WMG Makes Up With YouTube

Warner Music Group has settled its differences with Google-owned YouTube. The new agreement between the major label and the popular video site includes official artist channels and may also include a new advertising plan for revenue.

WMG music has been missing from YouTube since December when the label pulled all its tunes from the user-contributed video service, claiming Google wasn’t fairly compensating the record company for its music.

But both sides are now in agreement and WMG recordings and music videos will reappear on YouTube before the end of the year.
While the video aspect of the agreement appears obvious, the part about allowing recordings on YouTube may not seem all that crystal clear. At least, not to the casual YouTube surfer.

But the site’s users upload recordings almost as much as they upload music videos. A popular YouTube feature is the ability for fans to upload tributes to their favorite artists – often a montage of photographs while a song plays in the background, or video of themselves lip-syncing to a recording.

One of the more interesting aspects of the agreement is about the advertising. Instead of relying on Google to place ads, WMG will employ a third-party agency to handle advertising. This gives the label more control as well as a larger chunk of shared revenue from advertising. Or so says Associated Press, attributing that info tidbit to an anonymous insider.

Meanwhile, both sides are saying they’re extremely happy about the new deal, as this statement from WMG indicates:

“We’re pleased to announce that we’ve reached a new and expanded agreement with Google and its YouTube subsidiary that will bring WMG content back to the service as early as the end of the year. Under the agreement, members of the YouTube community will not only be able to access videos and other music-related content from Warner Music Group recording artists and songwriters, but will also gain access to an enhanced user experience on YouTube with a feature-rich, high quality premium player and enhanced channels.”

Turning The Volume Down

Worried that personal music players are slowly destroying eardrums throughout the continent, the European Union wants manufacturers to warn customers that pumping up the volume could lead to deafness.

“If you want to enjoy your favorite songs in 20 or 30 years time, turn the volume down,” said European Union Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, adding that experts and the industry will draft tougher standards for personal gadgets.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that listening to loud, continuous sounds could destroy a person’s hearing. Seems every few years someone somewhere is warning about the dangers of over amplification. From home audio systems to Walkmans to iPods, consumers have had plenty of warnings about cranking the volume to the max.

Now an EU scientific advisory body is saying from 2.5 million to 10 million Europeans might damage their hearing from listening to too-loud MP3 players. What does the advisory group consider to be too loud? Anything played at 89 decibels or louder for more than one hour a day.

By comparison, anything over 120 decibels is considered to be the equal to the noise caused by an airplane taking off. According to a chart posted on CoolMath.com comparing decibel levels, the EU’s 89 decibel threshold is close to the same noise levels caused by “heavy truck traffic.”

The EU’s executive commission claims most personal players sold can reach volume levels between 80 and 115 decibels. Furthermore, some earphones can boost levels even higher.

“The use of personal music players at high volume settings over a sustained time can lead to permanent hearing damage,” Kuneva said. “We need to make sure consumers, particularly young people, are aware of these risks.”

EU plans to introduce standards calling for manufacturers to incorporate an 89-decibel limit into their MP3 players, although customers could bypass the limit by simply turning off the default setting.

Manufacturers are also interested in protecting their customers’ hearing, and are reportedly welcoming the EU’s campaign to lower volume levels. However, many companies say they need to study the best way to deliver warnings to their customers first.

Apple may already have a head start. Responding to France’s new law limiting players to a 100-decibel ceiling, Apple has been working toward lowering sound limits on iPods. The company also ships a warning with each iPod cautioning users that “permanent hearing loss may occur if earphones or headphones are used at high volume.”

Gordon Meets Gordon

After all these years, Phish bassist Mike Gordon has finally met the other Mike Gordon. And it would never have happened if it wasn’t for an Internet domain dispute.

About five years ago the bass player attempted to register the domain name MikeGordon.com, only to discover the Madison, Wis., real estate agent beat him to the punch and registered the URL in 1994. Bass player Gordon tried to persuade real estate salesman Gordon to give him the domain, but the realtor refused, which is why the musician’s Web site is Mike-Gordon.com.

“I told him I was active in my career and didn’t want to ditch that at a time when Web-based real estate was on the rise,” said the Wisconsin Gordon.

But the two became long-distance friends, exchanging e-mails and linking to each other’s Web page. And throughout all that time the two never had a face-to-face meeting. That is, until Sept. 26 when bassist Gordon played Madison’s Barrymore Theatre.

“I just met the other me,” Gordon said from the Barrymore’s stage. “He’s a bass player, not just a real estate broker. … When he put up his Web site people used to call him and say ’Is this Mike Gordon?’ And he would say, ‘Yes’ and they would say, ‘Wow, I really like your bass playing.’ And he would say, ‘How does anyone know that I am a bass player? That’s so cool.’”

The real estate agent played in a Doobie Brothers tribute band during the 1970s. For an encore, Phish’s Gordon served up a rendition of the Doobs’ “Taking It To The Streets.”

Phish Gordon also had a few words of advice for anyone running into realtor Gordon.

“If you run into the other me,” he said onstage, “give him a good handshake.”