Amateurs no longer need as Sony muscles them off YouTube
Sony Music and Bob Dylan are pushing Bob Dylan fan videos off YouYube as we predicted last fall. When the Day of the Locust video was removed from our story Bob Dylan original art and prints Drawn Blank it was just another Dylan video “removed” by YouTube.
A search for “Bob Dylan” on YouTube produced 65,000 videos, down from more than 110,000 in September of 2009. For the most part, the Bob Dylan videos remaining are on official channels like BobDylanTV and VEVO, both of which are owned or controlled by Sony Music.
Follow the money
It’s not that Bob Dylan doesn’t like his fans or their videos. His label Sony thinks it’s losing advertising money when we watch videos that they don’t control.
Bob Dylan Just Like a Woman, posted by fan (since we posted this story, Sony had the YouTube video taken down. Here’s another version)
“Vevo is a music video and entertainment website. It is owned by Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Abu Dhabi Media Company.The service was launched officially on 8 December 2009. The video hosting for Vevo is provided by YouTube, with Google and Vevo sharing the advertising revenue. Vevo offers music videos from three of the four major record labels, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI.”
“One of the reasons cited for the launch of Vevo is the competition that music videos have in the form of YouTube. Warner Music Group apparently removed its content from YouTube in March 2009 for this reason, but is said to be considering hosting its content on Vevo. The concept for the site is described as being a Hulu for music videos, with the goal being to attract more high-end advertisers. It is believed that some advertisers are ambivalent to hosting advertising on the YouTube site alongside user-generated video.” Wikipedia
Fan interest wanes
New artists are building their fan base with sites like YouTube. As OK GO found, the switch to a label can put them on the outs with fans who are used to freely sharing. EMI Blocks OK GO videos – how dumb can that be?. In March of 2010, OK GO split with their label and formed Parachute Recordings. The reason was obvious. OK Go built their fan base with viral distribution on YouTube. EMI’s dumb move to end that was putting a big dent in OK Go’s popularity. Fans are worth more than labels in today’s music business.
With aging artists like Dylan, it’s the fan interest that keeps his name in the public mind. Fans collect videos and music. They take forbidden videos at concerts risking losing their equipment. Fans have been bootlegging Dylan since the beginning.
Fans like to share Dylan music and videos. It was a competitive pastime on YouTube posting Dylan music. The latest song and the old obscure songs were interesting to post and watch.
Sony has harassed those fans with DMCA take downs and account suspensions on YouTube until people more or less quit. How many times are you going to prepare a video, post it and then have your account deleted before you move on to something else.
Sony may capture all of the advertising revenue, but I’m sure the number of viewers is less than the amateur videos got. Everyone has seen the official videos.