Universal Music Group Video Policy

Money money moneyOne more nail in the major label’s coffin…

Will they end up going out of business before they learn how to use technology for their own benefit? Are they really this dense?

On Friday, February 25, I received a message from my New Media contact at Interscope Geffen A&M. It said:

Hi Everyone,

As some of you may or may not have heard, UMG is putting in place a new Pay Per Play Video Policy. This means that we will no longer be servicing video streams for free use. I will continue to service audio Streams and fulfill online publicity requests.

This also means that as of Monday Feb 28th, all of Interscope’s current videos will be suspended. If you have links that are live on your site, I would suggest you take them off or they will just redirect to our Artist’s site.

If you are interested in striking a deal with UMG to play videos, please let me know and I will put you in contact with the right person.

For Glorious Noise, this isn’t that big of a deal, really. We rarely link to major label videos anyway.

These video streams were usually sent to us by publicists and label reps who asked us to post the streams on GLONO in order to promote the release of whatever album they were pushing that week. If it was something we liked, we’d occasionally post it. Usually to the “Listen to the Band” hype forum on the boards. Rarely, if it was something super cool, we’d add a link to it on the home page. That way, our readers might get to see a good video (they’re not going to see them on MTV, as we all know) and the label gets a little free publicity and feels justified sending us the occasional promo cd. Win-win.

But now, some suit at Universal Music Group has had the brilliant idea that if the kids were willing to watch videos on their computers, they might as well charge them for the privilege. Of course. I’m sure some Finance guy took a look at the monthly bandwidth bill from Streamos and was very proud of himself when he devised a clever way to turn those expenses into revenues. Monetize that shit, yo! Maybe Herbert Kornfield finally backed his shit on up outta tha Midstate Office Supply and landed a primo position at UMG.

Herbert Kornfield, newly appointed CFO at UMG?
Herbert Kornfield,
newly appointed
Shit gets done when H-Dog’s around. Ain’t nobody balance more spreadsheets in a pay period than him. Daddy H coordinate the second-shift check-processing schedule like a mother fuck. Bills be sent.

Regardless of how it went down, this is a really shortsighted and stupid idea for Universal. When it comes down to it, what is a video but a three-minute commercial for a cd? Nobody’s going to pay to see these videos and then nobody’s going to buy UMG cds. This is another example of a major label completely misunderstanding technology and their audience.

For those of you wondering, UMG is the conglomerate that owns the following labels:

Geffen Records • Interscope Geffen A&M • Island Def Jam Music Group • Lost Highway Records • MCA Nashville • Mercury Nashville • Motown Records • Universal Classics • Universal Records • Universal Music Enterprises • Universal Music Latino • Universal South • Verve Music Group

So what does this mean? Does it mean you won’t be able to watch free videos online anymore? Probably not. I’m guessing sites like Yahoo will work out a deal so that we can all watch the latest Beck video without having to stay up all night watching for it on MTV2. And guess what? Glorious Noise will probably still link to it wherever it ends up. No big deal. This is still the internet, after all.

It’s just one more piece of evidence that the major labels are run by complete morons who don’t give a flying fuck about you, me or the future.

9 thoughts on “Universal Music Group Video Policy”

  1. …or the music. Or the artist. It was a dark day the moment they left an asylum like the music industry in the hands of the accountants. It’s like killing the golden goose. I have no problem with a label wanting to be profitable. But they aren’t in the money business; they’re in the MUSIC business. And it takes an Ahmet Ertegun, a Mo Ostin, hell, even a David Geffen, to figure that out. Not these number-crunching, make-a-quick-buck schmucks. Cryin’ shame…

  2. I think the immense heirarchy/beauracracy that has developed in the record industry is largely to blame. Short-sighted executives and accountants are so far removed from the public they supposedly serve that decisions like this don’t seem quite so absurd. The motivation is more like, ‘I want to increase our profit margins,’ or ‘I want to keep my job,’ etc. – not ‘I want to do what’s best for the people who really make this industry work’ (the people who buy records or songs and go to concerts), or even ‘I want to develop a plan for long-term success.’ They can’t see far into the future and they can’t see us down here on ‘the bottom’ – even those of us involved in the industry in some way are usually so far removed from the major-label decision makers as to be effectively invisible and inconsequential.

  3. I just love the fact that you’re actually referencing tha #1 numbacrunchin mutherfuckin H-Dog to prove a point. If that doesn’t do it I don’t know what will.

  4. I’m starting to think that I seriously could be a major player in the music business – I’m so much smarter than they are, and I’m just an average person. If pinheads like this are running the show, I could rule the fucking industry without even breaking a sweat.

  5. i hate paying for things just as much as the next guy, however i like music and i dont want good quality music to die. i read an article saying that cd sales are down 35% from 2 years ago, they say this is because of p2p downloading (which im sure we are all guilty of). i dont make much but i make enough where i can support my favorite artist. further more, the music videos these days are like short movies and they spend a crap load of money to make it so if we are gonna pay 10 bucks to watch a movie, we can pay 25 cents or however much they are asking to watch a music video. if the artist doesnt make money then theres no music, no music no creativity etc etc.

  6. Jack, do you think the artist is actually going to see a penny from this? Seriously?

    What’s next? Maybe UMG should start charging Rolling Stone for the privilege of using one of their artists on the cover of the magazine. They should definitely charge kids who stencil a band’s insignia on their leather jacket. Right? I mean, they paid a graphic designer a lot of money to create that =w= Weezer logo, and now kids are just going to paint that on their jean jackets without paying for it?

    And remember: [url=http://www.boingboing.net/2004/05/14/riaas_funny_bookkeep.html]the RIAA’s funny bookkeeping turns gains into losses[/url].

  7. point taken, however i think u missed mine. As i said before i dont want to sacrafice “good quality music” i like indie stuff and underground hip hop but the quality isnt the same, and as far as music videos go indi music videos suck because they are so low budget. the way things look there will be no music videos because there are so many people pirating music. the inustry needs to figure out a fair way to generate money to pay for studio time, music videos, etc etc. if theres a better way im sure they would love to hear. hell, id like to hear, because im seriously scared that “good quality” music is going to be harder to find. thats all im trying to say, so if paying a few pennies to watch a music video does that great, and yeah i know the artist doesnt see much of that, but who pays for the studio time, cd manufacturing etc etc, the record labels right??? trust me in the end im poor and i cant afford much but credit should be given when its earned.

  8. I find it interesting that one would suggest that UMG didn’t know what it was doing when it established Glorious Voice as it was considered a waste and short sighted. I have however benefited from this short sightedness by gaining insight into some aspects of the music industry through the discussion and information provided through this site.

  9. Actually what is happening is this….. CD sales are down because of a large teen movement to boycott the labels and not buy CD’s

    As a streaming media host master I have a better idea. Why don’t we charge the labels for all the work involved in uploading the video clip to the server – integrating it into the website and attracting the eyeballs to view it. I for one will not pay! Fact is this – Internet Websites need to make a profit too. Besides I was part of a focus group where several teens agreed – Any band on VH1 or MTV is too commercialized – the best and coolest bands are independent from the labels. Getting a record deal now means you are a sell out and just a puppet for the labels.

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