Brandon Strader

OCR monetizing mixes on YouTube

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I agree with what k-wix said, advertisements on youtube feel more directly attached to the music than the website ads. The website ads are seen when you are browsing the site, reading the write ups, etc, and it gives the (correct?) impression that the ad revenue goes toward maintaining the website and paying for the costs associated with hosting and delivering the content.  The moment I see an ad on music on when browsing youtube (where, apart from the time it takes to generate and upload the video (from what I understand that's a fairly automated process) there is no direct cost to OCR), it gives me the impression that the channel is making a profit off of the content. If individual artists and viewers are getting the impression that youtube ads are linked to making a profit off of the content, I wonder how the Big N, Squeenix, etc, would perceive it.

Without this turning into an argument about fair use (since that's not the point of this thread), is there any precedent for a monetized youtube channel with 100% of it's content being derived from other copyrighted works?  (EDIT: Question retracted, there are OBVIOUS cases that I should have been able to think of. Chalk it up to a brain fart. :P)

 

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Just about any channel focusing on VGM remixes/covers, of which there are quite a few... Gamechops and Smooth McGroove come to mind.

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3 hours ago, djpretzel said:
  • YouTube ads and ads on this website, and that's what this conversation needs to focus on

Despite Dave's explanation, I'm still not down with this. In fact, I think I feel worse about it now than I did when I was hoping it was out of OCR's hands.

Allow me to explain, despite it being obvious to me, the difference between OCR site ads and YouTube ads:

It all goes back to what I said earlier about voluntary contribution.

Banner ads are something just about everyone is immediately aware of and here is the key: they exist separate of the fan content. They really do - they just sit there, off to the side. They're a part of the site, not of the music and when you go to a mix page, the video to preview it is off-site. However, youtube ads are directly embedded in the video itself. You're listening along and then BAM, ad in your face. When you submit a song to OCR, you knew that a banner ad shows up on the site - you didn't know your music was going to be monetized on YouTube and these mixers, post June 12th, didn't know either.

The fact that it was flown in under the radar is a huge red flag. You say that people not noticing is a testament to how unobtrusive it is - no, it's a testament to the fact that most people on this forum have adblock. What people here failed to notice is irrelevant because the majority of your listeners, the majority of people on YouTube, aren't registered members. YouTube is where you get your plays and was a place people could go previously without seeing an ad anywhere because they didn't have to visit your site. YouTube was all about experiencing the content and for many, discovering OCR.

From now on, when you submit a track to OCR, you are giving them a free pass to use your arrangement and original composition therein, as a means of directly generating revenue for the site via a third-party that was previously not monetized. You effectively are working for them, and possibly 3rd parties with their hands in the revenue stream as well, for free - the fact that OCR staff don't pocket the admittedly small amount of money is irrelevant. 

Every time a controversial subject involving money has come up, the same logic of "well, it's for the good of the site!" comes up. However, that has run its course and eventually you have to draw a line somewhere and I feel this is that line - second only to OCR actually profiting from the mixes.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

you didn't know your video was going to be monetized on YouTube and these mixers

The content policy DOES mention advertisements. It does not mention the specific medium or form those advertisements would take... presumably, if enough people feel that it isn't intuitive that the policy as written covers YouTube ads, we could explicitly include that?

10 minutes ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

You say that people not noticing is a testament to how unobtrusive it is - no, it's a testament to the fact that most people on this forum have adblock.

Not just on this forum - we monitored YouTube comments as well, and saw nothing there or on social media or elsewhere... if there was a better way of observing naturally how YouTube ads would be received and how they would impact the user experience, I'm unaware of it.

10 minutes ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

Every time a controversial subject involving money has come up, the same logic of "well, it's for the good of the site!" comes up. However, that has run its course and eventually you have to draw a line somewhere and I feel this is that line - second only to OCR actually profiting from the mixes.

"it's for the good of the site" isn't an explanation that can "run its course" - it's the ONLY explanation we've ever had, and the only one we ever WILL have. It doesn't expire just because we've said it a lot, and we've said it a lot because it remains true. I'm definitely getting that you feel a line has been crossed, but I'm not seeing how the justification for revenue generation for the site would ever change or expire...

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What I mean to say is that explanation only goes so far.

3 minutes ago, djpretzel said:

The content policy DOES mention advertisements. It does not mention the specific medium or form those advertisements would take... presumably, if enough people feel that it isn't intuitive that the policy as written covers YouTube ads, we could explicitly include that?

Yes, then it probably should.

3 minutes ago, djpretzel said:

Not just on this forum - we monitored YouTube comments as well, and saw nothing there or on social media or elsewhere...

Again, it stands to reason many of these people, especially posted mixers have adblock. Other listeners are not going to care about ads because they didn't make the track and might not even be looking at the screen when the ad shows up.

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@AngelCityOutlaw is the crux of your objection that the monetization is taking place through a third party, who have their "hands in the revenue stream"? How or why is it any different than ads through Google (who take a cut) or support through Patreon (who also takes a cut)?

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@zircon

The crux of my objection is that monetizing the YouTube videos is completely optional and the ads are ostensibly ingrained into the content rather than an off-side thing like they are with banner ads on the site and the community was deliberately not made aware of this change. For example, if I go to a mix here and scroll down, I see an ad for "Super Audio Cart" which is both relevant and I have to scroll to see it and when I click download, I don't get ads shoved in my face at all - it just lets me download it and when it plays, it doesn't give me a pop-up midway through.

If I go to Patreon, I have to voluntarily pay you money. Now, if I go to YouTube as a listener and playthrough a video, you're making money just by virtue of me watching.

The only way you're getting passed the ads on YouTube is if you don't look at it or have adblock.

Ultimately, nothing I or anyone in opposition to this says is going to change anyone who's okay with it's minds. This is a subjective thing - some people will be okay with it, some won't be. For the ones who are, "it's to keep the site going" will always be justification enough for anything and anyone who disagrees is just a stick in the mud.

What needs to happen, in my opinion, is that the policy needs to be updated to be absolutely clear about how your content is used with advertising and future changes to these policies involving user content the community should be made aware of. As it stands, by DJP's own admission, it's just this amorphous policy that allows OCR to use the fan content with advertising in the future in ways that may be unethical to some remixers. 

Remixers should be aware of all of these things and then decide for themselves if they are cool with it.

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What if there were no ads displayed before the video and it was just the display-ad style to the right of the video, and below? Would that make any difference?

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I think this is a pretty reasonable experiment to do. I get how ads on YouTube videos are more "intrusive" because they are ingrained in the content that you consume. That's the sole difference in my mind. DJP gave a pretty solid explanation, and I think that morally speaking ads on YouTube videos are no different than ads on the site. Most people don't think of it that way though, myself included until I read DJP's explanation. People are used to YouTube ads generating profit on music videos and don't think of them in the same way that they'd think of a banner ad on a website.

Ads displayed on the page of the YouTube video rather than in the video would make a difference to me because the main (only?) problem I have with YouTube ads in the video is that they inherently make the content less enjoyable for those who don't use adblock. 

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2 minutes ago, zircon said:

What if there were no ads displayed before the video and it was just the display-ad style to the right of the video, and below? Would that make any difference?

My bad, I neglected to address my thoughts on this in last post.

At first, I would've been inclined to say that it's no different from the site itself. But that's not true, because like I said, the preview for the YouTube video is technically still on YouTube. I'm seeing the ads on the site without ever having to play the track.

Again, I know that when I visit this site, there are ads and that's to be expected, but YouTube was this place where you could experience killer fan remixes and nobody made had to put in anything other than showing appreciation for the musicians' work and the organization's efforts to showcase that work - no monetary contributions involved. I feel that was a great thing that added something to the spirit of the community and I'm personally disheartened to see that it's changed. 

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I'm sorry but I fail to see any of these arguments holding ground, with the exception of intrusiveness in youtube ads vs website ads, which is a point in favor of having the website ads instead of youtube ads.  Other than that, nothing has changed in where the money goes, which is, back to ocr, and what is actually being monetized, which are the remixes. I'm willing to bet money that less than 1% of the people who visit ocr do it for other reasons than to listen/download the remixes, thus ocr's product has always been the remixes and that's what we monetize.

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6 minutes ago, Sir_NutS said:

I'm sorry but I fail to see any of these arguments holding ground, with the exception of intrusiveness in youtube ads vs website ads, which is a point in favor of having the website ads instead of youtube ads.  Other than that, nothing has changed in where the money goes, which is, back to ocr, and what is actually being monetized, which are the remixes. I'm willing to bet money that less than 1% of the people who visit ocr do it for other reasons than to listen/download the remixes, thus ocr's product has always been the remixes and that's what we monetize.

Yeah, the thing is it doesn't actually matter if any "argument" changes anyone's mind. Like I said, it's subjective and people who aren't okay with it will likely just stop contributing to the site or not do so in the first place. DJP is going to do whatever he wants anyway - it's his site.

The remixes aren't monetized on the site - the site itself is monetized. On YouTube, the video containing the mix is monetized and you cannot get through the song without the ad, thereby monetizing the mix.

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Just now, AngelCityOutlaw said:

Yeah, the thing is it doesn't actually matter if any "argument" changes anyone's mind. Like I said, it's subjective and people who aren't okay with it will likely just stop contributing to the site or not do so in the first place. DJP is going to do whatever he wants anyway - it's his site.

The remixes aren't monetized on the site - the site itself is monetized. On YouTube, the video containing the mix is monetized and you cannot get through the song without the ad, thereby monetizing the mix.

What are we monetizing with the website ads?  People come to ocr because of... the forums?  Our wonderful, 2005 web design?

Perception != Reality.

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14 minutes ago, Sir_NutS said:

What are we monetizing with the website ads? 

The website.

14 minutes ago, Sir_NutS said:

People come to ocr because of... the forums?

Fewer people come to OCR than ever - this has been a topic of discussion earlier this year in a thread started by Willrock. The user base has dropped like a stone and I believe it was DJP himself or Darkesword that said they're finding social media and YouTube have taken over.

You're conflating "thing that draws people to site" with "thing that is monetized". I got to Facebook to see what my friends ate for lunch or read a political rant. There are banner ads on the side - that doesn't thereby monetize your chicken sandwich or status about how much you hate Trump.

14 minutes ago, Sir_NutS said:

Perception != Reality.

 

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3 minutes ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

The website.

Fewer people come to OCR than ever - this has been a topic of discussion earlier this year in a thread started by Willrock. The user base has dropped like a stone and I believe it was DJP himself or Darkesword that said they're finding social media and YouTube have taken over.

You're conflating "thing that draws people to site" with "thing that is monetized". I got to Facebook to see what my friends ate for lunch or read a political rant. There are banner ads on the side - that doesn't thereby monetize your chicken sandwich or status about how much you hate Trump.

 

Fewer people come to OCR, which is not something unique to OCR but that is happening to pretty much every community out there as more people are less likely to keep up with an external website when they can just get all the information on all the comunities they belong to in their social media feed.  This is interesting of you to point out since if that's the case, it makes more sense to move the ads to where the people would see them and where it would help OCR more.

Facebook is monetizing people and their information.  Facebook's product is people, information, not facebook itself.  OCR product has always been Remixes, that's what draws people to the site and that is what we're monetizing with ads.  If we remove the remixes from ocr people won't come, there would be nothing to monetize, same as if we remove people and their information from facebook.  CNN's product isn't CNN, it's the news.  That's what they monetize with ads.  It's their product.  Radio stations monetize the music they broadcast, not the station, etc.  If people PERCEIVE that OCR is monetizing the remixes now and not before, they're just wrong and have no grounds on that argument, because that has always been OCR's product.

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6 minutes ago, Sir_NutS said:

If people PERCEIVE that OCR is monetizing the remixes now and not before, they're just wrong and have no grounds on that argument, because that has always been OCR's product.

Whatever, NutS. If you can't see why some see an ethical difference between embedding ads in videos showcasing mixes on YouTube when they previously were not and the community wasn't made aware of the changes, versus ads that generate revenue from via their placement and persistence throughout the site, that's your problem. One is directly generating ad revenue via listening to the mix, the other does so without the requirement of actually clicking play.

I've stated my thoughts on it, if you disagree, I don't care.

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Just now, AngelCityOutlaw said:

I've stated my thoughts on it, if you disagree, I don't care.

Well, we're supposed to have a discussion, but since you don't care about people who disagree with you or their ideas, then I have no clue about what you're actually doing here.  I could say what someone who only enters a conversation to spew their rhetoric and purposefully ignore other arguments actually is, but that'd be considered inflamatory in what has otherwise been a civil discussion on both parts.  Good day, sir.
 

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8 minutes ago, Sir_NutS said:

Well, we're supposed to have a discussion, but since you don't care about people who disagree with you or their ideas, then I have no clue about what you're actually doing here.  I could say what someone who only enters a conversation to spew their rhetoric and purposefully ignore other arguments actually is, but that'd be considered inflamatory in what has otherwise been a civil discussion on both parts.  Good day, sir.
 

I stated that this is a subjective thing. I said why I don't like the YouTube videos being monetized. It was this place where you could just go to the channel and listen to the music without creating any ad revenue. 

You have just basically tried to tell me that this opinion is unjustified because of ads on the site that is not even necessary to visit to hear the music. 

You're fine with it and that's okay, but there is no right or wrong answer. You can only say how you feel about it and then DJP takes it all into consideration.

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If OCR really wants to monetize videos, maybe remixers could have the choice to let the video being monetized or not when submitting. Again, both sides of the argument have strong and relevant points.

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Whether or not this is ethical as far as OCR's relationship with the artists who have submitted this music, to me, is secondary to the concern that this is kind of damaging the good case we had for Fair Use as far as arranging copyrighted material and releasing it publicly unlicensed.

It seems silly to me to equate website ads to YouTube ads. Website ads are driven by traffic to the OCR website/forums, and the mix write-ups. On YouTube, the ad revenue is generated directly from the content that users are consuming. The ad is tied to consumption; when a user consumes the content on YT by hitting play, ad revenue is generated. It's monetizing the content itself. To me this isn't really subjective, if you look at it in terms of the actions the user takes that lead to these systems logging the transactions. (Of course there is an extent to which the evaluation of whether something is subjective/objective is in and of itself subjective)

Besides personally feeling like an outdated submission policy has kind of been invoked on us artists, dormant patent troll style, to make it "okay" for OCR to do this because they're "covered" (I personally don't mind for my music because I'm invested in this community), I'm not sure why this isn't considered downright illegal. This music is not licensed, and should not be generating revenue; site revenue should come completely from donations, because OCR is (or at least approaches in spirit) a non-profit organization.

Submission policy notwithstanding, I also feel artists should get appropriate portion of revenue. My music is creating money, why aren't I getting that money? Is it because paying me makes it legally inconvenient? Well, that, but also, it's because OCR doesn't have the technical infrastructure to organize the payouts to artists like that. And so that makes for two reasons why it shouldn't be done; it's monetizing unlicensed music and it's ethically "wrong" to not give people a piece of the pie for their hard work (and OCR literally can't do so even if they decided to because of resources).

And because the policy protects OCR to not have to pay artists at all, I think the policy is too ambiguous and needs revision to match the climate of today's internet musical consumption models (streaming and such).

On the other Spotify thread, I proudly said that OCR isn't trying to "fly under the radar" with anything we do, but I feel there's a strong case for this monetization being illegal, and now it's starting to look like we *are* flying under the radar, especially because DJP had stated one of the main points of the experiment was to see if anyone noticed it was being done.

 

As far as Brandon Strader's opening sentiment, I think it's baseless, and insults the intelligence and collective intentions of the staff, as much as similar opinions were shared when Super Audio Cart was released or when the FF6 Kickstarter went up.

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7 minutes ago, Neblix said:

Whether or not this is ethical as far as OCR's relationship with the artists who have submitted this music, to me, is secondary to the concern that this is kind of damaging the good case we had for Fair Use as far as arranging copyrighted material and releasing it publicly unlicensed.

It seems silly to me to equate website ads to YouTube ads. Website ads are driven by traffic to the OCR website/forums, and the mix write-ups. On YouTube, the ad revenue is generated directly from the content that users are consuming. The ad is tied to consumption; when a user consumes the content on YT by hitting play, ad revenue is generated. It's monetizing the content itself.

Besides personally feeling like an outdated submission policy has kind of been invoked on us artists, dormant patent troll style, to make it "okay" for OCR to do this because they're "covered" (I personally don't mind for my music because I'm invested in this community), I'm not sure why this isn't considered downright illegal. This music is not licensed, and should not be generating revenue; site revenue should come completely from donations, because OCR is (or at least approaches in spirit) a non-profit organization.

On the other Spotify thread, I proudly said that OCR isn't trying to "fly under the radar" with anything we do, but I feel there's a strong case for this monetization being illegal, and now it's starting to look like we *are* flying under the radar, especially because DJP had stated one of the main points of the experiment was to see if anyone noticed it was being done.

I wish I could like this post twice.

and yeah, the bold text is essentially what I was trying to say, but you put it far more eloquently. 

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@Neblix Would it change your mind if the only ads were display ads on YouTube? In other words, you wouldn't be presented with an ad before the video, they would just exist on the page. (And not on embedded players.) Then it wouldn't be tied to consumption.

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Well, evidently I didn't like the thought of OCR monetizing on youtube videos (since I mentioned that on the Spotify topic), but if it were changed to sidebar display ads, then I wouldn't mind nearly as much because it would be similar to the site ads. Youtube inline ads do kind of bug me, but it's not really a big deal with respect to whether or not I can skip them.

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