Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Warner Music Group (WMG) Sucks

Posted by Drake Kizer on February 8, 2017

Our daily readings moved back into our Spreadable Media textbook after a brief hiatus to read some online essays. Today’s selection covered the first half of chapter one, called “Where Web 2.0 Went Wrong”. It was dense, as I have come to expect from this book, but there were parts that were navigable and somewhat easy to comprehend. A section titled “Taking the “You” Out of YouTube” really stood out to me, and that was mostly due to the fact it related to me personally.

Page 50 recounted an event that had a tremendous impact on me when I was younger. On January 14, 2009, YouTube suddenly removed the soundtracks to select videos. The removals were completely unannounced, and content creators scrambled for answers as to why their videos had been muted. I was one of those people, as I had uploaded numerous videos of video game clips with copyrighted music playing over top of them for added effect. The book claimed that YouTube removed the tracks after Warner Music Group (WMG) threatened users with claims of copyright infringement, but that explanation did nothing to stop my youthful frustration at the time.

I was one of the “many uploaders [who] wondered whether they were encountering technical difficulties” when the soundtracks were deleted, and I was also one of the people that was offered a chance “to modify [their] [videos] by removing the music subject to the copyright claim.” YouTube set up a modifier to replace a muted video’s audio with a special selection of tracks that were free to distribute without fear of repercussions. I specifically remember having to delete one of my Skate 3 highlight videos I had spent hours making because none of the music YouTube offered me was fitting at all. I have always looked at users employing copyrighted materials in their work as free promotion for media companies, as long as the users do not see any profits. Unfortunately, media giants still have not caught up with that type of thinking, and that is a shame.


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