Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor: YouTube is built on the back of stolen content

By midian182 ยท 46 replies
Jun 15, 2016
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  1. Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor is known for his love of technology. He was responsible for the original music from both Quake and Call of Duty: Black Ops II, called the alternate reality game Year Zero – based on the NIN concept album of the same name – “a new entertainment form,” and is chief creative officer at Apple Music.

    It turns out, however, that Reznor has a real dislike of YouTube. “I find YouTube’s business to be very disingenuous. It is built on the backs of free, stolen content and that’s how they got that big,” he said during an interview with Billboard. “I think any free-tiered service is not fair. It’s making their numbers and getting them a big IPO and it is built on the back of my work and that of my peers. That’s how I feel about it. Strongly.”

    YouTube has come under fire recently from a number of artists and those in the music industry, partly because it is attempting to rework copyright legislation to grant the service safe harbor status for content uploaded without the copyright holder’s permission.

    In an open letter to Alphabet CEO Larry Page, musician Nikki Sixx wrote: "Artists from every genre are finding it impossible to pursue their art in a world dominated by YouTube. Without changes, young musicians will no longer be able to make music for a living and the next generation of fans will be robbed of great artists. Dreams of breaking into the music industry will effectively be unattainable."

    Reznor’s role at Apple does mean that he has extra reasons to dislike “free-tiered” streaming companies. The Nine Inch Nails founder is doubtlessly referring to Apple Music rivals such as Spotify and Deezer when using the term; their ad-based free tiers could hamper the growth of paid-for services such as the one offered by Reznor's employer.

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  2. LiveResistance

    LiveResistance TS Booster Posts: 85   +64

    What is the difference in people discovering new music from services like YouTube or hearing something new on the radio that they may have never heard before? If anything, I would think YouTube would give more people the opportunity to be discovered. I'm not personally in the industry, so maybe there is more to it than I understand.
    ziffel66, gingerbill and Reehahs like this.
  3. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,006   +657

    A lot of the new stuff isn't under control of a publisher - so it doesn't count for the industry.

    The other complaint is more realistic. Folks upload stuff faster than it can be identified and some free stuff gets to folks without a payment. I guess there are publishers who would like the internet for themselves and a successful complaint which shuts down the competition is 'worth a try', especially if it gets rid of any really good and legal free stuff as well.
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,870   +1,289

    Until very recently almost NONE of the stolen content was being taken down because Google thinks its big enough to steal everything and get away with it. They spend around 100 million annually just drawing out infringement cases long enough that by the time they are finally forced to remove a movie or TV show its no longer getting many hits. Google successfully defended their right to steal the output of newspapers and books, making themselves the ONLY web entity that can get away with it. Smaller entities that tried to do the same were shut down immediately, because victory goes to the deepest pockets. Every year Google contributes something like 30 million dollars to politicians that influence decisions regarding copyright law and so on. Its all a very dirty game and the copycat king is winning. Apple got a favorable verdict from suing Samsung for copying the iPhone but they got nowhere suing Google for copying iOS. Apple only gives token supports to liberal decision makers while Google pays off *everyone* handsomely.
  5. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,097   +1,273

    I think you mean google could care less whether stolen content was on their service. It's not like google is uploading this stuff themselves and it's disingenuous to say that they are the ones doing it.

    I think right now, what google is doing with it's copyright system is too restrictive. People are getting strikes for content they themselves make.

    Is google cutting into the pay of hard working artists? Probably not. Fans will always go out and buy the album. Just listening to a crummy rip on a sketchy youtube channel isn't getting the full experience. I can't see how it's any worse than listening to the radio other than the artists not having full control but then again it's the publishing company that usually decides which stations to give it to, not the artist.

    Can content control be better for artists? Yes but the artists also have to do their part and adapt to the internet. Holding out releases isn't going to work anymore, your music should be easy to buy (you'd think this was obvious but allot of companies don't get it), and you should at least afford the customer the same rights that a physical CD/record would carry. That means no DRM, they can play it wherever, whenever, and as many times as they want.
    ziffel66, noc81, gingerbill and 3 others like this.
  6. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,301   +429

    I agree but I don't care. If I want to watch Peter Green sing the blues and play the's on where else. If it could be purchased and ALL the money went to Peter...that would be a different thing.

    If "stars" and "celebrities" made 35K that would be different also....

    Basically I have no regard for "artists" and I don't care how much $$$ they "lose"...screw them
    Reehahs, stewi0001 and cliffordcooley like this.
  7. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,654   +1,092

    while now music on youtube gives ad revenue to the right ppl because of content ID, in the past it wasn't like that.
    as for radio, you have to licence the music before you play it.
  8. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 336   +199

    Youtube and streaming aren't the bad guys. The bad guys, the people that have ALWAYS been screwing the artists from the dawn of recorded music has been the labels. If the artists were actually receiving the streaming revenues instead of their current measly cuts the labels give them after they take most of the pie, I think a lot of these artists would shut up and sit back and collect checks. Youtube isn't screwing over Trent Reznor or stopping him from making a living. If anything Youtube helps Reznor. The music industry changed. A lot of musicians can't handle that things aren't the way they used to be.
    Geforcepat likes this.
  9. workablob

    workablob TS Rookie

    I am a recording artist and I love seeing my stuff spread on YouTube. I sell my stuff on CDBaby and will soon be on other places as well. I provide my music free to stream on Youtube, ReverbNation and SoundCloud so I think it is a valuable tool.

    If someone wants to pirate it cool.

    I am flattered.

    Karma will take care of me.

    I do it for the love of the art and it takes care of me.

  10. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,265   +436

    What is this clown talking about

    "Dreams of breaking into the music industry will effectively be unattainable."

    Its already pretty much unattainable how many people make a successful long career in that business and how many fail?

    Whatever record company you sign with owns you and you get paid peanuts.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  11. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,006   +657

    So, self-publish, make widely available, keep fulfillment cost LOW and promote, Promote, PROMOTE.
  12. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    Self-publishing isn't for the masses. That requires people actually like your stuff without a big money backer spending millions promoting it. I've personally met some very talented musicians who no one knows of simply because they aren't signed.

    YouTube and self-publishing is where entertainment (music, etc.) and media is heading. The old way is on its way out, and no quantity lamentations from famous people can change that.
  13. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,335   +843

    If it wasn't for Google and YouTube I wouldn't know who these people are, they should be thanking Google for letting them host their stuff for free and getting them more recognition.
    Lionvibez and cliffordcooley like this.
  14. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,376   +168

    This does not compute. Far as I know YouTube is built on the back of cat videos, and cat videos are freely given as a way for cats to perpetuate their control of humans.
    Ascaris, dusseldorf and Icysoul like this.
  15. Jack007

    Jack007 TS Booster Posts: 181   +42

    Most young artists at their start were much better singers singing for pennies on streetside. Just because they landed a record they want to capitalize on something that will be free anyway. Any media content whether it be music movies tv shows and others end up being free through torrents. Hackers make sure of that and there is no stopping it
  16. J spot

    J spot TS Addict Posts: 149   +77

    Technology Trumps status quo. It's not written in stone that the biggest artist must be filthy rich vs a little less rich. It's not a god given right awarded to them, but rather just the status quo before YouTube. And while they might benefit a little less, hundreds of lesser artist get to showcase their music. And even get revenue from it. The same way the biggest artist make money from views of their videos. Perhaps it's not as much as in the past, but again it's not written in stone that they have to make more money.

    I don't watch music video on YouTube, but rather a lot of educational stuff, information, tutorial, college classes, etc. And to have that taken away because someone wants to limit technology so that they can benefit a little more like the they did in the old days would be bad for humanity.

    The analogy that I've always used is the big bad candle industry suppressing electricity because they had always been on top, and so it's their god given right to always be on top.

    Things change.
    noc81 likes this.
  17. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    IKR! it's like sorry you can't afford your gold plated jumbo jet, while I'm still trying to pay off my basic car.
    noc81 and EClyde like this.
  18. Getting "signed" means giving up what...80% of what your music brings the publisher? Why aren't artists talking about that?
    noc81 likes this.
  19. OcelotRex

    OcelotRex TS Maniac Posts: 465   +240

    By "promote, Promote, PROMOTE" do you mean post to a free site with unfettered access to nearly the world's population with internet access? That sounds a lot like YouTube to me...
    noc81, Reehahs and Cycloid Torus like this.
  20. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,185   +208

    Linsey sterling and many other you tube only musicians do not seem to be doing to badly.

    Her last estimated worth was $6 million. She started posting in 2007 after failing to be signed by a record label.
    noc81 and Reehahs like this.
  21. Thrackerzod

    Thrackerzod TS Enthusiast Posts: 40   +30

    Sounds like another greedy old dinosaur needs to get with the times. Youtube is making artists these days, there is no need for record companies anymore. Like him or not Justin Bieber would not be a thing without Youtube and there are tons of other artists becoming famous and making big money solely because of Youtube.
  22. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,889   +1,223

    I can't belieb we made it 20 comments in without mentioning the most famous youtube success story of all. Justin... Beaver? I can't remember his last name. Anyway, I guess he's really popular and he got started by posting his stuff on youTube.

    As for Trent - he has to deal with it. So he doesn't like 'Free-tiered' services. First off - there aren't any. All those online things like Spotify, Pandora, etc, they all have contracts with the studios.
    K, this is a pile of fiction ... Companies (and Unions) can't contribute to political campaigns because of campaign finance laws. Google does not contribute 30 million anything to politicians. it's employees might, but it can't be in the name of Google. What does happen, is they spend a ton of money on lobbyists and Google exec's visited the White house like an average of once PER WEEK during the last few years, so they clearly have friends in the white house.
    Google does not spend 100 million every year on lawyers to keep copyrighted videos on YouTube. They just take them down. They have a whole team of people working around the clock taking down videos that are offensive, inappropriate, or copyrighted. Go upload some p0rn - see how long it lasts. They even have automated algorithms - if you upload a copyrighted video it doesn't need to be checked by a person, software like SoundHound (or whatever they use) will stop it immediately. I once uploaded a video montage of MY OWN pictures with a copyrighted song in the background and it was caught immediately.

    Sounds to me that Trent has been living in his ivory tower so long he forgot how the world down here actually works.
    noc81 and Reehahs like this.
  23. Cruizerdave

    Cruizerdave TS Rookie

    When it was on the radio, you'd be like, "whoa, I like that!" The D.J. would then tell you the name of the song and the artist, and if you wanted to hear it again, you'd go to the record store and buy the album.
    With Youtube, it's on demand, anytime you want it, no purchase required.
  24. Cruizerdave

    Cruizerdave TS Rookie

    So musical innovator and brilliant guy Trent Reznor is a dinosaur, and we should accept Youtube making it impossible for many artists to make money releasing their music because of crappy bubble gum pop Justin Bieber. Check.
    jalmos likes this.
  25. Geforcepat

    Geforcepat TS Booster Posts: 140   +16

    Lol! wat?

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