Dead Kennedys’ East Bay Ray Calls Out YouTube’s ‘Shady’ Practices In Op-Ed
With YouTube quickly becoming the center of most conversations due to its new streaming service, Music Key, the Dead Kennedys’ East Bay Ray has taken this time to write about how the video-streaming network is stealing from musicians in a new op-ed for the New York Observer.
Ray mentions Taylor Swift's recent move to take her entire catalog off of Spotify as a means of standing up to streaming services that are systematically disenfranchising artists. Ray notes that the Dead Kennedys removed their own catalog from Spotify in 2013, but the punk guitarist calls YouTube the "worst offender."
After doing the math, Ray finds that YouTube gives approximately 35-percent of its revenue to artists. In comparison to a deal the Kennedys once had with Virgin Publishing, along with the 70-percent of revenue iTunes gives to artists, the guitarist deduces, “YouTube is taking almost twice the ‘bad old’ music companies’ cut, for basically doing no more than hosting on a server.”
Ray points out that there’s no room for negotiation between artists and the platform. “It’s take it or leave it,” he writes. “And if you leave it, the businessmen at Google still make big money because they do not have to get your consent to ‘monetize’ anyone’s files.”
Ray blames the setup for a reported 45-percent decrease in working musicians since 2002. He figures that they instead go off to “work in the salt mines of Walmart instead of making life more interesting for the rest of us.”
Instead of artists earning their fair share, Ray points out that advertisers are the ones cashing in. “[Advertisers] can profit from any site, legitimate or not, without any consent,” he writes. “It’s crazy, shady operators can be stealing from artists but it’s perfectly legal for an ad network to fund them with ads. And they do.”
Read East Bay Ray’s full article for the New York Observer here.