Like most music fans in Canada that grew up in the 80’s I watched Much Music and it’s francophone sister station Musique Plus.

I spent hours watching music videos and live performance by my favourite artists, in both of Canada’s official languages, whilst being introduced to both past classics and new artists from around the world. And have since then collected quite a few video compilations on VHS and then DVD, fortunately.

I of course used the word fortunately because in the early 2000’s “reality” programs had begun invading music television in the states and Canada. And although I enjoyed The Osbournes and Gene Simmons Family Jewels, other non-music related “reality” programs crept into the schedule and eventually pushed everything else off the air, including my favourite music video based programs.

When music videos were made rare on these channels by 2010 I was quite happy to have collected and upgraded a large portion of my favourites on DVD, because I could view them at any time regardless of the loss of music television. But it appears that history may be repeating itself, this time with Youtube.

After I had joined Youtube in March 2006, I watched the videos I wanted to see and was introduced to new videos based on their likes and views, later subscribing to the channels that I liked.

I chose most of what I wanted to see via my subscriptions and liked most of what was recommended to me. But unfortunately by the mid-2010’s Youtube experimented with software that didn’t quite work.

First videos started to disappear because of an overzealous, automated copyright system, some of which were taken offline whilst their legitimate owners filed grievances and fought off theft by random companies that flagged videos as their own only to steal their ad revenue.

Then videos failed to appear in my subscriptions due to an algorithm that eventually caused content creators to loose their ad revenues and notifications were introduced to correct the issue. And instead of supporting these content creators through what I believed to be a transitional phase, they demanded minimum views their algorithm would not allow, causing some creators to just stop uploading videos to the site.

Now many of the creators I subscribe to are virtually inactive, gone or leaving. And my recommendations are full of mainstream media produced videos I am not interested in.

I subscribe to one late show television host, the algorithm thinks I want to see the others, especially when it features the same guests. And it branches out from there pushing videos off my recommendations, mainly from channels on which I haven’t activated notifications..

This can get to be a real problem when videos are demonetized for some reason, resulting in monetized videos being featured in my subscriptions instead, most of which appear to be from mainstream media now.

Now i’m wondering how long videos from the top channels I subscribe to are going to keep showing up, as my attention is constantly diverted to video Youtube wants me to watch. But i’m hoping they will recognize that, like with music television, viewers can move on.

It should be noted that they have just restored comments on some family channels so perhaps they’ll be able to tweak their false copyright flagging and independent content view decimating algorithms in the future, to keep viewers from going elsewhere.

Personally, i’m in for the long haul, having watched Youtube for nearly one and a half decades. And i’m hoping improvements will be made to the system. But we’ve got to wonder what Apple, Spotify and Twitch are planning for the future.

I guess time will tell.

UPDATE: Youtube has taken legal action against Christopher L Brady in the United States District Court (District of Nebraska) in Case No. 19-353 on August 19th, 2019, alledging that this individual had violated the Digital Millenium Copyright Act 17 U.S.C § 512(f) by repetitively attempting “to harass and extort money from YouTube content creators through bogus allegations of copyright infringement”.

The Lighter Side