So often in fights over new technologies, the instincts of established players lead them to run to government. They cry, they stomp their feet, and they look to their friends in the regulatory bodies and the Congress. They ask for new rules to stop that bad man doing new things.
It’s a dangerous reflex, so I’m glad to see musician Nikki Sixx doing the right thing and not going to government first, when it comes to criticizing Google.
Nikki Sixx is the co-founder of Mötley Crüe, and is unhappy with the deal he gets from Google, with respect to licensing of Youtube videos. But instead of whining to government, he protested them directly. Reading this in The Guardian, the protest was immediately effective and felt by Google:
The letter says that the publicity garnered following the recent criticism by artists led to music industry representatives meeting with Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, who asked them to “pause” their protest in return for meaningful action on the issue.
Google wouldn’t ask for a pause if it weren’t hurting them. Which is only fair, since the musicians feel like they’re getting ridiculously low value for their works. Consider that music publishers took in £25 million of licensing fees from 2.1 million vinyl record sales in 2015. While Youtube paid out £24 million on 27 billion views.
Google claims that what they pay out derives from what they get in ad revenue, and that’s well and good. But musicians should have the right to demand more, with Google having the option to take it or leave it. That’s how negotiations work.
Google doesn’t want to negotiate. They want to build the Youtube brand and traffic, being the central clearing house, and force everyone else to play along. Nikki Sixx is raising awareness of this, and threatening to shake up the game. All without government involvement. Good on him.