A couple of years ago, I shot this video (with my phone, I think — I can’t rightly remember) of my home arcade. My sole intent was to show off my game collection at that time. To make the video slightly more enjoyable to sit though, I added some music to it. Phil Collin’s “Take Me Home,” specifically.
As you may have noticed, the music is gone — removed, by YouTube. And, they added a note: “NOTICE: This video contains an audio track that has not been authorized by WMG. The audio has been disabled.” They also added a couple of links where I can learn about copyright law.
I was eight-years-old when MTV debuted back in 1981, and yes, I remember the day it launched. There were lots of bands that went from being nobodies to super megastars overnight as a direct result of having their videos played on MTV. Think of all the one-hit wonders from that era. Do you think it’s a coincidence that those band’s only hit was the only video that got MTV airplay? Unless you’re a fan, chances are you can’t name a Thomas Dolby song other than “Blinded Me With Science”, another Madness song other than “Our House”, or another Adam Ant song other than “Goody Two Shoes”. A Flock of Seagulls had a hit in 1982 with “I Ran”. 30 years later, they’re still touring. Can’t name another one of their songs, can you?
The point of this isn’t to have you Google those artists and respond with a list of their songs. The point is that, for years, MTV was essentially running commercials in the guise of music videos, and boy did we lap it up. How many albums, cassettes, and even CDs did I buy over the years for a single song? A lot.
Fast forward two decades. MTV (Music Television) as we know it is dead — this is not news. MTV hasn’t shown music videos in so long that in 2010 they removed the phrase “Music Television” from their logo. MTV created MTV2 (a second channel) for playing videos, but Cox cable (my cable provider) eventually made it a pay channel, and the concept of paying to watch music commercials … let’s just say didn’t appeal to me. But yeah, beating up on MTV for not playing music videos is a dead, dead horse. Like, rotting carcass dead.
So if kids aren’t watching music videos, where are they hearing new music? In restaurants, bars, and clubs? Wrong. About five years ago, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music International (BMI) began visiting restaurants and threatening to sue them for playing the radio without paying for a performance license. This was going on in 2007, and there are no signs of them stopping. This year, over 50 bars have been sued by BMI for performing live music.
One of the things I got in to a year or two ago were Literal Music Videos. Literal Music Videos are parodies in which people take music videos and create their own vocals that describe exactly what is going on visually in the video. If you’ve not seen one, they are hilarious ! Unfortunately, as with my arcade-related video, music companies are scouring Youtube and having them removed.
The music industry continues to complain that piracy is killing the music industry. It seems to me that the music industry is killing the music industry …