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Why Is EMI Blocking Their Artists?

Yesterday morning a new video from Gorillaz' Plastic Beach album showed up on their YouTube channel. I liked it, as I like all their videos, so I did a natural thing: shared it on social networks. 

That afternoon, I mentioned it to a friend, but she couldn't see the video. In the meanwhile, video was forbidden for viewing in certain countries, Serbia included. There is obviously somebody with great talent for marketing there.

I googled around to see what's the catch. But all I could find were the news about EMI signing with YouTube (like they had to sign something more than checking the "I agree" box in the opening account agreement) and about EMI letting YouTube users to remix their content. Which is great move on their side. But since the first ten pages gave me no information about censoring their own content in some countries I have to assume that there is some copyright bullshit in the game. 

copyright fart pillowphoto by Mike Monteiro

Since the days when art was invented, one friend telling the other about something is the best advertisement possible. Especially in art and culture. In the past we did that face to face or by the phone. Now we do it via social networks. There is no payed advertisement that is effective as saying to a friend: hey, check this out, it's cool. It's so obvious that I feel silly writing it now. 

But it's not that obvious to EMI's marketing experts. Or there is some other game I'm not aware of? Please tell me.

As a result, I'll have to do what I always had with videos that are not available in my country. Search them on some private channel and send my friends there. If company doesn't want to be in the party, well whattahell. Not that we'll miss them. 

As a result of that, they'll probably start bragging around about piracy and infringements. And they'll spend a pile of dollars on the lawsuit instead of accepting the free promotion. Because of their own stupidity and lack of basic knowledge of marketing in the XXI century. Good news is that they'll either accept the technology and digital culture or die. Big music companies are becoming obsolete. As Sex Pistols said in EMI

I can't stand those useless fools

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8 comments to Why Is EMI Blocking Their Artists?

  • Travis

    Its such a headache. I use youtube playlists for things like going to sleep with relaxing music or all the songs of an album, etc., Basically a streaming music player almost all the time.

    Recently, EMI has blocked Royksopp songs that aren't live (and the ones that ARE live performances are poorly filmed with terrible audio and random loud people) for no good reason as I can make out. Why? no explanation, just a =\ emoticon face and an implied FUCK YOU from EMI. Well FUCK YOU TOO, I'm going to intentionally get around your shitty blocking just to spite the illogical censorship.
    Don't these companies realize that this kind of behavior can only drive people to either piracy or just going around the blocking efforts? I mean, Its a bad sign when your legitimate fans are forced to mask their ip address simply to view a video made by the artists you're *supposedly* trying to represent and promote.
     
    Its completely stupid. No ifs ands or buts. STUPID to the core.
     
    I do admit there are a SMALL handful of exceptions: a few legitimate reasons why videos might be blocked outside certain countries (BBC content mainly comes to mind). Regardless, its doing nothing but negative publicity for the parent company of the artists.
    Well Mr. EMI bigshot: As a direct result of this video blocking, I now have a less positive mental image of EMI, and as a consumer, would be less inclined to purchase an itunes track from them, because everyone knows the greedy labels and producers eat up way too much of the profit from sales while a pitance is only given to the actual artists.

    If it were up to me, I'd paypal $10 directly to the band after downloading the album, but apparently even THAT is somehow illegal, unless they changed it recently.

    I hope articles like yours get these stupid old content grampas to change their tune a little bit, even if they'll go into the modern era kicking and screaming no doubt.

  • Just tonight I came across this image.
    In all honesty I translate "video not available" as "go and download it somewhere else". And I can live with that. :)
    BTW, you might want to check Grooveshark.com for streaming music player. Get an account (it's free) and quite quickly it will pick up your taste for music. Though it's not endless, they tend to ask for a simple click of interaction every hour or so. 

  • Allison

    Like all things nowadays, it boils down to money. When you copy/paste a video onto your blog, facebook, whatever, EMI isn't getting that small bit of money that they usually do, if it is embedded with any other channel but their own. Sucks, but that's how it is. I hope enough artists argue the point to do something about it.
     
    http://blogs.laweekly.com/westcoastsound/2010/01/emi_youtube_ok_go.php

  • Yes, it's money… but they are losing money this way. One would thought they have somebody a bit intelligent and marketing savvy there.

  • Kevin Pinel

     
    Well, I'm trying to make sense of the whole thing, and it's not easy.
     
    First let's pick an EMI artist from this page : http://www.emimusic.com/artists/ . A fairly famous band, say Kings of Convenience. Searching around youtube, I can't find a single video blocked by EMI. The official videos come in a vevo page. Alright.
     
    Next, let's pick another band that isn't on the EMI artist list, say Little Dragon. On youtube, every non-live video is blocked by EMI in my country. This band's label is Peacefrog Records. On their website in the "Affiliates" section, you'll find EMI Label Services
     
    I'm think EMI Label Services probably has different arrangements for each label and maybe even for each artist. But in this particular case, if one was to extrapolate, the story (pure fiction of course) could go like this:
     
    EMI has their own labels which make their profits from music sales. A different part of EMI offers services to independent labels like distributing and managing their artist's rights in certain countries. The independent labels also make their profits from music sales, which means they are in direct competition with the EMI labels. Music videos are probably the best way to promote an artist, so since EMI owns the rights to the music for parts of the world, they decide to block their competitors videos where they can.
     
    The only thing I don't get is why would an independent label stand for that kind of treatment? I mean, even the Little Dragon videos that Peacefrog Records uploaded themselves get blocked. Is it just a case of the big company bullying the smaller ones because they don't have any other way to get distributed worldwide? Hmm…

  • I’ve learned about bands I never heard of through watching youtube videos. A Band called helix, for one. I love their music and loved watching their videos. If they had not been on youtube I may have never heard of them. I have soince purchased all of their cd’s I could find. Now their best videos are blocked including the one I put on my facebook page so that others could learn of them. Very shortsighted of EMI.

  • … and worst of all… EMI (and others) is killing the bands that way.

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