Scruffy, Indie folk-rock from Transylvania

My YouTube content licensed by Rumblefish

Posted by admin On August - 26 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

If you’ve been visiting the Indie Folker YouTube channel at all, you might’ve seen that I have the entire “Monsters In Rome” record uploaded there.

Well, lately, I’ve been getting messages from YouTube that the content I uploaded may be owned or licensed by a company called Rumblefish.

I am mainly writing this article for my fellow musicians, btw… because… as it turns out…. there’s nothing to worry about. If you get the following e-mail from YouTube: “Your video may have content that is owned or licensed by rumblefish, but it’s still available on YouTube! In some cases, ads may appear next to it….” – don’t panic. There’s a reason this is happening. Please read on.

As the e-mail further states “This claim is not penalizing your account status”. And it would have no reason to do so. Rumblefish is a licensing company that deals with a huge catalog of music. This does not mean that they actually own the music they are licensing. They are merely representing artists and license their music on their behalf.

Most indie artists get to be represented by Rumblefish by signing up to CDBaby, and using their distribution services. CDBaby has distribution and licensing deals with a lot of companies, so when you signed up for digital distribution, you probably chose your music to be distributed by all CDBaby partners. This is how my music got to Rumblefish. And that is how I received the copyright notice from YouTube. (This is what most likely happened to you, if any of your material was ever distributed by CDBaby. I don’t know if other online distributors have any deals with Rumblefish – I would be curious to know.)

The good news is, you can opt-out of Rumblefish at the CDBaby website. So you don’t need to put up with the advertisement that this company will place on your content without even asking. In theory, if money is to result from placing ads, you would be entitled to your share. I don’t yet know a way of keeping track of how much Rumblefish is actually profiting off of your material, so I guess more research would be needed in this case. But my feeling is that you can’t really know.

Anyway, I’ve decided not to do anything about the ads, if they do start to appear on my videos, and they get really annoying, I will just get rid of them. So please let me know if those pesky commercials are ruining it for you.


On Covering Songs On YouTube

Posted by admin On October - 11 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

There is a frustration very common amongst all musicians of the digital era: that of using cover songs on sites like YouTube. So far, with the traditional broadcasting technology and traditional media, all of these issues have been resolved by clear legal regulations. The broadcasters (usually radio stations and TV stations) had to deal with all the hassle that was required to “clear” the song for legal performance. Most of the times these stations had bulk deals with the Public Rights Organizations to publicly perform any of the songs in their repertory. Same with the bars and nightclubs. It has never been the artists obligation to clear a song for public performance, the business owners always had to deal with that.
Youtube, however, is a whole different story. In order to legally use a video with a cover song on sites like these you need to obtain a synch license from the publishers. YOU, the artist have to do this, because YouTube is regarded as a service that is mainly just hosting the videos that the users provide. They are exempt thanks to a copyright law called the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. So in order to legally have your cover songs on YouTube you have to personally get the licenses required from the publishers (these are NOT ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, PRS, these are Performance Rights Organizations, but you can find the publishers on their websites).
Of course, Youtube COULD get the licenses on it’s users behalf, so everyone could just share and upload their cover versions of copyrighted material as they’d wish, but since they don’t have to, they most likely won’t bother. The worst that is going to happen, is they remove your video or disable your account, fortunately, so many performers still get away with uploading their cover videos to alternate Youtube accounts.