In Full Panic Mode, YouTube’s Lyor Cohen Warns Article 13 Will Have “Severe Unintended Consequences”

Lyor Cohen continues YouTube’s path of promoting baseless arguments to defeat Article 13.

Last week, Susan Wojcicki made a heartfelt plea to YouTube’s neglected creator community.

With the Copyright Directive set to the pass in the European Union – effectively forcing Google and YouTube to finally pay their fair share on copyrighted works – the video platform’s CEO wrote,

This legislation poses a threat to both your livelihood and your ability to share your voice with the world.

Keep in mind less than 3% of all content creators on YouTube make enough to break the federal poverty line in the US.  And, the video platform has made it more difficult for honest creators to earn money.  YouTube continually updates its monetization policy to pay less in advertising revenue to uploaders.

Now, Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head of Music, has made a similar emotional plea to major music industry executives.  Either scuttle Article 13 or prepare to face the consequences.

Please, please, please vote against Article 13.  Please, says Cohen.

Every month, Lyor Cohen sends out a monthly newsletter to a large group of music industry executives around the globe.  Often co-authored with key players, the former Warner Music executive touches on several topics.  Cohen designs the newsletter to be informative, actionable, and entertaining.

The music industry as a whole doesn’t agree with YouTube’s absurdly low payouts.  According to our ongoing streaming payouts chart, the video platform pays out a paltry $0.00074 per stream.  A German researcher found that for 1,000 views on the platform, some content creators receive as little as 35 cents.

But, Cohen obviously doesn’t let small things like facts get in the way of promoting his company.

He continually claims that  YouTube pays $3 per 1,000 views, a fact the RIAA and other research firms have refuted.

In Cohen’s monthly newsletter for November, he invited John Shahidi, CEO of Shots Studios, a management company, to share his opinion on Article 13 – a measure in the Copyright Directive that would force user-uploaded platforms (i.e., YouTube) to pay up.

Unsurprisingly, Cohen claims Article 13 presents a viable threat, claiming it will have “severe unintended consequences for the music industry.”

First, after buttering up Shahidi, praising his company’s recent works, Cohen takes the time to plug his company.

By providing a global stage, I think YouTube has reinvented collaborations.  Whether it’s between artists from different countries or genres or between artists and creators – it’s such a fertile space and smart way to get your art in front of new audiences.

Then, Cohen promoted the lie that Article 13 would shut down memes on the internet.  Keep in mind both Cohen and Wojcicki have yet to provide proof to back up this oft-repeated argument.

You know that what’s currently written in Article 13 might just shut down these remixes you are talking about?  Remixes and covers, tutorials, fan tributes, parodies – these are such powerful promotional tools for the industry.  Don’t get me wrong: I’m all in favor of protecting artists rights and compensating them fairly – I’ve been fighting for this for 38 years – but we should all realize that nurturing these kind of relationships with fans and creators is one of the best things that has happened to music.

Continuing to discuss Shahidi’s ‘record-breaking’ works, Cohen once again goes on the offensive.  Begging music industry leaders to visit YouTube’s #saveyourinternet campaign, he ends his newsletter, stating,

I’d like to wrap up and stress again that the success of the music industry and the creative environment that has benefited so many artists are threatened by Article 13, as written.  I encourage everyone making a living in this industry to learn more about it and join us to propose a better version together.

But, what does the music industry really say about the bill?

According to the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), global technology platforms (i.e., YouTube and Facebook) set the value of creative works, paying out creators much, much less than they deserve.  Thus, Article 13 is needed to level the playing field.

Helen Smith, Executive Chair of the Independent Music Companies Association (IMPALA), agrees.  In a statement favoring the measure, she explained,

Platforms facilitate a unique relationship between artists and fans, and copyright reform should help rebalance the licensing framework around this.

Echoing CISAC and Smith’s comments, David El Sayegh, Secretary General of the Society of Authors, Composers, and Publishers of Music (SACEM), wrote Article 13 “fully acknowledges the rights of creators in the digital landscape of the 21st century.”

Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive of PRS for Music, said creators want to be heard and paid fairly for their work online.  Vowing to not stop until the bill becomes law, he continued,

We will continue to fight for what we believe is their freedom and a fair use of their creative works.

In short, Cohen doesn’t have a lot of supporters in the music industry.  He continues to fight a very lonely fight against Article 13.

In full panic mode, expect Cohen, Wojcicki, and other top Google and YouTube executives to continue promoting more baseless arguments prior to the bill’s expected passing in January.


Featured image by Noa Griffel (CC by 4.0).

12 Responses

  1. Tenn Tux

    Say what you will about him, Lyor does not panic. It’s not in his nature.

    Why does DMN spin, spin, spin instead of report?

    If you were reporting, you’d’ve noted the deep changes in EU member states that threaten Article 13 more than does YouTube rhetoric. Italy is out, the new govt switching Italy’s vote during the past week. Combined with Germany, Finland, Netherlands, Slovenia, Belgium and Hungary there is a blocking coalition emerging.

    The real story is that this initiative has one foot in the grave, the other on a banana peel.

      • Tenn Tux

        Untrue. Completely unconnected to any of them, nor anyone even tangentially connected to them. Better you should address the facts than your false supposition, e.g., Did Italy change its mind? (Yes.) Is there now opposition over the blocking threshold? (Yes.) That is the story, not guessing Lyor’s mental state.

        • Troll Gets Trolled: How Does It Feel (Part 2)

          IP address: San Bruno, CA

          But definitely not a YouTube employee

          • Tenn Tux

            Seriously? Not in North America, usually in Tennessee, on a trip at the moment.

          • Tenn Tux

            BTW, where did you get the erroneous IP address? You are right, definitely not a YT or G employee, but why the assurance? Do you work for DMN? Or am I missing something obvious?

    • Blobbo

      Lyor is a stinking liar, just like many of his people. This is why they are so uncelebrated, the unrelenting greed and lust for power, and then playing the victim and begging for empathy. What a gross display these put on all the time.

    • John.

      Yeah right. DMN just reported the FACTS. YouTube employee/dickrider/etc.

  2. bad, so bad , so sad troll dmn is

    horribly sad trolls at it again. I never thought you could make money from trolling spotify , lyor cohen and others.

  3. Blobbo

    ANY non-musician working in the top 10% of the current music and touring industry is a parasitic worm that needs to be burnt off and discarded.

    F*CK labels. They keep saying they are needed, just like Live 360. Let the copyright gang-theft begin. Deal with these lifelong criminals at your peril.

    Lyor is a fossil who has evil connections and needs to be boycotted out of the music industry.

  4. Will Buckley

    After endorsing the legitimacy of piracy for over a decade and profiting to the tune of $10B annually at the expense of the creative community, there is something totally self-serving about Youtube’s / Googles ask of support from their users.

    Had Google and other internet companies tried to even the playing field for creatives we would not be in this position, but instead they leveraged the situation totally to their advantage, while destroying the financial viability of being a working artists in America.

    From privacy to bullying to misinformation to rampant discord and discontent in the world, the internet has been a massive fail in taking responsibility for what happens in their space.

    • Blobbo

      Google and Youtube were undeserved beneficiaries of giant paradigm shifts in consumer access. It’s like great grandchildren who inherited Neiman Marcus. If they had run it responsibly, they could keep it, but they have not, and they have been profiteering lying opaque cheap arrogant bastards, and any legislation that can fine or strip away their exclusivity in any market around the world is 100% deserved.