I wanted to embed some music videos from YouTube on my Posterous site and write about how I really loved the song and the artist. (Yes, I am still one of those old-fashioned ones who want to get a "physical CD" in their collections.)
There is that "ominous" advice: "Embedding disabled".
I checked the video source: some music company.
Now that got me thinking:
[ In this age of social media where audiences are no longer just passive receivers of messages but are part of the 'media and communication plan', shouldn't music companies be 'liberating' their videos and their music so users can "promote" them in their own sites - on twitter, on blogs, on facebook? ]
And much deeper than that is the question:
[ Why are these companies so protective of their properties on the web? ]
Sure, there is piracy. But that is entirely a different issue, I believe. Disabling video- and audio-embeds (say, from imeem.com) is counterintuitive from my perspective:
[ Why put it on the web in the first place if it's going to be "unshareable"? ]
Seth Godin apparently is thinking of a similar thing. In this blog entry he writes:
"So, how to protect your ideas in a world where ideas spread?
Instead, spread them. Build a reputation as someone who creates great ideas, sometimes on demand. Or as someone who can manipulate or build on your ideas better than a copycat can. Or use your ideas to earn a permission asset so you can build a relationship with people who are interested. Focus on being the best tailor with the sharpest scissors, not the litigant who sues any tailor who deigns to use a pair of scissors."
... which makes sense to me.
One can copyright ideas. One can patent ideas. One can use the power of the law - and it sure is getting powerful every day - and the power of lawyers to litigate people who "steal" your ideas - and songs and videos.
But if one puts it on the web, one no longer owns it fully.
Audiences who watch the video, listen to the music, read the article are no co-owners of the content - whether audiences know it or not, whether the companies want it or not.
I am going to venture a guess and say that this certain music
company (and perhaps most of them) thinks that "well, the internet is
good - the web is good - a lot of people go online - so let's use it to
promote our song and get them to like it".
But that is no longer the purpose of the web - or of all things digital, for that matter:
[ We are now in the age of interactivity, of two-way communication, of co-ownership, of co-creation, of empowered audiences.]
Sure, companies spent lots of money to nurture talent that will come up with the right words and music and ideas, and produce the music and the ideas. And their businesses are largely based on how many CDs are sold.
Perhaps it's about time that they start thinking about changing their business model.
Whilst I am at it, let me relate this back to brands.
Brand managers and marketing directors believe that they own their brands.
I say: No.
They solely own the trademarks and the copyrights and whatever else that their legal departments tell them they own.
But consumers co-own their brands.
In fact, there are no brands unless there are audiences and consumers who believe in a certain brand. A brand will not exist unless there is a group of people who believe that "This is my brand".
Brand managers, marketing directors, agencies, brand consultants, and companies are there to enhance the consumers' experience of the brand.