Guitar YouTuber Bradley Hall, who also recently got into the spotlight for his alternate version of a solo for Metallica’s “Lux Æterna” and prompted Kirk Hammett to respond in an interview, shared a video addressing some issues that YouTube music creators are facing today. Titled “Old People Are KILLING Music YouTube Channels,” the clip addresses copyright claims and copyright strikes that these young creators are facing.
Particularly, Bradley explained how bassist YouTuber and his friend Charles Berthoud got a copyright strike and got his cover of Eagles’ “Hotel California” removed from the platform. To those who may not know, a copyright strike is a more severe form of punishment from YouTube. And if one gets three of these in the span of 90 days, the whole channel is banned for good.
After discussing the matter, Bradley also recalled how two other guitar-oriented channels, KDH and sixstringtv, critiqued Yngwie Malmsteen in some of their videos and then got their content taken down, which, according to Bradley, isn’t exactly legal. Explaining how Malmsteen supposedly abused the system, Hall said (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):
“And speaking of illegal… So last year, my YouTube friends at around smashing chaps KDH and sixstringtv made some videos critiquing sentient bipedal donut Yngwie Malmsteen. Now, it’s well known that the big Swede actively censors negative opinions of himself on the internet.”
“And this was no exception, of course. He swiftly issued takedowns on both their videos and penalized both their channels with full-on copyright strikes for no other reason then they just said critical things about him.”
“This is the most obviously blatant illegal abuse of the system that I’ve ever seen on YouTube. And he was only able to do this because he issued the takedowns from like a sort of temporary burner account. This is how ludicrously broken the system is. So he was able to dish out these strikes just like that from a random temporary account with no implications.
“Now, I’m usually on YouTube’s side. And I do understand that it’s essential for them to remain as impartial as possible. They have to just be the simple middleman, and they can’t get involved in any cases. But to me, it’s just so unfair, that there doesn’t exist any sort of pushback or punishment or penalization for people that find loopholes and abuse the system.”
“Like I said before, the only way to fight these cases is to appeal and like literally take the claimant to court and physically prove your innocence. And unfortunately, this isn’t the only way in which the system is being abused.”
“On numerous occasions, I’ve caught publishers, labels, and artists trying to falsely claim content in my videos just so they can take the money from it. As you can see, when you issue a copyright claim on a video, you have to highlight specifically whereabouts in the video your content is being used. And when you do this, there appears to be a restriction which prevents you from claiming content less than five or six seconds in length. So as long as you only use short clips of songs or videos in your content, then you’re generally safe from these sorts of claims.”
Recalling how he also suffered some of these unjust copyright claims where a bigger portion of the video is flagged, Bradley said:
“But sometimes, in these juicy cases, the claimants don’t care about that and they just claim chunks of your video that contain their content, even if these chunks contain a bunch of your original content as well but they don’t own. Take a look at this video of mine for example. Muse’s publisher was so desperate to take the money for this video that they fraudulently claimed a chunk of it, most of which contains my own original work.”
Analyzing the whole situation, Bradley admitted that he can’t really wrap his head around it and how this whole thing works. He said:
“Seriously though, guys — no matter how hard I try, I just cannot wrap my head around this insanely iron-fisted overly militant policing of copyright content that a lot of older artists and companies still employ. Trust me, it achieves nothing besides just making you look incredibly petty and out of touch.”
“Unfortunately, whether you like it or not, you just have to accept that anything on the internet is just fair game. That’s just how it is. And fighting vigorously tooth and nail to police your content or your image… It has no positive outcomes for anyone.”
“And just because a lot of people are consuming your content for free on the internet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re losing out money. No. Out of those million plus people who watch Charles’s ‘Hotel California’ video, there were probably loads of those who’d never heard the song before.”
“And perhaps they really liked it and then went to check out the whole album on Spotify. And then perhaps they liked it even more and decided to like buy CDs or vinyls of it, awesome t-shirts or something, I don’t know. But assuming that you’re losing out on money just because somebody’s consuming your art or products or whatever, for free, it’s so fucking surface level and basic and small brain. Just, like, stop it.”
In conclusion, Bradley offered:
“Honestly, there’s probably more money to be made in music today than ever before. The difference is you’re not selling music as the main product anymore like you used to. You’re selling yourselves to your audience and hoping that your audience invests in you in return. You just have to be a lot more creative in how you do business now.”
“You know, you got to use your fucking brain. If you keep trying to do business in the same way that people were doing business like 30, 40, 50 years ago, then yeah, of course that’s not going to work out too well, is it? It doesn’t make any sense.”
Of course, at the very end of the video, Bradley also reflected on how the advancement of AI is going to impact the music industry in ways that we can barely conceive at this point. Reflecting on Rick Beato’s recent video, he said:
“And furthermore, with the astoundingly fast developments of AI tech in the past year or so, it’s extremely likely we’re going to see even more insane changes to the music industry in the coming years. And if you’re having trouble adapting now — oh boy, let me tell you, you’re going to be in for a shock. [Laughs]”
“Because things are about to get a whole lot crazier, I guarantee it. To quote some random article I found on Forbes like five minutes ago, ‘Believing that the old ways will keep working for you is a fool’s dream. It’s time to adapt or die.’ All right, that was a bit dramatic. You get what I mean. Right? Right.”