Maybe one day Billy Bragg will sit down on his couch, pop in a copy of Happy Gilmore, and spend an afternoon eating Fritos. But not today. The English singer has formed a coalition of artists including Radiohead, Iron Maiden, Chrissie Hynde, and Robbie Williams to protest the royalties (and lack thereof) being paid to artists when their music is used online at websites like YouTube. The first release from the group, known as the Featured Artists Coalition, lays out the basis for its existence:
Google, YouTube’s owner is a company that makes billions in profits; we think they should be paying artist royalties from the advertising revenue they make. A dispute like this illustrates the needs for the creation of the Featured Artists Coalition, so we have have a voice and the public understand that sites like Google should be paying for music. I don’t know how much money MySpace makes from advertising, but we don’t receive any royalties from it. They are not putting any money back into content.
Radiohead guitarist Ed O’ Brien separate statement also questioned the recent deal between Nokia and record companies that allowed the launch of "Comes With Music." Though the Featured Artists Coalition is currently a very Brit-centric group, hopefully an American chapter will soon be chartered. How great would it be to see Bob Dylan, Wilco, Metallica, Lucinda Williams, and Clay Aiken working together for the welfare of exploited artists? [The Daily Swarm]