Follow-up Statement: http://www.bstrader.net/?p=868
This post is remaining public for the sake of transparency / historic record, but may be made private at a later date.
“They can come back, but they have to do so legally.” ~Donald J. Trump
Most of you probably don’t know that recently, OC ReMix attempted to monetize videos to get revenue on YouTube. They started doing this on June 14th, 2016 but recently were forced by public response to take it off until such a time that their ducks are in a row. The monetization had been active for 2 months without any of the artists being informed or asked permission, and none of the remixes were legally licensed so that revenue made would be shared with the publisher or rights holders of the music.
There were a lot of issues with this taking place, but the most glaring issue is that they did this without asking or informing anyone. They did it in a really shady manner, and tried to justify having done it by saying “nobody noticed for 2 months”. When confronted with this betrayal and questions of legality and ethics, some staff shared their opinions, while others — such as site owner djpretzel / David W. Lloyd — became very defensive, and ultimately brushed concerns aside. At the end of the short discussion, I was blamed for “misrepresenting” the situation, or making OCR “toxic” by airing my concerns, speculation, and grievances.
My biggest problem from the start was that they had gone behind our backs — we, the artists, who essentially provide all of the content for OCR — and did this without asking and without permission. Then, when confronted about it, they justified generating revenue on this platform outside of OCR (YouTube) by saying it’s “the same as advertisements on the OCR website.” I personally don’t see it that way. YouTube is a free service, and “remixes” need to be legally licensed so that the rights holders get their fair share of the revenue. If the YouTube aspect had been in the agreement to begin with, or if we had simply been asked if it was alright, this probably wouldn’t have been such a big deal. Site owner djpretzel / David W. Lloyd has stated that the Content Policy will rightfully be updated to reflect changing technologies, as the original policy had been written in 2007.
The second thing that bothered me about the situation is that rather than apologize, and simply state that they’re going to try to work harder to appear ethical and work more diligently to adhere to legality as much as possible, I was demonized and scapegoated by site owner djpretzel / David W. Lloyd. I was, more or less, accused of “poisoning the well” as he brushed aside the negative concerns surrounding the situation. I have often, for multiple years, been critical of OC ReMix’s lack of accountability and transparency. Going forward, I will probably also be critical of their lack of trust and good will. As someone who provides content for the website, and essentially a customer (if you would consider OCR to be a company), I am in no position to be scapegoated any more than any other customer would be for asking questions. That’s unprofessional, and demonizing me over the situation is embarrassing and shows a lack of character, something that has been coming more to the forefront with how OCR conducts its business.
As a result of this whole disrespectful display, and waste of my time, I am ready to remove all of my personal content that I produced alone from OC ReMix. However, I decided to do what OCR was not capable of and leave this decision up to the fans. Only 8 people voted in the poll I pinned on Twitter, sadly, which is hardly a sample size worthy of note. But in an age where people don’t really care that much to begin with, this is probably the best I can do outside of running the poll for a month and publicizing the situation in other ways. So in brief: I’m not going to request my content removed from OC ReMix. However, as a result of this petty, inept nonsense, I am going to be seeking other avenues to release and promote my own content — legally, and in a manner that I can’t be exploited in some way. This may mean many less submissions to OCR, and more legally licensed, high quality projects released through Loudr, available on iTunes and Spotify, in addition to original music released through similar platforms.
(ed: I forgot to mention YouTube. I will still put all my new mixes on YouTube unless they’re made for a project.)
I have no intention to end any of my current projects. The only difference you might see is less fresh content going towards OC ReMix from me personally, yet the projects that are currently active (FF3, FF8, others) should ultimately not be affected. I can only hope that the revenue generated by upcoming projects allows the staff to look past their grudges, as the artists involved deserve to have their content heard if they agree to release their content through OC Remix.
“Leaving it up to the fans is the best possible course of action, in my opinion. I will leave my content available on OC ReMix for those who wish to still see it and enjoy it on that platform. I may not be happy, but if my music brings joys to others, I’ll live with it.”
Thank you for reading,
Brandon E. Strader