Why did YouTube and Google let the RIAA take the lead in shutting down YouTube-MP3? Much like their own Lyor Cohen's recent missive defending low payments and blaming musicians and labels for the "disconnect between YouTube and the rest of the industry," in failing to work to shut down the top streamripper, YouTube keeps missing opportunities to gain the respect of the music community.
By many measures, YouTube streamripping became the #1 source of music piracy, widening the riff between the music industry and the online giant. But the shuttering of #1 ripper YouTube-MP3 came only after legal action from some injured parties - the major record labels.
YouTube and parent Google were also severely harmed by the streamripping site, and chose not to take action. Not only was the YouTube brand used in the url and title of a site that enabled illegal downloads, YouTube-MP3 threatened the integrity of the core YouTube product.
But Google did nothing. In fact, YouTube-MP3 ranked high in Google searches for streamripping until very recently.
The extra traffic driven by ripping is insignificant to YouTube. But many within Google and it's core tech audience believe in an open and free internet; and that ethos is baked into all things Google.
Thanks to its huge audience, YouTube has provided musicians and other creators with an unprecedented opportunity to build a fanbase. YouTube's free creator toolkit, including no-cost access multi-million dollar video studios, also far surpasses the spotty efforts of most other streaming services.
But a continuing failure to acknowledge and act on the legitimate concerns of creators; and in this case, to also protect their and YouTube's own intellectual property, leaves many questioning the company's sincerity. Much like when Pandora bought a rural radio station in a blatant attempt to lower payments to artists and labels, YouTube continues to antagonize many in the music community.
A year or so after buying that station, then Pandora CEO Tim Westergren apologized to the music community and re-emphasized efforts like AMP, its free artist marketing platform, and analytics provider Next Big Sound. Pandora became an essential and much loved tool for artist marketing and development.
Royalty payments still mattered, but Pandora was now viewed through a much more sympathetic lense.
If they chose to, YouTube is well positioned to do the same.