Saturday, November 06, 2010

Sony Music Hates Youth Ministry Video Montages

I grew up in a time of overhead projectors and picture slideshows.  When I was in grade school my idea of "multi-media" was listening to a warbley tape recorder narrate as the faded colors of a slideshow dimly lit up our projector screen.  Our math teacher would write in green dry-erase marker on an overhead slide.  This was the pinnacle of modern technology!  Except that it wasn't.

I grew up in the 80's and 90's but because I attended a public school, often we had a generation old set of technology at our disposal.  It's funny how churches have the same problem of being behind the curve of all things modern.  We still used an overhead projector in high school at my church and sometimes if we were lucky, we could watch a vhs tape on our color projector.  But times have changed, and (most) youth ministries are almost in perfect sync with the newest technologies.  Now we have PowerPoint, Media Shout, lyrics on the screen, videos on the screen, fog machines, laser lights, entire decks of starships fitted with holographic projectors that use intricate force fields to look and feel real (ok, maybe not that last one).  This brings me to a youth ministry staple.  The montage video.

Sure the montage video is nothing new, in fact it began with old slideshow machines synchronized with a tape recorder and mix-tapes.  But now we have computers that can edit our videos and share them with the world on YouTube.  Which brings me to my point for today.

Sony Music hates youth ministry video montages.

Why does a gy-normous record label even care about our lame spliced-together-the-night-before-because-I-was-watching-a-Firefly-marathon-all-day-Saturday videos?  It's all about the music.  You see at no point in the church media revolution of the 2000's did anyone ever teach youth ministry film makers how to capture any audio worth replacing in a montage (unless Jr. High retreat fake-fart noises count).  So to mask our bad audio (and video) capture skills, we throw in some incredibly awesome Christian band (or secular band that sounds Christian, or U2) to make up for it.

If you're showing your wonderful piece of film to a private church group, there's really no problem.  But post the video to YouTube and Sony tracks you down like a hungry teenager after bacon at a breakfast buffet.  You see, the songs or parts of songs that make your video awesome?  Sony owns them.  And for some reason that I can only attribute to being bullied in the 3rd grade, their lawyers are ready to pounce on any unauthorized use of their content.

It's not like we're encouraging our youth to go and steal some music off the internet.  If anything, they might LIKE the music and go buy it.  At any rate, be warned that Sony (and other music labels) roam around like a roaring lion waiting to devour our hard 8 hours worth of work.

Sometimes it takes months (years) for YouTube to identify your montage videos as copyright infringing goods, so there's no immediate reason not to put them there.  You could try and stick it to the man and not use music from the offending record labels (and their subsidiaries), or you could just deal with it and perhaps use Vimeo or Facebook to post the videos instead.