An issue of concern
We have been very busy with recording projects and are taking a short pause to catch our breath. We’re happy to say our new Christmas CD, Magnum Mysterium, will be released and available by November and we are very pleased to be presenting live performances of four different polyphonic settings of the Christmas responsory text, “O magnum mysterium”, as well as other related seasonal music.
Until recent health-related issues intervened, our income was based solely on our music; performances, teaching, and sales of CDs and downloads. When you stop and think about it, this is a fairly significant achievement for a duo specializing in 16th century music for lute and voice—probably unprecedented and quite notable because we receive exactly zero support from the established early music organizations in the US.
We have our standards, but we also have an opportunity to produce a video of some of the music from our new CD, and we are wrestling with the thought of rolling over and allowing ourselves to be consumed by the nefarious beast that is Youtube/Google. While our existing Youtube videos have received an appreciable response, we haven’t posted anything new for a few years, mainly because of Youtube’s blatant unfairness when it comes to compensation. Our video of Donna singing the chant, Tantum ergo, has seen over a half-million views in the past few years, and more than 17,000 views in the past three weeks alone, yet we have received less than a cumulative $20 total from Youtube.
Most users of Youtube have no idea of the absurd level of unfairness that currently exists in the current Youtube format for compensating artists, and it’s about to get worse. For more information, we encourage our readers to peruse this article by Grammy award winning composer and band leader, Maria Schneider, briefly quoted below.
“…YouTube’s ad revenue has proven paltry when compared to the real cost of producing music. Like an Atlantic City casino, YouTube wants us to believe that we just might hit the jackpot. Stories of viral videos make the news and seem like the new brass ring for rights-holders, but…of the very, very few who achieve viral, who can sustain it and make a career of it?”
“While we’re haggling over paltry ad revenue, we’re diverted from the far greater value that is being generated from our music. Every month, our music drives billions of users to YouTube’s platform, and the data that Google then gathers from following our fans around the web is where YouTube’s true value lies.”
“Google and Facebook didn’t get their billion dollar valuations from ad revenue. YouTube’s valuation largely comes from the mountains of hoarded data collected on the backs of all musicians and creators. Therefore, part of the value of the YouTube empire should fairly belong to musicians. Not only should musicians and creators share in the value of data gathered, but they should also have access to the data their creations generate. Why in the world is it fair for YouTube to keep all of this data as a “trade secret” when it’s generated from our own fans, often through piracy YouTube expressly facilitates?”
– Maria Schneider
We invite your input.