Category Archives: YouTube

Is YouTube Down the Tube?


In the on-going battle between media moguls Viacom and YouTube/Google, Viacom has had to take the defensive and quell fears of invasion of privacy of hordes of internet video purusers of the wildly popular YouTube.  It seems that as part of the $1 BILLION dollar copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Viacom against YouTube and its parent, Google, a judge ruled that YouTube must turn over it’s vast database of videos and the usage data along with it.  This data would include user names, IP addresses and profile information that users have included such as hometowns and even names. 

Privacy advocates went ballistic, accusing Viacom of trying to acquire the names of YouTube uploaders and viewers in an attempt to pursue, in the vein of the RIAA’s prosecution of those downloading illegal music.  Viacom suddenly was thrust into a PR nightmare and had to substantially back-pedal and qualify that they only wanted the usage data to either prove or disprove that the majority of YouTube’s content is user established and proprietary to uploaders, rather than copyrighted programming.  As such, YouTube agreed in principle to provide the data “masked” through other naming or numbering to hide the actual user names and information from Viacom.  This may or may not appease the ACLU-types, as masking doesn’t necessarily protect users if they can be tied via a usage pattern to other databases that could provide user data.

It is interesting to me that Viacom had no real issue with YouTube until Google and their deep pockets made the scene.  Perhaps Viacom sees this suit is an easier money maker than, say, providing quality programming that would attract more and better advertisers. 

No, Viacom has chosen to pursue a company that has repeatedly shown that it proactively tries to prohibit copyrighted material from its servers and has always complied with taking down material upon request.  That complies full with the DMCA — the law by which this case is governed.  Confused?  Perhaps this video can shed some light.

In the meantime, there is speculation that Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart will actually be called as witnesses in the case.  Why?  I have no idea.  Perhaps it will be to lament how their pockets are being picked by wanton pirates who are uploading their shows, as well as nefarious viewers who are illegally watching their shows through YouTube instead of on The Comedy Channel, where advertisers pay hordes of money to Colbert and Stewart, by way of Viacom, for viewers to tune in there.

Here is a NEWSFLASH.  Viacom, along with many other media companies have MISSED THE BOAT.  Again.  Instead of joining forces with YouTube to further distribute their programming and broaden their audiences, they are once again, shooting themselves in the foot by trying to cripple or destroy one of the outlets that are actually helping them to sustain viewers.

Go through this with me.  Let’s use The Daily Show for an example.  Now, certainly, there are people who watch The Daily Show every day.  They consider Jon Stewart a god and tune in every day at x:30 to soak up his sardonic witticism and sarcastic political diatribes.  Let’s say that he gets a 10 share or 10% of American TVs were tuned in (a generous number, here).  That leaves 90% of us who are not watching him or maybe not watching anything, for that matter.

Common sense tells us that unless they happen to miss an episode, the loyal 10% are not relying on YouTube to provide their Jon Stewart fix.  So, YouTube is really a big, ole billboard for The Daily Show in that people like me may tune in to a YouTube video linked onto a blog that I read or that someone emails me.  Then, perhaps, Mr. Stewart intrigues or entertains me enough to take a real interest in what he has to say.  Well, I will want to hear him say it at x:30 on the days that he’s on and if I can’t make it, I can always set my DVR to record it.  Regardless, I am going to the source to get my content.

Let’s face it, old movies and TV shows don’t make YouTube until they’ve already been played on TV.  How does this affect my viewership of something like The Daily Show on The Comedy Channel?  They aren’t running every show in re-runs for me to catch up.  Some networks like NBC do provide episodes of their TV programs to watch via their websites, so I can understand their beef.  But, again, isn’t YouTube simply providing trailers for people to find these shows?  Very rarely are you going to find ALL of the episodes of a particular TV program on YouTube.  But, a snippet of one might just cause you to seek out the TV program (on its network), if you are appropriately stimulated to do so.

I also find it interesting that The Daily Show can be found on the front page of, so evidently they are not above having viewers watch their show on a competing network’s vehicle.  (Hulu is owned by NBC/Universal.)  While I understand that they are getting paid, why not try to strike a similar deal with YouTube.  YouTube actually approached Viacom about cutting a deal that would allow them to broadcast Viacom shows and in return, YouTube would build filters (similar to their porn filters) that would block material from Viacom projects from being uploaded without consent.  Viacom views this as strong-arming and has declined.  It just appears a bit hypocritical to me that Viacom agrees to sell its programming to Hulu (a competitor) and won’t work out a deal with YouTube and Google.  Sadly, what they miss is that if they did, they would be viewed as pioneers of progress and amply rewarded by increased viewership. 

While the revenue stream for musicians and writers is more convoluted, they are missing the same boat by not embracing the awareness-building outlet of YouTube to gain exposure for their music.  Some artists “get it” and that’s why you’re starting to see YouTube channels like Radiohead, AliciaKeys, mayermusic, and AmosLeePodcast.  These guys understand that YouTube is a vehicle for distribution.  To engage the viewer/listener.  To evoke enough of an interest to have that viewer buy tracks, seek out concert tickets, and become A FAN.  Once you’ve got fans, then the word of mouth of people like you and me become more precious than diamonds and gold.  The label is not getting the arist the kind of exposure YouTube and other non-traditional on-line outlets, like blogs, are providing.  Again, why not embrace the change instead of trying to eradicate it.  In the annals of history, there is no-one who has ever stopped progress through limiting technology.  Why try something that has been proven to fail every time?

YouTube may have a bit of a rock road to travel, however because of Google’s deep pockets they are here to stay.  IMO.  If not, I’m going to be really pissed.

Here’s some Tubeliciousness that I came across today.  Imagine being deprived of these?

  Astral Weeks, Van Morrison

  Street Corner Preacher, Amos Lee

  It Take Two to Tango, Aretha Franklin & Ray Charles

  Slip Slidin’ Away, Paul Simon (live @ Abbey Road)


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‘Tube Tuesday

Busy traveling today, but here’s a few Music Maven favorites to keep you company.

  Tiny Dancer, Elton John

  Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, Jerry Lee Lewis

  Time After Time, Eva Cassidy

  Man Smart, Woman Smarter, The Grateful Dead

  The First Cut is the Deepest, James Morrison

  Sea of Love, Cat Power

  Long Black Veil, The Band

  I’d Rather Go Blind, Etta James


Posted by on April 21, 2008 in smorgasbord, YouTube


Shine A Light…Let’s Try This Again

Ok, despite the YouTube promotion debacle, we’re going to try this again.

I’m starting to get a little excited about the Scorcese Rockumentary, Shine A Light, documenting the Rolling Stones’ Beacon Theatre Concert in ’06. (Even Bill Clinton attended….)

Now, admittedly, I’m not a huge Stones fan as I have thought that they were overrated and over-tauted over the years. I really felt that they rode the coattails of The Beatles and that they never were of the same caliber. However….I have to say that after watching the trailers and some of the videos from Shine A Light, I have a new respect for The Rolling Stones.

Consider this…these guys are nearly qualified for Social Security, I mean, if they were American citizens. At 64, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are simply unbelievable. I have evidenced first hand that many in the Boomer generation are “not your father’s Oldsmobile”, but The Stones are phenomenal. 64, people. That is nearly 20 years my senior.

And, oh so clevah….notice on this YouTube vid who the author is. They don’t restrict embedding. No…they want us to post away. SSSSmmmmarrrttttt.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

On Shattered, the lads show that they are still a force to be reckoned with, thoroughly entertaining perhaps the third generation since they began. Keith Richards sums it up in this short interview clip:

Mick Jagger commands the audience, once again, with Some Girls:

Funny aside regarding Keith Richards. Last weekend, Mini-DD had a friend over and we were watching Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End, when I aptly pointed out to the incredulous teenagers that Captain Teague was the lead guitarist for The Rolling Stones:

Richards is an institution in himself. Even though Lefsetz thinks Keith is a sell-out, I don’t think there’s any such thing. Make some money, Keith. We know where your heart is.

Personally, I think this blues clip of Satisfaction says it all…

or this duet with Norah Jones on Gram Parsons’ Love Hurts:


Posted by on April 6, 2008 in Concerts, music legends, soundtracks, YouTube


Deja Vu All Over Again?

So, I get my YouTube-Fu on this morning looking of an obscure Van Morrison performance to usher in the weekend, and I find this:

I was immediately harkened back to Artist Voices from GoFish. As far as I can tell, Taylor Hicks was the first and the last artist “in a series”. Now, while I have been critical of Taylor’s lack of inventive promotion (or just promotion, period), I thought this was a fantastic move. Evidently, YouTube did too, as they now are doing virtually the same thing with The Rolling Stones. No doubt, other artists are soon to follow. Just goes to show you what CAPITAL does for a company. While GoFish struggles through the independent landscape, YouTube is run by the Google folks. And, we all know that those guys are “doers”.

Too bad Taylor couldn’t hitch his wagon to the YouTube star, but I have to give him (or somebody) kudos for trying. Sadly, however, there were so many missed opportunities and “coulda beens” for Taylor Hicks. Point is, talk is cheap. You gotta DO it.

Very few brilliant ideas or marketing strategies ever come to fruition because they are never IMPLEMENTED. YouTube believes in “git ‘er done” and it pays HUGE dividends. Literally.

The Stones taking fan questions on YouTube will be huge and it will also assist in promoting the new Martin Scorcese flick of The Stones at the Beacon, Shine A Light, debuting today. Think The Last Waltz. Filmed in late ’06 at New York’s famed Beacon Theatre, the film gives a never-before-seen look at The Stones both on and off stage, in ways that only Scorcese can convey.

While I think that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards could possibly be the two ugliest men alive, THIS is promotion folks. On the day that the film opens, they utilize one of the best promotion tools (YouTube) to advertise their music and movie while “hooking” the fans in via interaction. Word of mouth will be crazy among Stoners.

And, Scorcese? All I can say his vision continues. If you go into the Shine A Light sight that I linked to above, they cover all the bases. Preview video to entice you, iTunes and Amazon links to buy the Soundtrack, Get A Widget to help you promote them (for free), downloadable screen savers from the very high quality IMax film, and tons more. A virtual plethora of Stones propaganda for the hard cores.

This is the dream, folks. It’s not limited, however, to The Rolling Stones and Martin Scorcese. They just happened to be smart enough to seize a good idea and actually DO it right. While I’m not a Stones fan, I may just attend this movie out of principle….to award a job well done.


Posted by on April 4, 2008 in Marketing, music biz, YouTube


Death Knell for YouTube?

This CNN Money article by Paul LaMonica addresses the recent class-action lawsuit against YouTube by members of the National Music Publishers Association. This joins Viacom’s billion dollar copyright infringement lawsuit against Google and YouTube.

Now I understand artists and songwriters concern over copyright infringement, but I think they are stuck in the old model. While many experts believe that “big media” clips on YouTube only account for a fraction of the actual videos, the fact that they host and provide vids of musical artists and sporting events causes those owners to claim foul.

My question is are they shooting themselves in the foot by trying to curb people’s enthusiasm? As with music files, is it more important to protect the artists involved by restricting ALL usage for pay that provides minimal exposure and/or return to the artist? Or, is it more beneficial to the artists to have people exposed to the music so that they actually spend more money on the music through concerts, merchandise and maybe even some music to support artists that they enjoy?

I know these are rhetorical questions, but I’d like others’ opinions on this issue. This isn’t going away and for some bloggers (like yours truly), it would take away the main purpose of the blog — to share music with others. So, give it to me straight….are we jeopardizing artists’ livelihoods by not paying to use their material or do we actually enhance revenue opportunities for artists by writing about them and exposing performances to others?

ETA:  Here’s an MSNBC article on super-duper technology that will at the very least, limit, some of the vids….digital fingerprint?

Beck said the video recognition technology will allow those holding copyrights on videos to provide a digital fingerprint so that if anyone tries to share a copyrighted video, the system will shut it down within a minute or so.

I’m really tech ignorant when it comes to this, so…..How do it know?  I mean, if someone tapes an HBO special on DVR, then uploads it to YouTube, will the digital fingerprint be passed from broadcast to DVR to YouTube, then gotcha?  I can sort of see TV shows but this really doesn’t address alot of music vids, right?  Damn, my head hurts….

ETA2:  Bob Lefsetz’s take from a couple of months back.


Posted by on August 8, 2007 in Music Today, YouTube


YouTube-Fu Smorgashbord

Some favorites I’ve found recently while “diving”. Yes, I’ve become bored with the hinter lands of cable TV….on to the Internets.

Otis Redding, I’ve Been Loving You
From the Monterrey Blues Festival. One of my Top 10 Favorite songs.

Marc Broussard, jammin’ on the tour bus.

Ray LaMontagne, Your the Best Thing
At The Beacon in NYC.

Sam Cooke, Bring it on Home to Me
Another all-time favorite of mine….there’s just something about this music…

Joss Stone & Rod Stewart, Hot Legs

Amos Lee, Soul Suckers

Taylor Hicks, Long Train Running
A dedication to Corn Hole in Kentucky?

Stevie Wonder, Yester Me, Yester You
Yet another all-time favorite.

Barbra Streisand & Judy Garland, Happy Days/Get Happy
Two of the BEST voices of the 20th century.

Patsy Cline, Crazy
No matter how many times I hear this song, I never tire of it.

The Yardbirds, Louise
A young Eric Clapton on lead guitar.

Here’s the last one…ok, this is not music, but it is HILARIOUS….Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you PooPoo Broussard.


Big Teeth


Posted by on July 15, 2007 in Amos Lee, Artists, Taylor, YouTube