You’ve probably heard the story: A YouTube user creates a
video. It goes viral and becomes an Internet sensation – but suddenly, it’s
gone. More often than not, that’s because of copyright issues – and quite frequently,
it’s specifically because the creator didn't have the proper rights to use the music he or she selected.
Now, Rumblefish and YouTube have teamed up to give users the
opportunity to license music performances for their videos, ensuring that they
won’t be taken down without warning.
FriendlyMusic.com, a standalone site working in conjunction
with YouTube, will sell rights to over 35,000 independent artists and labels
for $1.99 each. The license is for noncommercial use only and lasts as long as
the video is online.
It’s a start – but it’s a pretty shaky one. FriendlyMusic
has none of the name artists that are likely to be particularly appealing to
most people. Rumblefish has not signed any major labels, though it says “name
artists” will be added in the months to come.
“We hope this is the first step toward a much bigger trend
toward content companies being much more user friendly with their licensing
models,” says Glenn Brown, head of music partnerships for YouTube. “What this
does is give users upfront clarity that we haven’t seen before today. … It’s a
great innovation in that regard.”
Rumblefish, which cuts deals with musicians and companies looking for background music, first partnered with YouTube in 2008 to create AudioSwap, a service that gives users the opportunity to swap out soundtracks, with the artist getting attribution in the video – but completely replacing the existing soundtrack. The new service will offer a bit more flexibility.