Tag: youtube

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.

Mystique – Brand New

The world’s hottest dance label, Ultra Records/Sony Music releases Mystique – “Brand New” on 8/22. The song is available for download on Beatport.com.  This is a House track that will be sure to shake up the end of the summer parties in Ibiza. The video’s not yet available, but there’s a preview from Mystique’s YouTube channel, which we’ve got for your below.

For you twenty-somethings, the vocal sample, “You make me feel brand new,” was most likely resung by a session vocalist and that voice was put through and effects processor. The original idea comes from a classic slow jam by The Stylistics, a Philly soul group from the late 60s and early 70s.

Also, check out Mystique’s latest Beatport chart.

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Beauty vlogger Michelle Phan sued by Ultra Records for copyright infringement

With a subscriber base of over 6.6M on her YouTube channel, YouTube Beauty vlogger, Michelle Phan, is one of the most popular social media stars in the YouTube universe. Two of her most popular how-to videos, a “Barbie Transformation Video” and Lady Ga-Ga video have been viewed a combined total of just under 100M times. Her videos generally make use of popular EDM songs from a variety of artists and that has resulted in a lawsuit by Sony Music controlled EDM labels, Ultra Records and its associated publishing company, Ultra Music International. Filed in Los Angeles District Court, Ultra suit (Ultra International Music Publishing LLC and Ultra Records LLC v. Michelle Phan, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 14-05533) claims Ms. Phan does not have the right to use Ultra Records artists music. They are suing Ms. Phan for $150,000 per infringement plus yet to be determined damages and an injunction against the use of Ultra Record’s artist’s music in her videos. In the past, Phan has used music from the label’s roster of artists, including popular EDM DJ/Producer, Kaskade. One video, “Nightlife Favorites” (1,487,180 views as of 7/20/14) features Kaskade’s 4AM.

Kaskade – 4AM

Another, “The Golden Hour” (2,492,777 views as of 7/20/14) features Kaskade and Project 46 “Last Chance.

Kaskade & Project 46 – Last Chance

Here are both videos from Michelle Phan including these songs, which are both listed in the credits under each video on their respective YouTube pages.

Michelle Phan – Nightlife Favorites

Michelle Phan – The Golden Hour

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPj2QgxmUxw While Kaskade was severing his relationship with Ultra Records, choosing to not renew his agreement after 8-years on the label, Sony Music went on an EDM acquisition mission, acquiring, one of the the longest running independent EDM labels in the world. Ultra’s back catalog, including almost all of Kaskade’s releases on the label, now belongs to Sony Music. In a recent blog post about his frustrations with SoundCloud, the popular music sharing service known as the “YouTube of audio,” taking down both music he has a right to post and mixes and mashups deemed infringing, Kaskade said this:

“When I signed with Ultra, I kissed goodbye forever the rights to own my music. They own it. And now Sony owns them. So now Sony owns my music. I knew that going in.”

While labels like Ultra and Sony continue to control copyright in the digital age, Kaskade has recently been advocating for making music free. He’s taken an alternative position on how music should be distributed in the digital age.

Of course, with hundreds of millions of spins and the profit from YouTube including the above mentioned songs at stake, there’s not much Kaskade can do about advocating for Ms. Phan, other than supporting her through Twitter.

Now, let’s focus on the reality of this situation. One one hand, you have a famous YouTube star with hundreds of millions of views on her video channel. Label video promotion consultants and the departments that hire them certainly ask for placement of these songs in popular online videos to get exposure. No matter whether fan uses the music in videos or not, Ultra and its parent can claim payment from YouTube and performing rights organizations for those spins. YouTube has the technology to identify songs played in videos and therefore could effectively let Sony/Ultra know what music was used in which videos and how many times each video was viewed. And, we’re going to assume that YouTube has a license from Sony Music – one of the three majors – to play their music on demand, therefore YouTube might be able to argue that it has the rights to play the music, which is why we aren’t seeing those videos being issued a takedown – just yet. But, that could change in the next couple of days.

Removing those videos would certainly be a blow to anyone hoping to derive revenue from them, so once they come down they don’t earn a penny for Ms. Phan or the labels with music being used in them. According to Ultra, the only thing Michelle Phan didn’t do was obtain a “synchronization license” from the music publisher – in this case Ultra International Music Publishing – for the right to use the music in her instructional make-up videos. Here’s a helpful description from the ASCAP blog on sync licensing, which is why Sony/Ultra believes Ms. Phan’s videos infringe on their copyright. And, while this example if for television, it certainly applies to on-demand Internet streams from companies like YouTube as well. Todd Brabec, ASCAP Executive VP of Membership and Jeff Brabec write:

“When a producer wants to use an existing song in a network television program or weekly series, permission must, with few exceptions, be secured from the music publisher who owns the song. The producer or music supervisor of the show will decide what song they want to use in the program and the scene in which it will appear, how the song will be used (e.g., background vocal or instrumental, sung by a character on camera, over the opening or ending credits), and the media needed (e.g., free television, pay television, subscription television, pay-per-view, or basic cable).

The producer or its “music clearance” representative will then contact the publisher of the composition, negotiate a fee, and then sign what is known in the television business as a “synchronization license.””

If Michelle Phan and her video producers did not obtain a sync license, but have proof that Ultra Records approached them to use their label’s artist’s music in her videos, then Sony Music and the Ultra label and publishing divisions won’t have much of a case. This is where major label interests generally conflict with the interests of independent labels and lesser known artists who see the value in the exposure generated by being featured in a video series as popular as Ms. Phan’s. On the other hand, if Ms. Phan and her handlers ignored sync licensing rules, then she and her production company could be found liable by the court. Our money is on someone from the label giving them the music for exposure, but what do we know…heh heh!

What this amounts to is major labels continuing to assert control over their catalogs to find revenue where it may lie. With download sales declining and streaming on the rise, major labels look at licensing as contributing to their bottom line. While it’s fair to ask for compensation for music used in these YouTube videos, if its proven that the video consultants gave the music videos to Ms. Phan’s production company for promotional use and they signed waivers in that regards, Sony Music will have a difficult time proving copyright infringement.

Notice that Ultra never filed suit until after it was acquired by Sony. Remember, Ultra’s General Manager, David Waxman (who is a friend of Netmix) is also a DJ and producer. When they were independent, I don’t think Mr. Waxman would have advocated for this lawsuit, because if indies like Ultra started suing music services that give them exposure, they could risk harming those relationships over the long term. There’s not a lot of leverage.

In the indie EDM world, it’s probably not the best form to start suing others who are promoting your music. Once word gets out, you risk losing opportunities to sign high profile artists who may disagree with that position or get your music featured, because no one wants to take the risk of being sued.

We don’t exactly know, but it’s surely something to think about. And, that’s why Kaskade’s view on the music industry is so telling. We’ll leave you with an excerpt from the same blog post referenced earlier in this post.

There’s always been this cagey group of old men who are scared to death of people taking their money. Back in the day, they were upset that the technology existed to record onto cassette tapes directly from the radio. “What! (Harumph!) Why will people buy music if they can just pull it out of the air?!” Yet, people still bought music. Because it was more accessible. Because more people were exposed. Because Mikey played it for Joey on the corner and then Joey had to have it. It’s music, and we buy what we love. We can’t love music we haven’t heard.

Innovation helps the music industry. The industry only needs to make the effort to keep up and adapt. Make no mistake: exposing as many people as possible to music – all music – is a good thing. Everyone wins. The artist, the audience, even the old guys who just want some more cash.

The laws that are governing online music share sites were written at a time when our online and real-life landscapes were totally different. Our marching orders are coming from a place that’s completely out of touch and irrelevant. They have these legal legs to stand on that empower them to make life kind of a pain-in-the-ass for people like me. And for many of you. Countless artists have launched their careers though mash ups, bootlegs, remixes and music sharing. These laws and page take-downs are cutting us down at the knees.

And yo, musicians definitely need knees.

We referenced these stories in this post:

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