My thoughts on Prince taking down videos with his music in from Youtube…
I have to say that this is one of the worst moves that an artist can make today. The internet is a growing medium for distribution, and whilst a majority is illegal there is a still a vast market for legal distribution.
First of all, most people buy their music because they’ve heard the song somewhere. If they’ve never heard the song, they won’t just buy it randomly, and 30 seconds hardly suffices with the general public. Most music is bought because the person heard it on a TV-Show, an Advertisement, a Trailer, in a movie, or even in a Youtube video.
Next, the person putting up the video has already got that song, regardless of how they got it. If they downloaded it, they downloaded it. If they bought it, they bought it. By taking down the video you are not taking away from the fact that, the poster has the track and there’s nothing you can do about it.
It’s the viewer that the focus should be on. Where the poster uses a different track doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to them. But to the viewer, the viewer will be listening to the track chosen. This often ignites interest among many users in the track, and this then takes them to look up the track and ‘get it’ somehow.
Whether they ‘get it’ from a Peer-to-peer network, or from an Online Store or from a Record Store in their town, they are still wanting to get the track somehow and therefore will be more likely to check out other songs and be more likely to buy the artist’s albums.
Can you think of one of the most common comments on Youtube?
“What song is that?’
Exactly how the viewer gets the content has nothing to do with the video, unless the video, in a very unlikely case, tells the viewer to steal it. How they get it will depend on how they feel about distribution on the net and how they get all their music. If they are the type of peson that steals music, then they will eventually hear your song and maybe one day, horror-of-horrors, steal it. However, if the person is the type of person that buys music, they will buy it.
By having content with an artist’s music in on places like Youtube, it will not take away from the artist’s sales, it can only increase. And by taking down this content, they are only harming their sales.