Well, it finally happened. Artists are now making it a condition of their show contracts that the promoter’s advertising cannot appear on pirate sites. In other words, the promoter will be in breach of contract with the artist if the promoter’s advertising appears on sites that exploit artists, not only the artist who is party to the particular contract, but any artist.
Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. It’s been common for years for artists to get very upset about associations with people, movements or activities that the artist doesn’t like. For example, some artists didn’t want their records sold in South Africa during apartheid. Some don’t like firearms, tobacco, leather goods or Republicans.
So now the question is, will they start putting the restriction in brands sponsorship agreements, too?
There’s an interesting insight into the online excuse culture from ReadWriteWeb, that riffs off of Google’s “Evil” corporate motto:
See No Evil
Cameron Yuill, the founder & chief executive of AdGent Digital, says there are two very different kinds of advertising: branded content, and direct response, and he blames the direct response advertisers. “A lot of the direct response guys don’t care where their ad appears… they just want to get a response.”
Is that an ethics problem? “I would say absolutely,” Yuill says. “It’s been part of the industry since day one, right? Trying to get people to click on an ad.”
The online ecosystem’s easy self-service culture has resulted in many companies not knowing who they’re doing business with, says Jules Polonetsky, director and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, and the former chief privacy officer and special counsel at DoubleClick (before it was acquired by Google).
“The next thing you know a Fortune 500 advertiser is in business with some unknown blogger or some pirate site,” Polonetsky explains. “Clearly there are steps that companies can take in an automated way, but it’s a challenge. Most certainly have policies against it, the question is how good can your automated systems be to prevent it, or are you intentionally casting a blind eye?”
If you’ve been around for a while, you know these were the same excuses that The Man always made about doing business with unsavory people. They are no more convincing coming from The Man 2.0. And it comes down to the same basic reason: The Man 2.0 does business with scumbags because it profits him to do so.
There’s a very simple explanation to artists: it is my music, my image, my brand. It’s not bad enough that it is being stolen from me by scumbags to their profit, that stolen work also being turned to profit Fortune 500 companies–the 1% of the 1% starting with Google and Yahoo.
And they say they can’t stop. Right—they can’t resist, more like. Because they are addicted to the money.