“The State Of The Entertainment Industry Today,” kind of sound like a magazine title doesn’t it? I wanted to write a little bit on this topic, because it seems that the more I try to research this very topic, the more I’m sort of confused. The reason being, the opinions are so diverse that it becomes really difficult to discern what is fact and what’s fiction. Some of the opinions are bias, some uninformed, and some writers thoughts are just all over the place. I think part of the problem is, since the age of streaming, both music labels and streaming services are very secretive in terms of their numbers. This is understandably so, since it is both considered intellectual property and a “secret recipe” of sorts. But this makes it really hard to determine how well the music industry is really doing, all we can all do is speculate and have opinions with the information the labels allow us to have.
However, right now, I really think that the question we should be asking is, how does YouTube factor in on the success of the music industry? Those who may not fully understand digital technology as it pertains to the music and film industry, may not realize that in reality YouTube is just another piracy site just like Pirate Bay in a different form (but multiple times its size). What has changed in the music industry in particular, that has made YouTube the exception to the rule?
I think what’s changed is YouTube new “Music Key” service, or now called “YouTube Red.” For the same basic price of $9.99, they are offering commercial/ad-free content, and the ability to download for off-line use. They also have original video content, but the samples I saw sucked (maybe they are still experimenting with the service). I’m really interested as to how this would work out in the future. While the service doesn’t answer my question about the ad-free user uploads, and the illegal monetizing of user uploads, it does show that YouTube is doing all it can to use it’s popularity to do the right thing. However, if I didn’t have Rhapsody, would I actually pay to use YouTube service? No. I would pay for Spotify before I would ever use YouTube as a main music source. Why? For two VERY important reasons. Number one, as I’ve said in previous articles, YouTube is not designed as a traditional streaming service; in fact, creating and saving videos to playlists is not as easy as it should be (it’s almost primitive). It is not designed for the daily music lover in mind. I guess for someone who just wants to listen to music while on the job, or doing a quick travel from A to B, then I guess it’s fine for those kinds of listeners. However, for a power user such as myself, the YouTube service isn’t attractive to people like us.
The second most important reason I would never pay to use YouTube service (especially on my phone), is because the amount of battery power it pulls to stream each video. I can’t believe I haven’t read any blogger talk about this. Using YouTube to stream your music, the way you use regular music, is like trying to use your GPS on your phone all day. It pulls a lot of power! Not to mention the fact that depending on how good your WiFi/4G connection is, can take a while to download multiple videos. I don’t remember if they offer an option to just download the sound only or not; but if they do, that means there is additional conversion time. If I can quickly add a third, its setup doesn’t allow for robust music discovery. I could discover better music by using Shazam’s music selections; hell, even Pandora does a better job of suggesting good music. Again, I don’t want my prior statement to be interpreted as a discouragement, just something to think about. The nice thing is though, YouTube will still have their free service available. Now, If the reports are true, that streaming sales have finally exceeded CD sales; then YouTube’s new “Red” service could put the music industry back on the map. In terms of film, it’s a different animal, however, the film industry recognizes that the public wants more on-demand videos, and we’ll start to see more free services like Crackle with paid commercials.