Rebecca Black and the pay-for-music quandary, revisited
It’s Friday, and like millions confused about the path of the weekly calendar, you’ve probably mosied on over to YouTube to suss out a certain video.
You’ve typed “R” and then you’ve typed “E” and you’ve realized that’s all you need to press. ENTER and one click, thanks to the video site’s suggested search option, should get you rocking out to Rebecca Black’s “Friday” as fast as possible.
Only, wait a second. The video, like the Stanley Cup to Canada, is gone. Left us.
Turns out, the video’s removal is part of a nasty dispute over royalties and an attempt to institute a pay-per-listen model, yet the Rebecca Black vanishing has remarkably sparked the latest instalment of a classic (well, since about 2001) Internet debate: will anyone out there actually pay for music they get online?
In 2001, of course, Napster was shuttered and legions of downloaders were forced to look elsewhere for their tunes. Countless other programs popped up – Kazaa, BearShare, LimeWire, etc. – where downloading was free, but then this thing called iTunes came onto the scene and droves of consumers started heading over there.
It was baffling at the time. Wait, you’re going to pay 99 cents for a song when it’s free? Why?
Downloading is theft, you’d say, and you’re probably right. But there’s something about downloading music online that doesn’t register with humans the same way swiping a chocolate bar or box of cereal or CD or whatever does. It’s on the computer, so it’s not real. I’m not stealing anything.
Anyhow, that brings us back to Ms. Black, who is perhaps the most unwitting celebrity in the world right now. According to ABC News, her parents shelled out $4,000 to a company called Ark Music Factory to write a song for the teen and direct its video. If you’ve seen “Friday,” that’s Ark Music founder and CEO Patrice Wilson in the clip, rapping away in a car.
Last week, as “Friday” continue to soar well over 100 million views, Ark Music tried to start charging a whopping $2.99 for YouTube users to “rent” a listen of the song. Yesterday, Black’s family decided to just wipe the video off YouTube altogether.
In some circles, this has brought back the “pay for music” issue in full force. By numbers from a Pew Research survey last December, 33 per cent of web users pay to download music online, but would you ever pay just to listen to a song off YouTube?
What are your download-for-pay philosophies? What do you pay for, and what do you download for free, where available?
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
Posted by: james | Jun 19, 2021 1:00:03 AM
can you honestly expect me to read any further than a joke about the cup
Posted by: CrimeWire | Jun 19, 2021 11:17:29 AM
Pay for music online or rent-to-listen? No. Screw 'em. Their pricing model is out of whack.
I know what the real dollar costs are of setting up servers and hooking them up to a wire.
99 cents to send that signal down the wire for a piece of data? Outrageous.
Now if the price goes to 15 cents for a single-song download - let's talk.
The poor indies artists are cryin' the blues about how tough it is to break into the business. Know what? Yes it is tough - every bit as tough as starting a plumbing business or bakery or consulting firm.
Bruce Springsteen always rails on at his concerts about how he is all for the "workin' man". So why doesn't he and his friends like Bono throw in a buck or two from the millions of dollars of their concert revenues to help their fellow artists. I'm not holding my breath ....
Posted by: jr | Jun 19, 2021 12:14:09 PM
i pay for a service, so whatever my service provider allows me to download, i've payed for it. if someone dosen't like what i am able to download. don't come crying to me about it.
Posted by: Khrum | Jun 19, 2021 1:51:27 PM
All this just to find out that this song wasnt wrote by her.As for the parent well i look down on them they should be ashame to be part of this.Good exemple your giving your kid.As for the pay for listen what a joke.
Why do artists cry we cant make it its so hard ect ect.Well quit the use of drugs and you will have money.Learn to manage your finances goes to show many of you should of stay in school longer.
Have no pitty for you at all with everything we see and read about your faux pas.
As for the prices ask you guys are sick.
Posted by: Lisa | Jun 19, 2021 1:51:36 PM
Why should I have to pay to rent a view of a video they've posted on a free site? No. she wanted the free publicy and she got it. If they want to pull the song off the free site and put it on a pay per view site, they've got the right, but to change horses midstream and try to get money off of a free site, they're idiots. I'd like to get paid for every time I've had to hear about her stupid song and the idiocy surrounding these get rich without putting the work into a career singers.
Posted by: Darrell | Jun 19, 2021 3:04:04 PM
The atrocious quality of the music, lyrics and video production alone justify our collective unwillingness to "pay-per-listen/view". I simply can't believe an ADULT wrote that song - when I figured a 12 year old girl wrote it, it made sense - it was still horrible, but knowing that it was "professionally" produced is sort of astounding. The amount of publicity, press and attention that this video/"artist" got should be more than satisfying for a first venture into the music world. Perhaps her parents are trying to milk this one trick pony as much as they can before her absolute lack of talent stalls her so-called career. As far as paying for downloads - quite simply I am not a rich man, and I will take what I can get for free. The average person is taken advantage of nearly every day of their lives, so it doesn't surprise me that only a third of us are willing to pay for something we can get elsewhere for free.
Posted by: Thomas | Jun 19, 2021 3:33:26 PM
Whatever happened to the artist subsidy that the gov placed on blank media many moons ago, that drove the price of blank media thru the roof?
Posted by: Tiny Tiger | Jun 19, 2021 3:45:08 PM
I find it interesting that the topic seems to be about the cost to "send the data down a wire". It may be data but it is also something that took time and energy and, yes, money to create. A regular-length CD can cost $20,000 to $100,000 or more to produce. People too often forget that and assume the money is not a factor and any person who creates music is only doing it as a hobby. I am a musician and have well over $10,000 of equipment alone - nevermind the computer software, lessons and a university degree in composition. It can be a huge investment! Keep in mind the money that is charged for a download also goes to those involved in the creation of the music.
As for Rebecca Black's specific situation, I have a feeling the pay-per-listen charges (even more than a usual iTunes rate) will not help her because the incredible amount of views the video has received is not primarily due to the high quality of the art. People watch it because others have told them, "You've got to listen to the cheezy song!" Sad, but true. If they had to pay $2.00 or more to watch the video, I don't believe there would be nearly as much interest. With other artists it would be absolutely warranted but not in this case. But I could be wrong - perhaps entertainment in any form dseserves to be compensated. But I do wish her luck as she could have potential - especially if she worked with better writers!
Posted by: Tiny Tiger | Jun 19, 2021 3:56:45 PM
Oh, yes and CrimeWire...
When you go into a bakery, do expect someone to just hand you a donut or muffin and let you leave without paying for it? Do you expect a plumber to walk in to your house, fix your toilet, and walk out again? Whether it's the consumers or organizers, the entertainment industry is notorious for expecting its artists to do something for nothing. It's almost demanded in the name of "getting experience".
We are providing a service like any other. The next time you turn on your radio or television or go to a movie, imagine what it would be like if there was no music there - no catchy theme songs, no suspense-building string arrangements, no love songs to make out to, no grooves to dance to.
Posted by: Ummm | Jun 19, 2021 6:34:47 PM
Um, as far as I read this, The Producer Ark Music that put it to "pay to view" NOT Black.
Infact its Blacks family that pulled it off so that it wouldn't get any money.... So its not the greedy artist, its greedy Music Industry, thus furthuring the issue many indie musicians are peeved about
Posted by: Thomas | Jun 19, 2021 7:47:28 PM
Anyone remembers the days when you used to borrow or let a friend borrow one of your media to record onto cassettes or cds?? Its the same damn thing.
Posted by: James | Jun 19, 2021 9:12:32 PM
I like some of the music that is way older and you can't get it on CD, if it is free to download off the net thats fine with me, but if its new and I want it I have no problem paying for it. 99 cents to own the one song verses buying the whole dam CD (which usually does't have any other good songs on it) is small enough for me, for crying out loud you pay more for a cup of Timmys Coffie.
Posted by: Bip man | Jun 19, 2021 9:28:02 PM
If you download music for free, you're a thief. I don't care what genre it is or if it's garbage like this steaming bowl of dung. If shit like this wasn't made and the record companies weren't crooks giving the artists only cents from a $12-15 CD sale, this shit wouldn't happen. Actually, people are garbage and when someone can get something for free, they don't care.
Posted by: RealityTheorist | Jun 19, 2021 10:06:16 PM
I have more Blu-Ray, DVD, CD's and Original media games than anyone I know. I have paid the piper and then some. I also have no problem with downloading what I want from the internet. Some of it I buy if I like it, but there is just so much garbage that I wouldn't want to see or listen to twice, why would I pay for it before I have enjoyed it at least once? Especially considering that most people don't pay for it, I don't see it as an issue with my previewing it. I also WON'T just pay for the data, if it isn't sold on a physical media, and come with special features, I am not interested.
As for the baker/plumber etc analogy, it doesn't fly. The plumber doesn't get money for every person who uses the toilet that he installs, and the baker's loaf can only be eaten once. Before anyone says I don't have a stake, I am also both a musician and an actor. If I produce something worth a person paying for, they will pay for it. Otherwise, I better get back to work until I do.
Posted by: OldGuy | Jun 19, 2021 10:42:10 PM
There used to be this thing called "radio". You turned it on, and music came out - free. Sure, you had to listen to commercials, but that's what paid for the content.
Seems I have to view ads on youtube now too, so what's the difference.
And the producers of this alleged "music" got their $4,000 up front. Now that it's an overnight sensation, they just want to cash in, and milk it for all it's worth.
I'm sorry, but I think Ms Blacks 15 minutes are almost up (at least I hope so).
Posted by: Kyle | Jun 19, 2021 11:05:54 PM
I can't possibly feel as though I am taking money away from certain levels of musicians, or actors that make millions of dollars through advertising, merchandise, etc. The more famous group of celebrities are constantly given things for free, or paid to drink a certain drink. In order for me to get paid I have to put in constant hard days of work, they don't.
I think that if the people in the industry who have not "made it" so to speak should stop whinning about the average people and perhaps should look within their own industry to correct the disgusting imbalance that occurs in that business as well as many other types in the world. We the people that are allegedly "stealing" your music may yet figure out how strong we are and decide we don't need you anymore. Then we can watch the house of cards crumble because "we" the foundation have left you.
Posted by: T | Jun 20, 2021 12:20:20 PM
The days of big business music is coming to an inevitable end. Why would people pay to download garbage, when they can just turn to free music that becomes popular because it is free and actually good music. The only way these big business guys can make money is by owning all the venues where in the coming years LIVE music becomes the only way to make money. That way they can only book their pop artists that they invested in, to maximize returns. They'll make more money off of that, change 200$ a ticket plus $20 bottles of water etc. All the little girls will go and fill a 20000 seat arena.
Posted by: jim | Jun 20, 2021 2:52:09 PM
Someone nailed it earlier. It was posted on a free site, it's free! Their right to pull it from this site, but they should know it only became soooo popular because it was sooooo baadddd! I'm talking a wart on the tip of talent's penis bad! And it was a FREE laugh! That's why everyone wanted to see for themselves! If they're planning on trying to get money out of per listen's, then they deserve the disappointment!
Posted by: SP | Jun 24, 2021 6:09:49 PM
'Artists' like Bono are quick to ask for government help to collect their royalties and equally quick to hide their money outside of their country of residence to avoid paying taxes on it but everyone else should "be morally responsible"? Sorry folks but the example is set at the top which is why our society has a tendency to occasionally tailspin. As for young Miss Black... thank GOD that *&^% as been pulled.
Posted by: JustAthought | Jun 25, 2021 5:32:28 AM
Apple makes 34 cents per song sold so downloading a song isn't helping in any significant way. This leaves 65 cents for the music companies which take just about the rest of the money. If you really want to help a musician out then go see one of their concerts. If you download music for a fee, the people who made the music aren't getting a cent of it. If you download music for free, sure the artist might not get their penny, but at least corporations and Apple aren't going to get it as well