will.i.am had no problem being a spokesperson for Megaupload, but then again, that’s probably because they paid him a ton of money, very simply and very directly. And, when all was said and done, will.i.am chose to be associated with them.
The same can’t be said for VEVO, which is not only making money off of content it didn’t create, but is forcing artists to accept advertisements from brands they don’t like. That was a major complaint among artists recently at Virgin Disruptors in London, where artists Imogen Heap and Zoe Keating also complained about being force-associated with brands they absolutely don’t support. “I’m morally opposed to Doritos,” Keating stated, while pointing to endless junk food pre-rolls on her videos on YouTube yet little ability to control those ads.
will.i.am outlined a far more exploitative game, one that builds on earlier content reinvestment complaints from Amanda Palmer.
So say for example, I was on CSI, right, I was the main actor on CSI. And CSI was distributed on HBO. The actors at CSI are not paying for CSI to exist. So when you think of VEVO and a billion views a month of independent artists or artists that’s signed to a label, we have to pay for our videos to be on that platform.
And so while we’re paying for our videos to be on that platform, to Amanda’s point, at what point in time does VEVO pay for content, that gives them the ability to put commercials that we don’t want before our content? And do we get to choose what commercials come before and after our content, when I’m the one paying for the video?
Certain people, Zoe [Keating] or Amanda [Palmer], there are certain things that they buy and want in their home. Shouldn’t the artist [be able to] say, ‘you know what, I actually like this product, and I don’t mind it being in front of my content’ if an artists chooses to. And that’s the way that they monetize it by actually sanctioning ‘these are the things I want around my content’ when you search it on Google or YouTube or VEVO.
That’s a very, very, very touchy, touchy, touchy subject that no one’s talking about, as far as technology killing the music industry. Actually, the music industry has been redefined, utilizing the technology, leaving the artist out of the equation.
So the power has to go back to the artist, and that’s what we’re experiencing here. Somebody’s monetizing it, you can’t just say a billion views and be like ‘yup, you’re free just like the artists are free’.
Somebody’s getting paid a lot of f*&ing money.