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January 20, 2010
OK Go Admit They're In Slavery
In response to my piece on OK Go's latest video fail on YouTube
, and petulant-sounding follow-up letter, commenter "mike" directed me to a long open letter posted by the band on their forums
In the letter, OK Go admit that they don't control their videos on YouTube, EMI does. Even though the band makes its own vids, EMI is fronting them money for the production and taking ownership of the result. As a result of EMI's deal with YouTube, EMI doesn't get paid if you embed a YouTube vid, so EMI turns that off. Because we all know how important those fractions of a penny are to this quarter's bottom line...
To the band's credit, they seem to understand quite well the position that everyone is in, including themselves, the labels, and the fans. There aren't any magic solutions here - as Copyfight has been arguing for years, we need new and better business models that keep creative people fed and productive. If big record labels happen to die along the way we won't be shedding any tears. Nor, it seems, will OK Go, who provide the embed code on their blog page for the Vimeo version of their video, and these words of wisdom:
EMI won't let us let you embed our YouTube videos. It's a decision that bums us out. We've argued with them a lot about it, but we also understand why they're doing it. They’re aware that their rules make it harder for people to watch and share our videos, but, while our duty is to our music and our fans, theirs is to their shareholders, and they believe they’re doing the right thing.
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