Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An Open Letter to Warner Music

In the past, I've addressed open letters to a number of celebrities and other individuals. However, this time, I cannot identify the single person who is responsible for the impetus of the letter, so I am going to just have to address an entire division of a major conglomerate, which I am fine with.

I am writing this letter to bring to your attention the reaction of a lot of people regarding your company's relatively recent work at Youtube.

Now, there have been a lot of videos pulled down from the site over the years, and you've done your share of that, but there always seemed to be some understanding that things would never go too far. Then you sort of went crazy. To paraphrase Marcellus Wallace, you went medieval on the collective asses of the Youtube userbase.

But was merely pulling videos down enough for you? No. You decided to play silly buggers thought it would be a gas to just take the audio off of videos. You know, that way, people could experience the music videos that are associated with your songs without all that pesky music getting in the way. And I am not referring to the mashups here, I am talking about the official music videos.

You know, it is always wonderful to go to visit a video you watched as a kid and discover that someone has been forced to put another song over it. I mean, that's just peachy keen.

If I remember correctly, videos were things you gave to music stations for promotional use. They are still being used in that capacity. I mean, it isn't like MTV or the various other stations who began their life with that purpose are doing that anymore. I mean, if you keep making them, and I can't see them, then that is an awful waste of money, is it not?

But in your infinite wisdom, you've decided that people shouldn't see music videos for artists under your umbrella of companies. Fine. Be that way. I mean, I've been slightly irked by the Universal Music Group not allowing the embedding of videos that feature their music, but at least the general public can see them.

And then there is the culture jamming.

There is a particular example with really sticks in my craw. There was an awesome, awesome video featuring clips from the three Mad Max videos accompanied by Motorhead's Ace of Spades. In the world of the mashup, it was a thing of beauty.

But could it survive at Youtube under your heavy handed tactics? No. You destroyed it.

Because let's be frank... I am sure that Motorhead was absolutely livid that their music was put over clips of Mad Max. I mean, we all know that Lemmy is a real stickler for rules and such... a real authoritarian.

Wait a minute, they aren't like that at all. In fact, let me quote the song that was stripped from that video: "I don't share your greed. The only card I need is the Ace of Spades."

And correct me if I am wrong, but aren't the Mad Max movies distributed by Warner? I wonder how many people have picked up a Mad Max movie after they saw that video? I am sure it is a statistically significant number.

So basically you are doing everything in your power to lose money by destroying your grassroots promotional base and discouraging a positive perception of your company in the demographic that is most likely to buy your products? My advice is to take a few steps back from the edge and think about what you are doing... because people are going to start doing things that cost you money directly, and no one wants that.

So soften your approach... everyone will be happier that way Warner Music.


Jeremy Barker said...

All I need is the Ace of Spades and teh internets: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e71_1177113480

They can't catch everyone!

Arjan said...

I got absolutely nothing to add. Now have you sent them a link of this post? Because you should.

Arjan said...

oh and MC, rip that video from liveleak before warner finds it ;)

MC said...

Jeremy: The person who originally posted it at Youtube has put a Mozart track over it and listed everywhere else it is on the web. I am just making a statement about how the heavy hand of Warner Music basically killed something on Youtube that was good promotion.

Arjan: I am thinking about forwarding it to WMG yes.