Shockwave-Sound Blog and Articles
Google Close Captions Sound Effects

Google Close Captions Sound Effects

Google, ever the inventors of new technology and the owners of YouTube.com, have broadened their work into the area of sound effects, specifically through the audio captioning on their YouTube network. Traditionally “closed captions,” which provide text on the screen for those with hearing challenges, provided dialog and narration text from audio. Now, however, Google has rolled out technology that can recognized the .wav forms of different types of sounds to include on their videos, dubbed “Sound Effects Captioning.” They do this to convey as much of the sound impact as possible from their videos, which is often contained with the ambient sound, above and beyond the voice.

In “Adding Sound Effect Information to YouTube Captions” by Scorish Chaudhuri, Google’s own research information blog, three different Google teams, Accessibility, Sound Understanding, and YouTube utilized machine learning (ML) to develop a completely new technology, a sound captioning system for video. In order to do this, they used a Deep Neural Network (DNN) model for ML and three specific steps were required for success: to accurately be able to detect various ambient sounds, to “localize” the sound within that segment, and place it in the correct spot in the caption sequence. They had to train their DNN using sound information in a huge labeled data set. For example, they acquired or generated many sounds of a specific type, say “applause,” to be used to teach their machine.

Interestingly, and smartly, the three Google teams decided to begin with 3 basic sounds that are listed as among the most common in human created caption tracks, which are music, applause, and laughter: [[MUSIC], [APPLAUSE], and [LAUGHTER]. They report that they made sure to build an infrastructure that can accommodate new sounds in the future that are more specific, such as types of music and types of laughter.  They explain a complex system of created classifications of sounds that the DNN can recognize even multiple sounds are playing, meaning the ability to “localize” a sound in a wider variety of simultaneous audio. Which, apparently they were successful in achieving.

After being able to recognize a specific sound such as laughter, the next task for the teams was to figure out how to convey this information in a usable way to the viewer. While they do not specify which means they use to present the captioning, the different choices seem to be: have one part of the screen for voice captioning and one for sound captioning, interleave the two, or only have the sfx captions at the end of sentences. They were also interested in how users felt about the captions with the sound off and interestingly, discovered that viewers were not displeased with error, as long as the majority of time the sound captions communicated the basic information.  In addition, listeners who could hear the audio did not have difficulty ignoring any inaccuracies.

Overall this new system of automatically capturing sounds to display as closed captioning via a computer system as opposed to a human by hand looks very promising. And, as Google has shown time and time again, they don’t seem to have a problem with the constant evolution of products that succeed and that users value. They stress that this auto capturing of sound increases specifically the “richness” of their user generated videos.  They believe the current iteration is a basic framework for future improvement in sound captioning, improvements that may be brought on by user input themselves.

Explanation of YouTube Content-ID for Stock Music / Production Music composers

Explanation of YouTube Content-ID for Stock Music / Production Music composers

Recently, one of our artists wrote to me with questions about YouTube and his right to receive compensation when his music was used in YouTube videos. I ended up writing a pretty long explanation around the whole YouTube / Content-ID issue, and I just thought it was worth sharing here, in case it can help clear some things up. So here it is. If you already know all of this, great. 🙂

Let me try to explain the YouTube / Content-ID situation

YouTube (or rather, their owners, Google) developed an “audio recognition” program called Content-ID, into which it invited large music publishers such as Sony, Universal, Warner Brothers etc. to submit audio recordings of all their album releases. So these companies sent their music into Content-ID, and now, every video that uses music by these companies (say, Justin Timberlake music or whatever) is automatically “detected” to include this music. As soon as the video is uploaded to YouTube, the audio in that video is scanned and compared with millions of audio recordings that they have on file. When a match is found, the person who uploaded the video to YouTube will receive a “copyright notice” in his inbox. It says something along the lines of “Your video is found to contain music copyrighted to Sony” (or which ever company). Now, advertising is put on the video. This advertising is paid for by the various companies who advertise there (obviously) and it can be anything from movies to cars to shampoos, etc in those adverts, but often times it will be an advertisement that is somehow related to the content in the video. For example, if it’s a holiday video, the advertisement could to be some kind of holiday resort. Now, YouTube obviously makes money on that advertising, and a small portion of that money is now paid out to the company who owns the music that has been detected in that video. So if the music was Sony’s, Sony are now making money on each video, and I’ve heard this amounts to approximately $1.00 – 1.25 for every 1,000 views that video achieves.

A side effect to this program is that the person who created the video and uploaded the video to YouTube is not able to monetize his own video. By this I mean that the video creator can’t sign the video up with the YouTube partnership advertising program and receive his own advertising income from his video. Because the advertising money from that video is already “taken” by the company that owns the music that’s playing in the video.

Some people also decided that it would be a good idea to let independent musicians and bands into this whole setup. So they started Content-ID programs for independent musicians, where the aggregator (CDBaby, Rumblefish, AdShare, AdRev, IODA, The Orchard, INDMusic, Rebeat, Tunecore, AudioSparx, Magnatune, to name a few) feeds the independent music into YouTube’s Content-ID system, and starts to make money on the videos that contain this music. What happens now when people use this independent music in their videos is that they get a message from YouTube saying that their video “contains music owned by Rumblefish” (for example) and advertising starts appearing on the video. About $1 – $1.25 per 1,000 views is sent to that company (for example Rumblefish or INDMusic). Some of this is sent on to the aggregator (for example CDBaby or TuneCore), and some of this is sent on to the artist. Exactly how much is left for the artist, I’m not sure, but what started as $1.00 – $1.25 per 1,000 views has now passed through another couple of companies before it got to the artist, so it’s definitely considerably less. And now, the guy who created the video is not able to monetize his own video, because the monetization on that video is done by the Content-ID company who claims to own the music.

Another negative effect it will have on the customer’s video is that the video is actually blocked in some countries – for example, in Germany. This is because YouTube and the German royalty collection society GEMA (who control music broadcast and performance in Germany) have not reached an agreement on payments, so GEMA simply forbids YouTube to broadcast registered music in German territory. There are also some other countries that have this problem, but Germany is the most publicized one. So if you upload a video to YouTube and that video is found to contain music that is in Content-ID, the video will be blocked for all German viewers.
Content-ID clean music

This is exactly why people come to a place like Shockwave-Sound, to license music that is not in Content-ID. The music is “clean” and is not automatically recognized at YouTube. When people put our music in a video and uploads that video to YouTube, nothing special happens. The customer does not get any email with a copyright notification. The video is not automatically monetized by a third party. The video is “clean” and the customer is able to monetize his own video. He can sign the video up into the YouTube Partnership program, and he can start to receive advertising money from his video. And his video won’t be blocked in any countries.

When a conflict happens

What has happened sometimes is that artists have not understood this whole setup, and they have had their music both licensed via a stock music site like ours, and also monetized via a Content-ID system through Rumblefish, CDBaby, AdShare etc. And that is a conflict.

As you can imagine, when a customer buys your a license to your music track from Shockwave-Sound and they want to use the music in a video that they wish to monetize, they upload the video to YouTube, only to be told by YouTube that their video “Contains music owned by Rumblefish”, the customer is not happy, and we here at Shockwave-Sound are definitely not happy.

  • Firstly, it creates a big problem for our customer. He is likely to be angry and he will want a pretty good explanation for the music that he thought he licensed from us.
  • Secondly, it makes us look very bad in front of our customer, because it looks like we are a fraudulent company trying to sell music that is owned by somebody else. A competing company, no less.
  • And thirdly, the Content-ID “owner” of the music (our competitor) now actually starts to make money on our customer. We’ve spent years building a customer base, working our guts out day in and day out for years, and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Google advertising to tempt customers to our site. We finally land that customer, he buys something from us… only for the Content-ID company to “leech” onto that sale, and start to make money on our customer’s video, even though they did no work in regards to that customer, that sale, or that music. All they do is to “piggy-back” on our sale, our customer, and start to make money for absolutely nothing, other than to have allowed the independent artist to have their music in their systems.

Can Content-ID make us rich?

It is my strong opinion that independent artists will make more money on selling/licensing their music via Shockwave-Sound, than they ever will make with the Content-ID system. Unless your music “goes viral” in some crazy popular video, the money you end up with after what started as $1 – $1.25 per 1,000 views, after the money passes through one or two other companies, is hardly anything left for you. I have never heard of any artist, except for such “crazy popular” cases, that made any money worth mentioning via Content-ID. The guys I spoke with made just “pennies”. Of course, if you’re Bruce Springsteen and you have your music used in 30 million videos, things will start to build up. And for the aggregators, it’s pennies from millions and millions of videos, because they have SO many artists and tracks in their database. But for one independent artist who is part of that setup, the money is likely to be almost nothing. I feel strongly that you guys will make more money by occasionally making royalties from sales via Shockwave-Sound or indeed other stock music outlets, than to receive “pennies” through a YouTube Content-ID system. But that’s up to each artist to consider, of course.

What we’re saying is that you can’t have it both ways. You can’t ask us to sell a license to a customer to use your music track, and then also want to make money through the Content-ID system, having your music flagged as “Owned by AdShare” (or other such company) and deny the customer the chance to monetize his own video.

Sorry this turned out a little long, but this whole thing isn’t a simple, straight-forward thing to explain. It’s quite a complex issue.

But if somebody “just took” our music and used it in a YouTube video, are we not entitled to any income for that?

If you find your music being used in a video, you have the right to ask (nicely) if the video uploader has a license to use that music in their video. They may claim that they don’t need a license because the video is only a personal, non-profit, non-commercial video, but in fact, whether they are making money or not is beside the point. The point is that they (1) put your music to film, and (2) are distributing your music via YouTube, and both of these items are something that you are entitled to receive something for. You created the music that is helping his video, either in a financial, OR in an artistic way. You have the right to ask the customer to buy a license or compensate you in some way. We would of course like you to send the customer to Shockwave-Sound to buy a license from us, but if you wish, you can sell him a license directly (as long as you are prepared and able to give him a proper license document, which he should rightly expect when he pays you for a license).

If the video creator refuses to buy a license to your music, you have the right to issue a “Takedown notice” to YouTube. You can do that via this form: http://www.youtube.com/yt/copyright/copyright-complaint.html. Fill in details about yourself and your song. It gets passed to YouTube’s copyright dept., and the video gets taken down, unless the customer can document that he has purchased a license.

This is what you should do if you find your music in a YouTube video and you suspect that the customer has not bought a license.

But the video uploader claims to have bought the track from iTunes…

Remember, if the customer bought the music track from iTunes, Amazon and other such places that sell a track for a dollar — or if he bought the CD in a record store — that purchase does not include the rights to distribute the music, to Sync it to video, or to perform it through any public website, public space, broadcast, or anything like that. The iTunes / CD purchase includes only the right to personally listen to the music.

I hope this helps. It’s important for me that people understand all of this, which is why I decided to spend some time explaining it properly. Feel free to link to this article if you like; here is a permanent link directly to this article.

YouTube, Copyright notices and YouTube Safe Music

YouTube, Copyright notices and YouTube Safe Music

 
Got a “copyright claim” on music licensed from us?
If you have licensed a music track from Shockwave-Sound.com and you get a “copyright notice” on your video, where the music ownership is claimed by some company (e.g. CDBaby, AdRev), first of all, rest assured that you’re not in any kind of trouble. You are not being accused of copyright infringement. You are simply being informed that our music was found in your video.

Copyright claims on YouTube are completely automated. YouTube’s automated systems do not know that you have bought a license, so that’s why you’re getting the “copyright claim”. The claim can easily be removed by using the “Dispute” feature on the YouTube copyright notice page to provide documentation that you’ve purchased a license to use the music in your video. Within 24 hours, the copyright notice on your video will be removed.

In an ideal world there would be a way to provide License information at the time when you upload your video to YouTube, but so far that is not the case. So the process is: (1) You upload the video — (2) YouTube automatically finds our music in it and generates a “copyright notice” — (3) You use the Dispute link on the YouTube page to provide documentation that you have licensed the music — (4) The copyright notice is removed from your video. It’s a little bit of a hassle, but takes less than 2 minutes, and it’s not dramatic.

If you still have trouble with this, fill in our contact form and let us know (A) the link/URL to your video, (B) details of your license order, such as order number or customer name so that we may find the order, (C) information from the copyright notice screen on YouTube which displays the track title being found in your video, the artist and the company claiming administration of the track. We will help you to look into the matter, possibly contact the artist to get them to help as well. If you are a paying customer, we will definitely get the copyright notice removed from your video(s).

 

Classical music copyright notices

With classical music recordings, the situation is messy. The thing with classical music is that the actual composition is in the public domain (it belongs to no one and everyone), but who ever actually makes their own performance and recording of a piece of classical music automatically owns the copyright to that recording. We have the rights to our version of Chopin’s Nocturne. But another company may have made their own version of the same composition, and they may have put that recording into the YouTube audio recognition system. And that fully automated system often cannot tell the difference between one version/recording and another!

If you received a “copyright claim” message when using classical music that you licensed from us, most likely some company, somewhere, has made their version of the same composition, and they own the rights to that recording. They don’t own the rights to the version that we sell, but YouTube’s automated systems cannot tell the two versions apart from each other, and the track that you licensed from us is wrongly being matched to a recording of the same classical composition made by somebody else.

It’s a real mess up there at YouTube with classical music, and in some cases, several big music publishing companies are claiming the rights to the same piece of music, even though that recording doesn’t even belong to any of them. This thread over at Google Groups illustrates some of the problems people are having with companies claiming rights to public domain and classical compositions that they don’t own the rights to.

There’s not really much we can do about this, other than to recommend you use the “Dispute” feature and, if necessary, provide the license documentation that you got from our site when you made your purchase. You may explain during the dispute submission process that this is a case of mistaken identity and that this version so-and-so composition is a recording that is licensed to you via Shockwave-Sound.com and it is not the same recording as (what ever company is claiming the rights to it). With a bit of luck, this process will lead to the claim being removed from your video.

Lifeyo has made cool content management

Lifeyo has made a cool Content Management System / Website building tool that makes it easy and fun to make your own website and blog. Putting together the YouTube video that demonstrates their service, they came to Shockwave-Sound.com for royalty-free music. We really liked the video and thought we’d post it here too.

Notice that Shockwave-Sound.com’s music is not in a Content ID program at YouTube and therefore does not cause advertising for a competing brand to appear on Lifeyo’s YouTube video.

The music track used in this video is “Spirit” composed by Dan Gautreau. We felt the music worked really well in their video and thank Lifeyo for using our music. Two thumbs up from us!

YouTube Safe Music, how to use and properly credit composer and publishers on YouTube

YouTube Safe Music, how to use and properly credit composer and publishers on YouTube

A discussion on legal use of music on YouTube, how to properly credit
composers and publishers of music used in YouTube videos, and how performance
royalties apply to YouTube, Google Video and Metacafe hosted videos.

Obtaining YouTube music from a stock music library


Many people looking for music that they can legally use in their YouTube videos, Google Videos and Metacafe video productions, will visit a library of stock music such as this one.

Through these stock music libraries, music composers and publishers sell their music tracks for a one-off simple license fee, and when purchased, their music can be safely and legally used in videos that are posted online – whether it’s on your own site, your blog, or on YouTube.

These fully legal music licenses are often sold for a low price, and typically a percentage of that direct sale price will be paid to the composer. This direct payment to the composer is usually not a whole lot, so the composer will rely on an additional payment from YouTube when his music is used in a YouTube video.

The way money makes its way from YouTube to music composers


Most composers are members of so called “performance rights societies” such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, PRS or others. The task of these societies is to oversee where, how, and how much their members’ music is being broadcast and played in public. Based on how much their music has been used in public, the performance rights society pays the composer and publisher a certain amount of “performance royalties”.

The performance rights societies in turn collect money from broadcasters of music. That includes TV stations, radio stations and most recenty also YouTube. YouTube is a “broadcaster” of video just as much as a TV station.

YouTube, in turn, collects money from their advertisers.

So, in a rather complex and convoluted way, you may say that money travels like this: Advertiser -> YouTube -> Performance rights society -> Music Composer.

I would like to stress that you, as a video producer and video uploader, do not pay any of these performance royalties. It does not cost you anything beyond the normal one-time stock music license fee, to use royalty-free music on YouTube. The money that YouTube pays to the performance rights societies originate from YouTube’s advertisers – not from video uploaders.

In an ideal world, this is how it’s supposed to work. The challenge however – and this is where the system is not yet good enough – is that YouTube have no idea exactly what music is playing in each of their millions of videos. They have no idea who wrote and who published how many minutes and seconds of music used in how many YouTube videos. There simply is no record of this.

Reality check


In the real world though, what happens most of the time is that YouTube just sends money to the performance rights organizations without any detailed lists of who this money is meant for. They simply don’t know who composed the music in all their videos, and how this money should be divided amongst composers and publishers.

The performance rights society, in turn, receives a sum of money from YouTube and, frankly, they really don’t know who to give this money to. So what they do is to “guess” the best they can, how much music, by which composer and publisher, has been used “most” in YouTube videos. They literally then divide up this money, on a percentage scale, among the composers who are already making the most royalties from traditional TV and radio broadcasts. They simply assume that the percentages will be likewise — i.e. if Britney Spears has so-and-so much music played on the radio, then she probably also has a similar amount of music played at YouTube.

This is how YouTube’s music royalties are divided as per today. Sadly, if you’re a composer and you’ve had your music used in a YouTube video, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever see any performance royalties for that, unless you also happen to be on high rotation on MTV and the radio stations.

Going forward…


I have reason to believe, though, that YouTube and the performance rights organizations are trying to find a way to distribute the money better and more accurately.

Frankly, nobody will ever have the time to sit and listen through every YouTube video and find out who composed the music that’s playing in that video. But what they can do is start asking video uploaders to put proper music credits in the video information when they upload it to YouTube. There is a text field where video uploaders can enter “more text” about their video, and this is a good place to include good and proper music credits.

This is why we at Shockwave-Sound.com now, if our music is used in a YouTube video, requires that our music be properly credited in the “more text” field. Here’s an example of somebody who has done it correctly:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-GkH8tFJvo

Notice these lines appearing in the “more info” text area about the video:

Track title: Away From Her
Composer: Alexander Khaskin (SOCAN – CAE#: 231945867)
Publisher: Lynne Publishing (PRS – CAE#: 541626758)

Track title: My Life
Composer: Alexander Khaskin (SOCAN – CAE#: 231945867)
Publisher: Lynne Publishing (PRS – CAE#: 541626758)

Being ready for future improvements


To be honest, even if music credits are included here, it does not mean that the composer and publisher will automatically get their fair and correct performance royalties. I believe that, as of today, nobody is checking these text areas for music credits and applying a share of the performance royalties to the correct composer.

But we have to start somewhere. We at Shockwave-Sound.com strongly believe that this is a step in the right direction and that eventually, YouTube and the performance rights organizations are going to find a way to “spider” the text areas for music credits and, with time, get better and better, more and more accurate distribution of the performance royalties that should rightfully be with the actual composers who made the music in the videos – rather than already high-earning pop artists who get all the YouTube money because they happen to have their music played on radio and MTV a lot.

When we ask you to credit our music as accurately and completely as possible when you upload a video that contains our music – it’s really about future proofing. Soon, there will definitely be a system in place to find these music credits and then properly distribute the performance royalties. And when that happens, we would like to be ready for it, with all of our composers’ music already properly credited.

So – thanks for reading and thanks for always including music composer and publisher info, whenever you use our music in a YouTube video.