Friday, March 13, 2009

YouTube vs the PRS: Feargal Sharkey pipes up

Go on: guess whose side Feargal has come out on in the battle between YouTube and the PRS?

Why, yes, the plucky little PRS:

Sharkey accused Google, which owns YouTube, of blocking the videos in order to force the PRS to lower its price.

Sharkey said Google was a "large company thinking they're in a position to bully around a little society that represents 60,000 songwriters".

But is it really bullying, Sharkey? The PRS threatens that if YouTube don't settle, they won't be able to show any videos in the UK. So YouTube stops showing videos in the UK. It's not entirely clear how if - as the PRS and Sharkey believe - the musicians are doing YouTube a favour by allowing their music to appear on the network, that YouTube can be "bullying" them by removing the videos.

Unless, of course, it's in the interests of musicians and songwriters to have access to YouTube - but that would imply that the favour runs in the opposite direction.
"Quite frankly I'd hoped that by this point in the week Google would have reflected on the mistake they'd made and were willing to move away from the position they'd taken," Sharkey said.

"But quite clearly they're still in the mood to bully our songwriters, our musicians, and that's not acceptable."

Yeah, Google - stop bullying songwriters by not playing their videos for your own benefit.
Sharkey also charged Google with attempting to "hold them hostage and demand that they start to underwrite their business model".

"That is totally inappropriate and in fact mildly offensive," he said.

Sharkey isn't an idiot; he's a smart man, and as such must know that he's talking rubbish. If he really does believe that Google are rolling in cash after the costs of hosting and playing pop videos, then he probably shouldn't be in such a key position in the UK music industry.

Everyone should share in what's available, but nobody gains anything by pretending you've found a pot of gold when you're looking at some loose change.


Olive said...

Sharkey also charged Google with attempting to "hold them hostage and demand that they start to underwrite their business model".

Damn right, Feargal. It would be like, ooh I don't know, threatening ISP's with legal action unless they underwrote the outdated business model of the major labels, wouldn't it?
Never thought I'd live to see the day that I thought of the guy who wrote "Wednesday Week" as little more than a corporate shill.

Chris Brown said...

You can rest (slightly) assured - he didn't write 'Wednesday Week'. Or 'Teenage Kicks', 'My Perfect Cousin', 'Jimmy Jimmy', or 'A Good Heart' come to think of it.

Clearly, he's perfectly qualified to represent the interests of songwriters, then.

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