Earlier this week, someone sent me a music video of 20 Robots dancing to Beyoncé Knowles’s popular song, Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It). The video has been seen 41,000 times since its release just seven days ago. Check it out.
According to strict interpretations of copyright law, mashups like these are considered illegal. Therefore, it’s probably only a matter of time before Myren the Beancounter launches a cease and desist letter, claiming that the robots are hurting Beyoncé financially.
As someone who wears two hats–content creator who supports artist compensation and businessman who supports the bottom line–I’m left with the following question: “Is Beyoncé being harmed financially or benefitting from said video?”
On one hand, she’s not receiving direct revenue from each time the video is played. On the other, she’s benefitted from 41,000 new earworm opportunities to send fans to iTunes.
Content creation and distribution technologies are changing the way we do business. They cause us to question fundamental assumptions that formed the cornerstones of entire industries. Ten years from now, we’ll probably look back on these issues and laugh. Until then, we’ll sit on the sidelines watching Myren protect the top line while ignoring the bottom line.
What sayeth you?