Dara has a post up today with an analysis of Google/YouTube’s new music streaming service–and why its terms are a very, VERY bad idea for independent musicians. Her analysis, in short, is that this is aiming to make it utterly unnecessary for your listeners to come to you for any reason–because YouTube will already have all your stuff, and at a streaming quality that is essentially indistinguishable from CDs.
If you’re at all involved in independent music, you should go read what she’s got to say.
And if you’re an independent author, you should definitely keep an eye on this, too. Nick Mamatas reshared Dara’s link by noting, quote: “Imagine Kindle Unlimited if it weren’t optional and if Amazon were trawling physical libraries and scanning every book or story you’d ever written because you have one item up on Kindle.”
Because yeah. I’ve already seen reports that Kindle Unlimited is gutting ebook sales for participating authors–and may even be impacting sales for authors who aren’t participating. Dear Author noted on this post at The Digital Reader with reports to that effect, and links to further reading on the matter.
All of which, for me, continues to add up to deep reluctance to commit my work to any one channel. At the end of the day, I’m not seeing any evidence that signing up for KDP Select, for example, will do any more for me than distributing myself out to Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, Kobo, and Google Play too–not to mention selling the print copies of Faerie Blood and Bone Walker.
John Scalzi has said repeatedly on his posts about Amazon and other big-name vendors of books that they are not an author’s friend. They’re there to make money, and if they think you can make them money, sure, they’re going to dangle shiny enticements in front of you to try to get you to commit your work to their exclusive systems. And anything that chokes off the due flow of money to you for your work should be treated with all due caution. I’m not saying indie musicians should never sign up for this new service, or that indie authors should never join Kindle Unlimited–but if you do, do it with your eyes open, and be aware of what it’s likely to do to your ability to sell your work.
In music and in writing, money should flow to the artist.
Read everything very carefully, and find out what will happen to that flow before you commit.