Piracy in Streaming

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has released a report (PDF) this month and although it appears that the majority of consumers use legal streaming services to listen to music, 40% stream music from sites that are illegal.

These illegal sites, unfortunately, do not give royalties to the artists and also appear to be promoted by Google via their search engines.

This has become a concern because 85% of music consumers from the age of 13 to 15 stream music and video according to this report and the IFPI believes the issue is compounded by the popularity of music videos on Youtube, which “accounts for 46% of all time spent listening to on-demand music”; The IFPI believes upload services like Youtube “are not returning fair value to the music community”.

More people are listening to legal streaming services though, which is up from 37% last year to 45% this year. But the IFPI wants to obtain more revenue from Youtube, comparable to that of Spotify, whose royalties are estimated to be $20 per user, per year; The report claims less than a dollar in royalties are collected per user per year from Youtube.

The IFPI is also concerned about stream ripping, which involves the capturing of audio from streaming services.

This report estimates that more users are stream ripping, up from 30% last year to 35% this year. But advancements have been made to end this practice with the dismantling of earlier this month.

That site enabled its 60 million plus users to rip audio from Youtube videos but the Recording Industry Association of America sued and the owners of this site settled by closing it down.

RIAA had also successfully closed Sharebeast as well this month, a site that “averaged 14-16 million visits per month at its height in 2013” according to the Official RIAA press release.

Bad News For Betamax Fans

It looks like Betamax is officially dead, according to a Sony press release that was released today.

Yes, the video format was not killed off during the format Betamax/VHS war and actually lived on in the video production and broadcasting industries until digital video. But Sony has now decided to stop making their blank beta format videocassettes.

Unfortunately that means that some of you hardcore beta fans will no longer have easy access to blank videocassettes for your classic videotape cameras, including those micro MV video cassettes that you’ve used in the 90’s and early 2000’s. And although I don’t have an official Sony betamax videocamera it appears that i’ve used the format several times to film some of my older Youtube videos and have a few of the discontinued Sony micro MV videocassettes in storage.

My format of choice is now of course those digital SDHD cards but hard drive and solid state hard drive camcorders are getting more and more affordable as time goes by.

Stickaid 2013 is Next Saturday

Stickaid 2013 will begin at 12pm UTC/7am Eastern Next Saturday
click here to find your local time

Stickaid 2013 is a 24 hour fundraising event for Unicef UK held in London, England that will air live on Youtube.

Unicef UK is currently helping the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and refuges of the Syrian war in the Middle-East. Please support their efforts.

Youtube Music Subscriptions ?

Billboard has reported yesterday that Youtube is working on a new premium service that may enable individual subscribers to view music videos offline and/or without adverts.

Apparently Google has already secured licenses with Warner, Sony and Universal. But I’m guessing a Canadian service will take so time to be implemented.

Additional information on the American service can be found on the Billboard article. I will post information related to a Canadian service as soon as it becomes available.

Vevo/Youtube vs Buying Music Videos

As you may or may not know I like to purchase music video compilations.

I have been purchasing music videos since the late 80’s with the release of Def Leppard’s "Historia" on VHS and have since collected hundreds of compilations from various genres, my latest purchases being from iTunesicon. And I suspect that I will continue purchasing music videos and music video compilations regardless of the renewal of Youtube’s contract with Vevo.

I like Vevo. It enables me to preview music videos and watch videos that I can’t purchase. But I prefer owning music videos because I don’t want to be dependent on the internet and the site being online to watch music videos.

The adverts are acceptable and fund the site. But the logo in the bottom right can get distracting at times and they don’t carry every music video or allow me to every music video they have because of rights issues so I will probably keep searching eBay for that elusive DVD, DVD single and CD/DVD compilation.

Having watched music videos since the first airings of CBC programs Video Hits and Good Rockin’ Tonight, most of the music videos I am looking for are Canadian and from the 80’s, so quite a few music videos that I want are still unavailable on both Vevo and iTunesicon because they’re mostly interested in the most popular music videos. And the record companies don’t appear to be interested in releasing music video compilations until a certain profit threshold is reached, even when the compilation is already completed and mastered like Platinum Blonde’s "The Complete DVD Collection" and Honeymoon Suite’s "Bed of Nails".

I am definitely not a stranger to the pre-order delay and cancellation, having ordered dozens of video compilations that were eventually shelved. And though being able to access some videos on Vevo would be better than relying on low quality user uploads on Youtube, some of which are plagued with more intrusive logos, I would still prefer the ability to purchase these music videos individually.

Overall I’d say Vevo is a excellent service, when it has the videos you want and when it enables you to view them. And when the plug-in doesn’t crash !

Yes, I was listening to a Mylene Farmer video from Universal France while I was typing this and it crashed. And this happens from time to time on Youtube/Vevo as well. But I haven’t encountered these issues playing music videos I’ve purchased and downloaded to my drive or network drive.

I would of course purchase this particular video but it isn’t available on DVD or online yet. ARGH!

Oh well, time to check my European sources to see if Kate Bush’s "The Whole Story" was released on DVD or blu-ray. 🙂

Good Morning or Happy Birthday ?

Say, did you know that you can’t sing “Happy Birthday To You” on Youtube ?

That’s right. The age old tune is still copyrighted and to use it you need to pay up.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s an adult or group of children that sings it. And when a film production company called Good Morning To You Productions Inc made a documentary about the songs history, they were required to pay a $1,500 synchronization license fee to use it on their film.

Had this company not paid they would have been liable up to $150,000 in damaged for copyright infringement so they paid up. But of course they also decided to launch a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court representing the Southern District of New York, on behalf of all who were forced to pay to use this song.

The composition was originally entitled “Good Morning To All” and composed in 1893 by Patty Smith Hill and her sister Mildred Hill. And the copyright to that song of course expired in 1921 in the States. But a change in lyrics in 1924 and a different arrangement in 1935 caused the copyright to linger.

Fast forward to 2013.

The plaintiffs claim that they have evidence dating the traditional lyrics to 1911. This would date both the composition and traditional lyrics to over 75 years, rendering both public domain.

They also dispute whether copyright was actually established in 1924 because Robert H. Coleman was only credited for compiling, editing and publishing “Harvest Hymns”, a songbook which featured the melody and lyrics to “Happy Birthday To You”.

The class action lawsuit also alleges that copyright for “Happy Birthday To You” had not been established in several subsequent publications and copyright registrations.

What’s annoying about this is that in Canada there’s no dispute whether this song is public domain with lyrics or not. But everything that is uploaded to Youtube is subject to American law so hold off uploading your birthday videos guys and gals until this is settled.