The State of Music: Thoughts About Allowing User Submitted Content

In the world of YouTube Royalty Free Music, there are two types of content Creators.

You have creators like Kevin Macleod, who create their own content which is hosted on their own website.  In many respects, my project started because of Incompetech.com and its founder’s unrelenting stream of music that has become a staple in the traditional YouTube vlogging and skit sphere.

The second type is more an aggregate type of channel, like Audiopad or the ArgoFox channel.  Instead of creating their own music, they usually host other people’s music with their channel graphics on the video.  Artists submit music to these channels in exchange for promotion in hopes to generate interest and sales in music.

If you can trust the Kevin Macleod types (myself included), then the advantage of using music from these sources is that you can always count on your right to use the music in your content, provided that you properly source your material.  But, even though there may be quite the genre-spread that these people can handle, you may detect familiar patterns in their works and might generate a sort of fatigue of their music.  And since their genre-spread is so great, coming back to find the type of music you specifically want may be something that wears your patience thin (This is something that definitely affects my audience as well).

With the aggregate types, you have the advantage of different artists’ takes on a more focused genre-spread.  In most cases, this involves EDM (more specifically, Dubstep) as the major focus of the channel.  There are different equipment and different instruments involved making the same genre, so it keeps things more interesting when keeping to one specific form of music.

The problem with these aggregate types of Royalty Free Music channels is trust.  In every single one of these channels, I’ve seen music videos eventually taken down, subtracting from their view-count greatly.  This would indicate that titles previously available to creators for use are now no longer safe for anyone to use against the Content I.D. system.  In many instances, this is because track being used has become popular enough that the submitting artist decides to put it into a distribution site and also activating the Content I.D. option.

When an artist suddenly decides that his content should be in the Content I.D. machine, making it no longer free to use in the YouTube community, the YouTube community suffers.  This is not just because people can’t use the music anymore, but more due to YouTube creators having multitudes of their videos flagged by Content I.D. matches to audio tracks they previously understood to be free to use in their videos.  In every sense, the artist who backs out of their promises leaves huge numbers of YouTube creators up a creek without a paddle and no solution other than to take the hit or delete their video.

This brings me to user submitted content on the TeknoAXE webspace.  I’ve had numerous requests for me to host other artist’s content over the last three or four years.  I’ve not taken a single one seriously–not because I don’t respect other artists, but because I fear for the scenario that these aggregate channels face every time one of their artists back out deals.  This not only affects the creators suddenly in Content I.D. hell, but it also affects the reputation of the aggregate channel as well.  Part of me does feel a little guilty and somewhat selfish for now allowing other artists to get a space here, but the other part of me knows full well what I would be bringing on with a slew of other people that I don’t control and don’t necessarily trust.

So is there a middle ground here?  Can I open up my space to other people with a disclaimer that the reputation of the track being used is based on the artist and not the hosting channel?  I feel a more diverse cast of producers than just me may benefit both the channel and website, but I can’t be sure that same short term benefit would not end up as a long-term headache later.

–Matt