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News February 25, 2021

Facebook’s fight with Australia should start a conversation on compensation (Op-Ed)

Larry Grimes
Facebook’s fight with Australia should start a conversation on compensation (Op-Ed)

The whole battle with Facebook in Australia is much more than it seems.

Yes, it has been resolved after some high-level horse-trading. And there are unanswered questions about their selective censorship practices, which continue to rumble on right now so as to make sure users’ political beliefs align with theirs.

The big issue is who’s making all the money from Facebook. It’s Facebook.

And they are doing it by using your readership and your content, for which they pay not a cent, to sell advertising-without sharing a dime with you.

You pay for the content creation and subscriber development; they use your users to sell ads.

I might suggest an equally prudent approach by the music industry would be to throw some weight behind the country’s newspapers and mainstream news organisations.

You team with some of these news organisations and if artists agree to exclusively break their news with you — also covered by those news channels — Facebook quickly becomes a not-so in-demand place for the music industry.

I am willing to bet, a number of the major newspaper groups would jump at the idea of a cooperating venture. The more readers they have, the more ads they can sell. And with exclusive content, the easier it is to secure those readers.



The bigger content battle is hopefully brewing first with Google. Newspaper companies were lured in, through their lack of any tech understanding, to offer up their content to Google as a means to have the ability to distribute their news globally.

They quickly found out 95% of their audience was always going to be local. You know the rest of the story.

If Google is forced to pay for that content and if the advertising sold from that content goes to the media creators, it’s a whole different ball game.

The battle is hot and heavy in France. It’s percolating in the U.S. and of course in Australia.

Which leads me to the streaming platforms. The scales right now are tipped entirely in favour of the top, say, 200 artists.

It’s all basically a “pay for play” when you break it down. The other 99% artists — including the 95% of that 99% who are indie — have no real chance.

We are all waiting for the dam to break, where a significant number of artists come together — large and small — and demand a significantly larger percentage of the pot, or pull their tracks from services that don’t offer a fair split.

I’m probably “preaching to the choir” here, but the industry’s efforts are much better focused on fair share compensation.

Larry Grimes is the U.S. based Executive Producer for Melbourne-based singer songwriter Michael Burrows. He is President of the international media and entertainment advisory firm, W.B. Grimes & Company (est. 1959).

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


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