Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shameless Prostitution in Marketing

The internet once was the last frontier for free publication of any individual's views or art or anything else beneath the sun. There were free providers for communication in the form of emails or groups where people could discuss topics of common interest.

Increasingly, advertisers have taken advantage of internet communications and have tacked their messages onto emails or onto sites, whether in the form of 'pop-up' messages or as streaming video that accompanies every type of communication from emails to posts.

It infuriates me, quite frankly. I write game guides for IGN entirely without pay or other remuneration for the most part. Those guides are published on IGN's site and are available to the general public. There are guides that are available only to subscribers to IGN's 'Insider' but I chose not to write those because I wanted EVERY ONE to be able to read my guides.

Now, however, in many cases, although any one can access my guides, they can do so only after wading through some random advertisement that IGN has placed on their site. I do not wish to be linked to ANY advertising by any one and yet, I have no options here.

What is even more infuriating is a recent development on YouTube. I began to make video tutorials a month or two ago to accompany my strategy guides. I placed them on YouTube, which is supposed to be 'free' to all. I used old songs as an accompaniment to the videos when otherwise there would have breen nothing but a long silence...

Last week, I received a message from YouTube to the effect that some outfit named UMG had claimed copyright of an old song by Adam and the Ants that I had used in an Animal Crossing video tutorial on how to make a Perfect Snowman. I rather trhought I had been doing Adam and the Ants a favour by resurrecting an old song that few of my viewers would have recognised previously.

I suppose UMG actually agreed with this assessment because, rather than asking YouTube to remove the video, they demanded the right to ADVERTISE there, linking MY video to random advertisements.

Links to sites where the song could be downloaded are understandable and in fact, I hope that people will use those links. After all, that is music. Now, however, truly random advertisements have been added to the page where the video appears. I do not agree with THAT. Do I now delete the video from YouTube in order to express my disapproval of this shameless money-grubbing tactic? The videos I make are not great art by any means, but they do take time and energy to produce. I'd like to take the high road and delete the piece but should I simply ignore this, knowing that viewers will themselves basically ignore whatever advertisement is projected onto the same page?

I am certain about one thing here: I never, ever will use another piece of music to which an outfit like UMG can make a claim in the future, knowing now that this is the reason why they made claim to the copyright. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the Artists' rights!


Madam Stan - Ant Lib Online said...

Hey Freyashawk
I have just read your post with great interest. By also reading your earlier excellent blog post 'Music & the Human Psyche', I can tell you know your stuff with regards to Adam Ant / Adam & the Ants.
As a like-minded Ant fan myself (and founder of the longest running fan organisation dedicated to Adam & the Ants), your experience is, sadly, nothing new.
UMG (Universal Music Group) owns Polydor who represent the work Adam recorded for 'Jubilee' (so I'm guessing it was Deutscher Girls or Plastic Surgery you used for your video). The ironic thing is that this company actually realeased The Ants' early material against Adam's wishes in a bid to cash in on his new found success in 1981.
I wouldn't take it personally though - despite promoting, supporting and acting as an outpost for Antpeople across the world, Adam's 'people' have found it upon themselves to pull pages, threaten fellow fans and bin anything remotely unofficial. All when Adam himself has actually produced very little in the past 14 years.
Carry on enjoying the Antmusic - and remember "Antpeople are the Warriors!"
Madam Stan
Founder - Ant Liberation Front

Freyashawk said...

Madam Stan, thank you for visiting my site and for your message of hope! How wonderful it is to know that Antmusic is appreciated by many still. The song was 'Kings of the Wild Frontier', probably one of those to which UMG claimed a spurious entitlement.

Adam's own story is a poignant one and like many of those who appreciated his work and his persona, I am very conscious of the price he paid and continues to pay in mental suffering for his brilliance and his comet-like career.