Why would YouTube care about indie music when there’s a billion people listening to Psy? Foxy Shazam tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:05 pm June 18, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Lots of uproar over the announcement that YouTube is launching a subscription music service and — as a result — will be purging its servers of music videos produced by independent labels who haven’t signed a deal with them.

The Daily Mail has one of the better explanations of what’s going on. In their article published yesterday, the Daily Mail quoted a source, saying:

“… a small number of independent artists who had not agreed to new deal terms will have their videos blocked in some countries starting in a few days, even on the free version of YouTube.

“YouTube will block the music videos so users of the test version won’t be confused about which content they can access for free and with features (that) require payment, the people said.

“Allowing free streams of music by certain artists while not offering them on the paid service would erode the value of the paid plan, one person said.”

That said, I still can’t figure out what it means to anyone except for Adele, who will be booted because XL hasn’t signed on the dotted line. Will this mean that indie bands who self-release their own material will have their videos taken off YouTube? They are, after all, the epitome of indie labels. How will YouTube discern between formal indie music videos and, say, Love Drunk videos or videos made by bands that show themselves simply playing at a live venue?

And who at YouTube is going to sift through the billions of videos and weed out the “offenders”? And why would YouTube give a shit about little mom-and-pop labels whose audience is minuscule compared to the audience for one Sony artist? Fact is, they probably don’t give a shit.

The idea that users of the service will be “confused about which content they can access for free” vs. the paid content seems absurd. One major clue would be the shitty 30-second commercial free users will have to sit through before the actual video begins. Subscribers don’t get served advertising.

In the end, it may be much ado over nothing, except for the fact that apparently YouTube is now the No. 1 music streaming service in the world. But do people who listen to quality indie music really turn to YouTube to check out the latest Stephen Malkmus track? Seems unlikely.

At the end of the day, this could turn into yet another way to segregate music. Those who want to see the latest Psy monstrosity will turn to YouTube, while those wanting quality indie music will have to plug into Vimeo. That may not be such a bad thing after all…

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Foxy Shazam plays glammy power pop infused with Queen-style harmonies and the occasional amusing lyric. I tried to find their latest album, Gonzo, on Spotify, but it was self-released and apparently hasn’t been added to the Spotify library and probably never will be because it’s available for free stream and download, at www.foxyshazam.com.

Anyway, Foxy Shazam headlines at The Waiting Room tonight with Larry and his Flask. $15, weird 8:30 p.m. start time.

Also tonight, Matt Whipkey and Brad Hoshaw take the stage at MarQ Manner’s Library Pub Songwriter night. It’s free and starts at 8. More info here.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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