With more than 100 million videos per day being viewed, YouTube has become an important distribution channel for new musicians. But someone’s got to pay for all those terabytes. If you’ve been wondering what kind of business model was going to keep YouTube afloat, look deeper than AdSense. Try the fine print:
“…by submitting the User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successor’s) business… in any media formats and through any media channels.”
Wired blog: “Among other things, this means they could strip the audio portion of any track and sell it on a CD. Or, they could sell your video to an ad firm looking to get “edgy”; suddenly your indie reggae tune could be the soundtrack to a new ad for SUVs. The sky’s still the limit, when it comes to the rights you surrender to YouTube when you upload your video.”
Not saying the terms are unfair, necessarily. You get what you pay for. But they are extreme, and musicians looking to break the surface of the water through the service should be paying attention.