Whole albums on YouTube for free, is it too good to be true?

I’ve noticed lately, like over the past few years, that quite a few entire classic rock albums are available for listening on YouTube, free of charge. And when I say “classic”, I don’t mean the typical 1970s dinosaur rock-heavy focus of a Clear Channel playlist, but really classic stuff, like an entire set by the Doors at Marty Balin’s Matrix Club from early 1967 when they’d only just released the first album. Rare material, or at least it used to be rare. Living in a relatively small city, I find this particularly valuable. I don’t know where I’d go to obtain some of this music any other way, or even if I’d be able to find it for sale in L.A, which is about 100 miles away now.

Entire studio albums are also available, all for free. All you have to do is plug in the earbuds, go to YouTube, and tap the Play icon on your smartphone or computer. And a lot of this material, at least from what I’ve seen, has been posted for a year or more. You’d think that if it constituted a copyright violation it would have long since been the subject of a take-down order.

So the question is, how is this possible? Is it possible? Will the RIAA finally wake up to what’s going on and put a stop to it? Or do they only care about reproducible, online copies, which doesn’t apply to YouTube?

My guess is that nobody is buying these songs any more. So the artists are making money off of the advertisements to help supplement the small income they’re are getting off the royalties.

Probably it. YouTube has some quite sophisticated music recognition and will match music in a video posted with a rights database. Some music is forbidden, and your video won’t play. Some is allowed, but you can’t get any ad revenue, YouTube places ads for the music rights holder automatically and they get the money. Some music is totally fre for use and you can get ad money, but not much modern stuff. So indeed, making your music available via YouTube can be a money earner. A whole album isn’t quite the intent, but it works.

Right, and also in some cases the artists and their companies benefit from: 1. People getting interested in paying to see them perform in a comeback/geezer concert tour; 2. People getting interested/reminded of them, and paying for OTHER songs or albums by them; 3. A few suckers (like me) getting reminded of them, and purchasing that very album (or certain songs from it), for silly reasons like having it available when offline, or a CD gift.

I forgot to mention something else which may account for the license being granted. AFAIK on Android, Youtube is designed to pause if the user takes it out of focus, e.g. by running another app or turning off the display. Given that YouTube was designed for AV streaming, rather than just music or audio, this is to be expected. I assume it’s the same on iOS. So although you do get to listen to the albums, you miss out on the a lot of the convenience and flexibility you would enjoy if you were listening to something that you paid to download.

And YouTube doesn’t put up with ad blockers. You gotta lower your shields to play.

I think YouTube is a good example of how to do ads right. Banners aren’t overly large or intrusive, and commercial spots usually allow themselves to be skipped after ten or fifteen seconds. Moreover, they’re few and far between compared to what’s typical for OTA commercial radio or TV.

I can live with that. :slight_smile:

ETA: How successful the ads are I can’t say, but I see no reason to think they wouldn’t work about as well as ordinary TV commercials.

Works just fine for me, with ad blockers (Firefox).

I’ve been playing old Genesis albums all evening and haven’t turned off my ad blocker once.

A good way to keep obscure music alive since the radio play the sam ething over and over again.

I second that. Never watch an ad. My wife had trouble with ad blocker on Safari – I guess Apple cut a deal to prevent full freedom from ads? But Firefox, nope never see an ad on you tube since I’ve installed Ad Blocker. Vital if you ask me, I like to be able to start someone’s 20 song playlist and not have it broken up by interruptions.

I’ve never had a problem using adblockers on Youtube, either. I love it – it’s a great way to preview an album before you buy it.

Downloading Youtube videos is trivial.

Is this the same YouTube I watch? Because I’m constantly playing whack-a-mole trying to suppress those stupid pop-up ads that block the screen. To the extent that I avoid YouTube almost entirely (except when I’m doing research for an SDMB “name a song that does X” thread).

It doesn’t do that on a PC, though.

I think it is basically illegal, many seem to be posted by non-official accounts. But no one is protesting so they stay online.

As mentioned in post #3, Youtube pays ad revenue to the copyright holders if users upload copyrighted material and the copyright holders agree to leave it there.

The system is called Content ID. Participating artists provide Youtube with examples of their works and what they want to have happen if users upload them.

They can opt to have Youtube allow the material to remain and receive ad revenues and statistical information about how the content is viewed, or they can opt to have Youtube take down the material as soon as it is detected.

Here’s a pretty good article on why these videos are popping up. Quick answer: It’s YouTube itself uploading these videos from sites like Google Play and Amazon. Is it legal? Definately for the labels, who have signed extensive deals with YouTube. For the artists or songwriters maybe not; but as the article notes YouTube’s so slow on answering issues and its terms of agreement so broad most acts don’t bother.
How can you tell a video is auto-generated by YouTube? It will always have a small icon of the cover art and info on a generic background, and the account is #(artist name). Here’s a typical auto-generated page.

Hey, Dylan is on Youtube at last. His stuff was always aggressively removed a few years back. Good to see.

Bottom line, when I listen to music on YouTube, are the music artists receiving something?