Is YouTube the worst thing that could happen to the music business since Napster in 1999? Millions of users as using YouTube to watch billions of music videos and this is affecting the revenue stream of artists, record labels, music publishers and managers. According to the aggrieved parties, YouTube is building a huge business from their copyrights by playing around the safe harbor of exemptions to the law. It means that YouTube cannot be held liable if users upload music without the necessary licenses and comply only to take it down after being told to do so.
According to people who oppose YouTube, the site is slowly killing the music industry because it is anti-artist and anti-copyright. However, all major artists have a YouTube channel and they would never dream of launching a new record without the involvement of YouTube. There is indeed a conflicting relationship between the music industry and YouTube. The “old” music industry wants everything to stay as it was in the previous years and yet new business is emerging which is facilitated by YouTube.
Hannah Trigwell, a Leeds-based singer and songwriter discovered YouTube’s promotional potential and started uploading her own songs anonymously to get instant feedback for her work. She did not have any fan base and was a virtual unknown to promoters. It was obvious to Trigwell that she has to forge her own journey unless the right person comes along to change her luck. Unexpectedly, the cover of Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car became a success on her channel and grew an audience in Southeast Asia.
However, YouTube income was not enough so that Trigwell signed a partnership deal with Absolute Label Services. YouTube remains her primary focus because it is the tool for promotions. Artists should not solely depend on YouTube; they have to develop a business outside of YouTube to engage a larger audience.
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