Rickrolling Song Co-Author Gets £11 From Youtube

Amidst the controversy caused by Google's decision to pull down thousands of music videos in the ruckus pitting it against music labels, the man behind the global Rick Astley phenomenon reveals how much he got from Google.

Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give you up", which became a global meme after last year's "Rickrolling" phenomenon, has been viewed more than 40 million times worldwide according to Youtube's own records.

Speaking to the Sun newspaper, Pete Waterman, the man who co-wrote the 1980's hit (as well as a slew of other hits as part of the Stock Aitken and Waterman trio), said that Google only paid him £11, that's 27.5 pennies per million views.

Google, which earns £3 billion per annum, claims that PRS, the body representing songwriters and other artists in the UK, has been asking for a royalty fee per video that was way higher than what it used to be before, which meant that Google would be losing money each time a video is viewed.

No wonder then that UK Music, an entity broadly representative of the music industry says that Google's actions were "cynical and exploitative".

The search giant it seems has been affected by the current economic downturn and fiercer competitors like Facebook. It is therefore planning to use its massive following - Youtube is the second biggest search engine worldwide and the fourth most popular website worldwide - to coerce labels to reduce their demands in terms of fees.

Like iTunes, it seems that the medium rather than the content producer, will be the one winning this round. Whether it will be of any good for the future of music labels remains to be seen.

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Our Comments

Pete Waterman's arguments in the Sun are strikingly pertinent especially when he says "Nobody buys music they can get for free on sites like YouTube." Youtube doesn't only encourage creation, it often fuels plain piracy much to the disregard (and displeasure) of the rights holders.

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