YouTube professional videos might have been removed, but no one better tell the RIAA’s enforcers about Pitchfork’s latest project, 100 Awesome Music Videos, which collects some of the online mag’s favorites, from A-Ha to ZZ Top, in their entirety — all found on YouTube. Watching these ’80s classics reminds us of a time when videos were meant to be promotional tools. Record companies had to fight to get them shown on MTV, with the aim of getting as many people to hear (or see) the song (for free), thereby selling as many albums as possible. Radiohead, in typically cynical but more-or-less factual fashion, calls one of its DVD music-video collections, 7 Television Commercials.
Currently, over six million people watch 40 million clips on YouTube — and upload 50,000 more — every day. Instead of working ceaselessly to lop off the ever-proliferating hydra heads of the new Internet, and angering so many people who love (and, yes, buy) music, the labels should be looking for new ways to take advantage of all those eyes and ears — be it through advertiser-supported models, or by (gasp!) encouraging creative, fun use of their products, however goofy those uses might be. That’s how music fans are made.
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