FTRW 2010 – Music Monday – "I guess there's gotta be a break in the monotony/But jesus when it rains, how it pours."

It's February which means Freedom to Read Week is coming at the end of the month.  Every year, I try to do a few posts during that week to celebrate and draw attention to this important subject. 

For the past year, I've been bookmarking various stories I've come across that I thought had potential for the week.  I've got more than seven but less than thirty but I think I'm going to try to do an entire month's worth of  Freedom to Read Week posts (give or take – since I'll exempt myself for a few of those days – some of the Music Mondays, most of the Friday Fun Links and some of the Saturday Snaps – though maybe a pic of Pace reading “Where The Wild Things Are” would be appropriate.  That or “Lolita”.  )

To start things off, here's a bit of background about something I've always wondered – why do some artists prevent the embedding of their videos on YouTube?  Buzz band, OK Go, who saw 50 million people watch their “dance routine on treadmills” video on YouTube and catapult them to, well if not massive success, definitely a lot wider recognition.

This story isn't really about censorship or Freedom of Expression per se but really is about how business models are changing and confused by technology – the band's label refuses to allow the videos to be embedded (or even viewed in certain countries) because they don't get a share of revenue from ad clicks unless people watch the video directly on YouTube.  The band naturally wants to reach the widest possible fan base and explains their side of the story.

“four years after we posted our first homemade videos to YouTube and
they spread across the globe faster than swine flu, making our
bassist’s glasses recognizable to 70-year-olds in Wichita and
5-year-olds in Seoul and eventually turning a tidy little profit for
EMI, we’re – unbelievably – stuck in the position of arguing with our
own label about the merits of having our videos be easily shared. It’s
like the world has gone backwards.”

The lead singer was also recently interviewed in Time magazine on the subject.

Here's the video that started it all – which I've posted before but not in the context of a Music Monday clip and anyhow, it's worth watching again (er, embedding disabled by request).

(And here's a semi-related story as a bonus – a member of The Roots which is the house band for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” – discusses the behind-the-scenes of walk-on music – the themed music that plays for celebrities as they walk onto talk show sets.  In most cases, this is straight forward but some music is so expensive to license, even for a few seconds, that house bands are forbidden from using it.  This came up because Conan's band played the Beatles' “Lovely Rita” for one of Conan's guests on his last “Tonight Show”, Tom Hanks whose wife is named Rita.  That ten seconds cost NBC something like $400 000!) 

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