Monday, March 23, 2009

Embedding disabled by request? Here's why...

Back on October 14, 2008, I posted an item in this blog that discussed the song "Stronger." I discussed two versions of the song, one by Kanye West and one by 30 Seconds to Mars. But when you look at the post, you can only see one of the videos, the one featuring 30 Seconds to Mars. If you want to see the Kanye West video, you have to click through to another site. Most people won't bother.

In the course of writing this blog, one of the phrases that I have encountered most frequently is the YouTube phrase "Embedding disabled by request." Every time I see the phrase, I get more and more irritated about it.

Delving into the subject a little more, I ran across this post from MediaMemo that talks about the issue. The post, written by peter Kafka, includes portions of an email from an anonymous person who works for one of the major labels. Here's an excerpt:

I work at a major label and I’ve been told informally that embedding is disabled on our label’s YouTube clips because the deal terms negotiated with YouTube on our first licensing deal a couple years back demanded such large advance and per-stream payments that YouTube could only come close to the ad rates required to satisfy the terms by selling the advertising around the video, and not just on in-video overlays. So in the negotiation, YouTube told us only way we could get the terms we asked for was to disable the embedding on our videos.

The explanation sounds reasonable, but it could cause problems for YouTube. Not that this particular blog is the most influential one in the world, but there have been occasions where I have refrained from mentioning a YouTube video in this blog. For example, when I discussed the Madonna song "Like a Prayer," I did not include a YouTube video of the song.

I included an MTV video of the song.

There's part of me that would think that things would be wonderful if you didn't have to visit silos to get information, and the MTV collection of videos is somewhat limited. And I'll grant the Warner Brothers isn't helping the situation by refusing to put its videos on YouTube (see my February 7 post on Devo's "R U Experienced," which again links to MTV). But it's appearing more and more that, for my purposes anyway (which include embedding of videos in this blog), I'll need to get familiar with the silo structure.
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