Tired of Bad Albums? Blame YouTube

Have you found yourself saying that they don’t make albums like they used to? You’re not alone. Jimmy Iovine of Apple Music lays the blame for bad albums at the feet of YouTube as well as labels and Billboard magazine. From Music Ally:

Apple Music’s Jimmy Iovine has been making waves again, with an interview for Beats 1 in which he criticises labels for their handling of YouTube and safe harbour, suggesting that they are partly responsible for a decline in the quality of some albums, as artists try to squeeze recording in between their more-lucrative commitments.

YouTube first. “The labels haven’t done anything about YouTube. So now you’ve got YouTube out there with 500 million people, where you can get your music very elegantly for free, and getting better and better and better and better,” said Iovine, before claiming that Billboard’s chart is “counting YouTube’s plays the same as Spotify’s paid plays and Apple Music paid plays” – thus encouraging artists to support it.

So where does the artist go? ‘Oh, there’s 500 million people on YouTube, so I’m going to go promote my record there. Even though I get paid here, but I want a number one record here! That’s called fake news!” said Iovine. “Netflix doesn’t have a free tier: you can’t find House of Cards on YouTube.”

[Update: as has been pointed out, Billboard does not include YouTube streams in its main albums chart, but does include them in its Hot 100 singles chart.]

While admitting that safe-harbour legislation has been a challenge for labels trying to rein YouTube in, Iovine was firm in his belief: “You could figure out a way to deal with it, and so far the record industry has handled that wrong

Agree? Disagree? Read on.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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