The Big Scam: Rick Beato's YouTube Rant
Updated: Mar 28
First of all, if you haven't seen it:
Fair Use: (in US copyright law) the doctrine that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder (emphasis mine). (https://www.lexico.com/definition/fair_use)
What Beato is saying in the video above is that YouTube is blocking a brief excerpt of copyrighted material that he is using for teaching purposes - and that there is nothing he can do about it because YouTube will delete his channel if he persists.
Rick Beato has a lot to lose if YouTube deletes his channel; last I checked, he had 1.36 million subscribers!
Of course, the irony is that his anti-YouTube rant is on YouTube, and this sympathetic blog you're reading links to that YouTube video!
As an aside, I think his million-plus subscriber list is deserved; he is a multi-instrumentalist, is very musically knowledgeable and literate, has an impressive background in all facets of the music biz, including major-label artist and producing credits and puts out an exhausting quantity of content on all things musical on his YouTube channel. I highly recommend him to my students and site members.
However, if I was him, I would be very nervous about being so dependent on a platform over which I have no control.
Yes, I have a YouTube channel - more than one - and yes, I have run into the same problem as Beato with my teaching channel, Master Guitar School. I have had videos blocked by YouTube that would fall under the Fair Use clause; they were brief excerpts used for educational purposes.
What songs/artists? Well, since you asked, the Beatles, Sting and Prince - off the top of my head.
I've even been flagged for copyright violation by YouTube for using my own song in a teaching video! How's that for irony?
My videos were blocked in spite of the fact that they are not even public. Most of the teaching videos on Master Guitar School's YouTube channel - several hundred - are unlisted. That means they're not public; they don't show up on the channel and they don't show up in searches; you have to have the link to access them and the only way to get the link is to be a MasterGuitarSchool.com site member &/or purchase a product that contains the link - besides the fact that they should be covered by the Fair Use clause.
None of that matters to the music industry suits and bean-counters that administer the catalogues and it doesn't matter to YouTube that the little guy is being stomped on by the music industry powers-that-be via YouTube.
So what's a little guy like me to do? Or even a big guy like Rick Beato?
First of all, I'm not totally dependent on a single platform like YouTube, FaceBook or any other social media site. They can, and do, change the rules on a regular basis and I have no control. Plus, there is no telling when they'll just go away.
Too big to fail? Right. Hey, whatever happened to MySpace?
Remember Internet Underground Music Archives (IUMA)? No? Probably before your time.
One of the things I took away from Jeff Walker's book, "Launch" was to not be dependent on FaceBook or social media in general. Yes, leverage them, use them, advertise on them, but OWN your own website, OWN your own domain and funnel everything to that. OWN your email subscriber list - don't depend on your YouTube subscribers (you don't own that) or your FaceBook Friends (you don't own that list). A good old-fashioned email list is still the most valuable asset you can have. One of the reasons for that is...it's yours!
Your YouTube subscribers are owned by YouTube, not you. YouTube is selling access to them to advertisers. Your YouTube subscribers are YouTubes' to sell. Yeah, you have access to them in a way, and can pitch product to them - for now. Like I said, YouTube can change the rules anytime it wants to.
As you can tell, I don't care much about a gigantic YouTube subscriber list or having a massive number of FaceBook Friends. I leverage those platforms and whatever subscribers I have on them to funnel people to my own website. My agenda on all social media platforms is to get people to sign up as a Master Guitar School site member, not to subscribe to my YouTube channel or be my FaceBook Friend.
Master Guitar School Site Members is MY list, and YouTube and FaceBook have no control over it. I protect my list; I don't share it with anybody, no one else has access to it. I am very concerned with building and maintaining a personal trust between myself and my site members.
Beato has his own website with a membership signup form. That means he has a list that's independant of his YouTube channel. I'm sure there's a stream of site subscribers coming from YouTube - but YouTube can be very seductive. What starts out as a promotional vehicle becomes a destination in-and-of itself that creates an income stream that you spend more and more time on and over which you ultimately have no control. The quantity of Beato's output on YouTube suggests that the YouTube channel takes up the bulk of his time - which means other activities like his own website may suffer neglect. Maybe he is doing well enough to pay one or more employees to tend to the website, I wouldn't be surprised; the website certainly looks functional and very current (i.e. "Leap Year Sale"). He's selling everything from music theory books to PDF downloads to merch; coffee cups, beer steins and t-shirts.
I've also recently noticed an ad campaign on FaceBook pimping his ear training method. It has nothing to do with his YouTube channel. I can't imagine him having time to do all this without delegating to employees. So he may not be as dependent on YouTube as I would be due to having to do everything myself. I may be projecting.
Anyway, so when YouTube blocks one of my teaching videos, I just post it on my own website. Easy peasy. So far that has solved the problem. There are many other options; I've put videos and mp3s on my google drive and just linked to that.
There are other video hosting websites that could be used - like Vimeo. Or just buy your own freakin' server!
If YouTube deleted my channel, or went away altogether, would that be a problem? Yes, definitely. But not a fatal blow. I have backed up every video I have on there. In more than one place. As a matter of fact, I have at least triple redundant backup.
It would be a major pain in the ass; I would have to update the links in every product as well as every page on my website and in my blog that link to my YouTube channel, but it could be done. I might lose a few weeks dealing with it.
Or I might start over from scratch - do-overs are usually smarter and more efficient than the first time around.
As you can see, I've thought about this issue - a lot.
My conclusion? The more self-contained you can be the safer you are. In my opinion, being connected to YouTube by an umbilical cord - that is, something that's necessary for survival - is to be in a very vulnerable position.
P.S. A couple of blogs where I've talked a little about the significance to me of Jeff Walker's Book, Launch are:
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