For those of you who are not familiar with the concept of Windowing, it is an increasingly popular way to hold new music releases back from streaming sites for a limited period of time — often the first week, but sometimes up to a few months (you probably heard of Beyoncé’s revolutionizing success with the strategy).
Windowing ensures that:
1) the artist does not cannibalize her sales during the period in which she’s likely to sell most of her songs, while it
2) gives less enthusiastic fans the opportunity of streaming her music for free on YouTube, Spotify, etc. later.
It has often been argued that Windowing is what keeps the music industry — and iTunes — alive.
That’s why Google’s new contract is so important:
It is the most brutal attack on music and musicians since Napster because it kills Windowing — and thus, it kills music sales.
If you sign it…
Another thing to consider:
Google is going to cut your royalties significantly if their new project goes sideways.
And that happen may very well happen:
According to Forbes, only 7% are willing to pay for the new YouTube. And that number was before consumers knew that thousands of songs will be removed now, either by Google or content owners. It could be 3% or worse today.
So you have to ask yourself:
Am I willing to stream my entire catalog — in return for little or no compensation — for at least 5 years, instead of selling my music from iTunes and everywhere else?
Bear in mind, that a new fantastic alternative to YouTube may appear in a year from now, but you and all your work will be Google’s property for four more years.
That’s a long time.
And don’t forget that you already have alternatives today: You can remove everything you have from YouTube and upload it to Vimeo or Daily Motion instead.