Over the past year or so there has been a significant trend of full albums showing up on YouTube. There is invariably no video content – just a still of the artist and the music.
The interesting part is that there are now many classic albums on YouTube a good chunk of which aren’t available on Spotify or other streaming services. So for example if you fancy a bit of Pink Floyd you can hear Dark Side Of The Moon on YouTube from one of many different sources. You won’t find it on Spotify though.
Uploading someone else’s music to YouTube is of course totally illegal (as it is with music videos). However it seems that under YouTube regulations the emphasis is on the copyright holder to take action to pull the music down. And it seems that some record labels (coughs, EMI) are turning a bit of a blind eye.
They may even be on some occasions using YouTube’s ContentID system and its revenue opportunities to enable them to collect a little cash from the adverts that precede the music.
Some companies are playing even stranger games. You can for example listen to Oasis’s The Masterplan on YouTube on your laptop, but it won’t play back on your mobile or iPad.
So why do record companies do this? Maybe they figure that if you are listening to an album on YouTube you may at some point think I’ll go and buy it.
As for newer artists, well YouTube is a huge community and it can help to break an artist. There is a bit of analogy with radio here. Record labels are very keen to get their band’s singles on say BBC 6 Music, but there is a way bigger audience on YouTube.
With Spotify subscribers can take music offline and listen to it on their smartphones etc with YouTube if you want the music to travel with you then you run the risk of running up huge data costs. So you might as well go and buy it.
Some companies are more aggressive than others at taking content down. I was delighted to see The Velvet Underground’s controversial final album Squeeze on YouTube as it is not available digitally anywhere and the record itself is hard to find. However it got taken down after a while. I guess because the only people who might have bought that album would have been trawling used record stores for it and the record company wouldn’t make any money from it.
Anyhow here are ten classic albums that are all available on YouTube, and the last time I looked were not on Spotify. Happy listening. I wonder if they will all be still up in three months time?
Finally one quick footnote. I listened to John Lennon’s Imagine album on YouTube and 1, It really is a great album, much better than I remember it. 2, It is like listening to a vinyl record. There’s no easy fast forwarding or skipping tracks and you know what, I kind of like it.
1 Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of the Moon
2 The Beatles – Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band
3 Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti
4 AC/DC Highway to Hell
5 Peter Gabriel 3
6 Oasis – The Masterplan
7 Eagles – Best of
8 Wings – Back To the Egg
9 John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band
10 The Zombies – Odyssey and Oracle