OK Go - “This Too Shall Pass”
Oh, look. This one is embeddable (context, via).
And, delightful it is.
And, yes, please do read OK Go’s terrific forum post about why their label, EMI, has — as is the case with the thousands of other artists subject to their tender mercies — chosen to make the band’s (self-produced) video for “This Too Shall Pass” unembeddable.
Because it helps explain a lot about why the visual history of the last five decades of popular music is currently chained to a library carrel overseen by the clutch of execrable fuckstains who are — still, inexplicably — running our planet’s (increasingly less major) major labels:
The recordings and the videos we make are owned by a record label, EMI. […] We make our videos ourselves, and we keep them dirt cheap, but still, it all adds up, and it adds up to a great deal more than we have in our bank account, which is why we have a record label in the first place.
The labels are hurting and they need every penny they can find, so they’ve demanded a piece of the action. They got all huffy a couple years ago and threatened all sorts of legal terror and eventually all four majors struck deals with YouTube which pay them tiny, tiny sums of money every time one of their videos gets played. Seems like a fair enough solution, right? YouTube gets to keep the content, and the labels get some income.
The catch: the software that pays out those tiny sums doesn’t pay if a video is embedded. This means our label doesn’t get their hard-won share of the pie if our video is played on your blog, so (surprise, surprise) they won’t let us be on your blog. And, voilá: four years after we posted our first homemade videos to YouTube and they spread across the globe faster than swine flu, making our bassist’s glasses recognizable to 70-year-olds in Wichita and 5-year-olds in Seoul and eventually turning a tidy little profit for EMI, we’re – unbelievably – stuck in the position of arguing with our own label about the merits of having our videos be easily shared. It’s like the world has gone backwards.
And, indeed, it certainly has gone backwards. At Superman-Trying-To-Save-Lois-Lane-Via-Time-Travel speeds it’s gone backwards.
What a shame that this had to be said, but how awesome that it was put so very nicely.
I’d be hard-pressed to find a recent anecdote that more perfectly illustrates the tone-deaf arrogance and stupidity around the opportunities that are still being squandered by the majors every day.
Particularly in this instance, that there’s a degree of willful blindness to the functioning marketplace (read: “reality”) that enables the lizard media barons — who personally collect the checks for OK Go’s work, and who can SEE the numbers on web traffic and MP3 sales — to still overlook the single overriding factor in this band’s meteoric success: millions of loving fans who share the band’s VERY popular videos via the internet.
Just completely, mind-bogglingly insane.
In ten years, we’ll look back and regard these animals with the same respect and admiration historically reserved for alchemists, bible salesmen, and deposed Central American dictators. Good riddance to them.
But, good luck to OK Go. Sounds to me like it’s about time to go indie, boys. Get out of that fucking contract, and go set some shit on fire.