While it's true that youtube may
or may not
be making money I think that the companies financial status is really irrelevant to the source of their content.
Unless they are a registered non-profit, they are in it for the money, and we know Google is certainly in it for the money and doing well. Our music writers? Whether they wrote the shittiest song of all time or a mega-hit, they really should get something for their work and they aren't. WHY should they be paid you ask?
Here on slashdot we too often side with the open information movement. I myself use open source software as much as possible. Microsoft? F@#$ em. OpenOffice is great. Linux runs my company servers, email, etc. I use Opera and Firefox, Thunderbird for internet. We all do. These sets of software have figured out how to work in an opensource economy. Since we use them and largely subscribe to this vague notion of "free and open is good" we sometimes jump at the music industry for not going the same way.
But there is a HUGE difference.
Open source software provides a solutions to a predetermined goal. It gives it away for free, and then covers costs by selling support for that solution and licensing professionals to do the same.
Suppose we were to open source music. How would that go? We all need to write a song that will accomplish the task of making us feel happy when everything in life is crushing our spirit. Let's start a community for it, open up our development process, track bugs, let users request features such as a second bridge that modulates the chord progression up one half step. Perfect, we have the something so generic that everyone can use it without caring. That's what music is for right, just a mindless background tool that helps you accomplish a task. Just like Thunderbird or Apache.
Then how do set up a community of consultants or license specialists in your song, genre, etc? The problem requires a much different outlook that we have with FOSS or general OSS, because the creativity that goes into writing music is not the same as that which goes into software. It requires personal investment of emotion, a dialogues between a writer and a listening transmitted by another frequently overlooked party, the artist (which in some genres looks more like a programmer these days, but that's beside the point).
We are so used to the idea that the internet is in some way this awesome tool that if you don't get on board and use that we say "you are the short sighted moron" to the musicians struggling to make it. Now don't get me started on record labels, because I think they are really the enemy here, but writers and musicians get caught in the crossfire and treated the same.
IP for software and IP for music are so different, even though their distribution models are almost identical (write it, test it, package it, advertise it, copy it to a zillion CDs and then mark it up to make some $$) While both industries are undoubtedly facing a myriad of challenges in finding alternate distribution methods that focus on web content we need to recognize that there is a real difference.
No one will be making Sgt. Pepper 2.1.18, or Bethoven's 5.2th, they are unique and aesthetically set in stone. You might improve the packaging or remaster the recording but that is a footnote not a new release. There is no competitive improvement to promote by limiting IP.
As for monetizing, YouTube thankfully is light on the Advertising, which I appreciate. Perhaps they should offer free ads to people who find their work on the site? Or prioratize ads from legit vendors of their works? Have you ever done a torrent search? Lots of those big torrent sites do just that, why not YouTube? This would allow them redirect watchers to their site, or a vendor like Amazon or iTunes where a legal purchase can be made.
I guess what Irked me about the initial article is just the whole "oh those bitchy music industry folks complaining again about copyright" Damn straight! I'd be pissed if everyone was streaming my source code to youtube, wouldn't you?? I'm not greedy, but I do need to make a living. When you're making 11.00 a year on a video that has 15 million hits
I understand being upset (Ironically there was an ad for Rick Astley ring tones next to the video, Guess how much Rick's writer makes from THAT? HAHAHAHAHA! NOTHING). We just need a sane way to compensate artists and writers for their work, and since most websites are monetized in advertising I think that YouTube should just trade advertising for artist controlled domains for the right to have the works in their collection. Win-Win.
My additional $.10