12/11/2019

Neil Young shares his views on Google and other tech giants

Neil Young shares his views on Google and other tech giants

Legendary singer-songwriter Neil Young shared a blog post about Google... and it's not a piece of cake - and also, it's not very well informed.

As "Music Ally" reported, he wrote:

Today, in the age of FaceBook, GOOGLE and Amazon, it’s hard to tell how a new and growing musical artist could make it in the way we did. The Tech Giants have figured out a way to use all the great music of everyone from all time, without reporting an artist’s number of plays or paying a f***ing cent to the musicians.

Well, actually YouTube publishes play-counts alongside every video on its service, and pays royalties through licensing deals with labels. Amazon, on the other hand, is a fully-licensed music service with no UGC aspects, reporting plays and paying royalties too. So Young’s claims don’t correspond to the genuine complaints of rightsholders in the value gap debate.

The question, to be fair, is whether YouTube would be paying more if its licensing deals were negotiated without the backdrop of safe-harbour protection for its platform. Young’s other claim, that Google “directed users to pirate sites to get artist’s creations and not pay”, at least corresponds to the terms of a longstanding argument between the music industry and Google’s search-engine arm – albeit one that has seen some developments in recent years, from pirate-site demotions to sidebars of links to legal services.