by those who came before them. It’s a powerful, raw and controversial statement, because its some in Hip-Hop that perpetuate the idea that if you make money, you should spend it on bling and display your wealth. That begets the question, if you are critical of that culture, then why buy an $11M mansion in Beverly Hills? It’s a hard question to answer, that’s for sure. One one hand, don’t be part of the machine, but on the other, live within the machine. It all depends on whether it’s on your own terms. There’s a level of hypocrisy in the statement that undercuts the message, but the message is important nonetheless.

 

Storified: Pete Tong’s New Show On iHeartRadio’s Evolution Channel

Here’s news from around the web on Clear Channel’s and Pete Tong’s new collaboration on iHeartRadio.com’s Evolution channel. Tong brings his #AllGonePeteTong radio show to the USA along with a tour and new release on the venerable UK label, Defected Records.