Nikki Sixx Doesn’t Want You to be Sucked in by YouTube’s Web of Lies


Last week, Nikki Sixx and his band Sixx:AM came out against YouTube, claiming that the site needed to increase its royalty rates to give the next generation of rockers a chance, which is a solid plan if you’re a massive rock star guaranteed returns from those increased rates and not, say, part of the next generation of rockers.

In response to these and other claims, Christopher Muller, head of YouTube International Music Partnerships, wrote a blog post on the YouTube-owned Creator’s Blog. You can read the post in full here, but here are some highlights:

Radio, which accounts for 25 percent of all music consumption in the US alone and generates $35 billion of ad revenue a year, pays nothing to labels and artists in countries like the U.S. In countries like the UK and France where radio does pay royalties, we pay a rate at least twice as high…

YouTube also gives artists data they can use to plan tours, land press and even secure record deals. We believe that transparency is critical to ensuring the music industry works for artists. We’re engaged in productive conversations with the labels and publishers around increasing transparency on payouts which we believe can answer many artist concerns.

The final claim that the industry makes is that music is core to YouTube’s popularity. Despite the billions of views music generates, the average YouTube user spends just one hour watching music on YouTube a month. Compare that to the 55 hours a month the average Spotify subscriber consumes…

Make no mistake: regardless of the amount of time people spend watching music, we still feel it’s core to YouTube. That’s why we worked with labels and publishers to build and implement Content ID. It’s why we created a model that offers promotion that pays—to date, we have paid out over $3 billion to the music industry and that number is growing significantly year-on-year…

Muller definitely has a point in regards to radio, though he doesn’t acknowledge that radio is a dying industry. On top of that, his response, though touching on several important points, feels very careful and polished.

Not to be left without the last word, Sixx:AM posted the following to their Facebook:

So, as I said before, there’s some validity to the fact comparing classic music consumption platforms and modern streaming ones. It feels a little easy, and ignores the point.

That said, Sixx and Co.’s delivery does them no favors. It attacks Muller’s explanation as not directly addressing the issues, but then it asks him this blanket statement of, “So, do you hate artists? Is that what you’re saying?” More so, the whole “Don’t be evil” (which I know is a parody of Google’s original motto) and “stop spinning misinformation” routine makes the band’s entire argument sound childish. Spinning misinformation? Is Muller some sort of Iago character, pouring honey into the ears of the hapless masses?

Make no mistake, Christopher Muller is probably not some angel who truly wants to look out for emerging musicians, given that he works for a massive Google-owned company. That said, I don’t believe Nikki Sixx is, either. His readiness to go for the throat without any backing information and a few huge mainstream artists to reference (none of whom are part of rock’s next generation) doesn’t instill me with much confidence in his cause.

We’ll let you know who slings digital mud next in this fight.


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