We need our music videos!

For all of you expecting a slow week at work, and looking forward to killing some time by watching your favorite music videos on YouTube, we have some bad news for you. Warner Music Group ordered YouTube on Saturday to remove all music videos by its artists. So, in other words, you’re not going to find the Red Hot Chili Peppers or T.I. on YouTube today — or at least you shouldn’t.

Essentially, the disagreement boils down to Warner seeking a bigger share of the huge revenue potential of YouTube’s massive visitor traffic. “We simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artists, songwriters, labels and publishers for the value they provide,” Warner said in a statement.

But all is not lost, according to the Wall Street Journal, which writes: “In the wake of Warner’s move, people close to the other major labels said they didn’t anticipate taking down their content in the immediate future. These people say they are discussing new, more lucrative ways to do business with YouTube. The four music companies don’t necessarily have the same terms with YouTube, which could explain the discrepancy in their stances.”

Besides, you can still watch many Warner Music videos on MySpace Music.

But this goes well beyond how we’re going to spend the next few days at the office. It’s part of the broad, ongoing battle between content providers and content distributers. That’s why, even if you don’t care about My Chemical Romance or any other Warner bands, you should be watching how this plays out.

Keep an eye on:

    Jim Carrey’s new comedy “Yes Man” got the nod from moviegoers across North America, but brutal weather in key markets combined with holiday shopping distractions to hit overall ticket sales (Reuters) General Motors Corp. may finally be getting its loan from the Federal government, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to resume its former marketing-spending levels (AdAge)   Arthur Spiegelman, one of Reuters’ finest writers and longest-serving correspondents, died at home in Los Angeles on Saturday. He was 68 (Reuters)

(Reuters photo: Vocalist Gerard Way of the rock band My Chemical Romance )

SanFran gives five-year plan in 6-hour YouTube videos

At least San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has the good grace to look a little bit sheepish when he offers San Franciscans the opportunity to watch him talk city politics for SIX HOURS on YouTube video.

The mayor of the liberal, tech-friendly California city has broken the ‘state of the city’ speech into a handful of roughly 40-minute YouTube video segments which offers “the opportunity for you to spend one minute with me, one hour — as much as five or six hours if you choose,” he says in the intro.

Known for his support of gay marriage, Newsom delves into nearly every other issue, including a five-year plan.

Google enters Skype territory

Google’s at it again.

The Web search leader edged into Skype’s territory at on Tuesday with a feature that allows multitasking Gmail users to video chat, IM and email all at the same time.

Gmail and Google App subscribers can now gossip with friends or coworkers on a high-quality video screen and simultaneously instant message them in a Google Chat box.  The video screen can be popped out of the chat box and moved around a user’s computer screen.

Check out this YouTube video with Google engineer Serge Lachapelle to see how it works. A team of Googlers in Seattle, Sweden and Silicon Valley collaborated on the new app, which is available for both PC and Mac users.

Sell NBC Universal? You gotta be kidding!

NBC is once again stuck in last place in prime-time ratings; its much-hyped Olympic coverage is over, so are the elections; advertising across media is under pressure; and dishing out $67 to hang at the Universal Studios theme park probably isn’t as appealing when you could soon lose your job, house, car, etc.

Still, NBC Universal would seem more secure within parent General Electric than it has been for some time. Indeed, most of the talk about a possible sale has faded away. Here’s what analysts told us for a recent article.

“I’ve struggled with it forever, in terms of why GE has it, especially now in a situation like this where ad revenues are down,” says Mike Gandrud, senior analyst at Optique Capital Management. 
“I’d love to see them do something with it … Do I expect it to happen? No.”

YouTube gets into online shopping

thriller-video.jpgYouTube, which has nailed the science of online video sharing, is now getting into online shopping by partnering with the likes of and iTunes.

The shop links will be just below the YouTube clips and will eventually sell a wide variety of items and merchandise related to the millions of clips on the site including: MP3s, TV shows, movies, concert tickets, books, maybe, even buy the designer sunglasses your favorite star is wearing in a clip. 

So soon you’ll be able to buy the Michael Jackson song playing in the background while watching the hilarious clip of Filipino prisoners doing their reenactment of the ’Thriller’ video. 

Getting ready for Google Explorer aka Chrome

googlechromepic.jpgGoogle is getting into the browser business with the launch of Google Chrome, a browser designed for today’s Internet user with better capabilities for video and other complex Web programs.

The comic strip on the left walks news users through the Open Source browser project and can be found here.

Many commentators see this as a challenge to Microsoft which launched Internet Explorer 8 last week. IE is on 70 percent of most U.S. personal computers but is vulnerable to new challengers. Not to long ago it had close to 90 percent of the market but in recent years Mozilla’s Firefox browser and Apple’s Safari have eaten into that share.

And now for an afternoon snack….

prisoner.jpgThere’s a little something for everybody in the media industry in Frank N. Magid Associates’ annual study of user/viewer/reader behavior. We got a look at some of the findings and took especial note of stats on online video usage, research sponsored by video sharing site Metacafe.

Boiled down, YouTube is still king of online video watching, according to nearly 2,000 web users aged 12 to 64 surveyed by Magid Associates. But as online video becomes a part of our daily routine, corroding wholesome activities like watching TV and going to the movies, there should be plenty more room for sites like rival Metacafe or slick Hulu.

Here’s some of the data on the overarching trends. Magid managing director Mike Vorhaus attributes them to a growing appetite for “snack-sized content.” Now try to make some money off it:

Google, Viacom privacy accord leaves unanswered questions

masks.jpgGoogle and Viacom reached a late night accord on safeguarding the anonymity of Google YouTube viewers. Google will no longer have to hand over the user names and IP addresses of its viewers.

But what of the scuffle around the viewership data of Google and YouTube’s own employees? CNET’s Greg Sandoval reported last week the negotiations stalled on Google’s unwillingness to turn over information on its own employees, citing unnamed sources.

In other words, how would Viacom’s $1 billion copyright infringement suit against Google turn out if the data showed YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley viewing and uploading “Colbert Report” videos?

Another day, another pulled advertisement

stone.jpgIt has been a tricky week for celebrity endorsers.

First, Dunkin’ Donuts pulled an online ad featuring Rachael Ray when a blogger created a firestorm over a scarf worn by the celebrity chef, calling it ”hate couture.” The advertisement, with Ray wearing a black and white scarf, ran for a couple of weeks before Dunkin’ Donuts removed it last weekend. Critics said the scarf looked like a keffiyeh, a traditional Arab headdress.

Here’s the response from Ahmed Rehab, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations:”It’s sad that Dunkin’ Donuts pandered to that kind of fear-mongering. They have businesses in the Middle East, in the Arab world. It’s interesting to see how that will affect business there.”

Sharon Stone, the actress, also found herself under criticism this week but for some comments she made in a TV interview rather than anything she was or wasn’t wearing. At Cannes, she said that the earthquake in China may have been “bad karma” related to Beijing’s policies in Tibet.

Ken Lee: Bulgarian Idol

I’m huge in Bulgaria!

Well, not quite. A friend of mine who shares a similar, if not identical, name (Ken Lee) sent me a link to a YouTube video a few weeks ago, attesting to the budding international stardom of Ken Lees the world over.

Valentina Hasan auditioned for the Bulgarian version of “American Idol” in March. She chose to sing a rendition of Mariah Carey’s “Without You,” but let’s just say her English is a bit rough. She insisted to the judges that the song was called “Ken Lee” — a mishearing of the song’s chorus.

Hasan didn’t make the cut on Bulgaria’s “Music Idol,” but like her American Idol predecessor William Hung, her enthusiastic performance has made her a pop-culture sensation . Like Hung, she was asked back on the show to sing another rendition of her signature tune.