NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There's no question -- it's horribly unethical and disgustingly opportunistic for Google (GOOG) to treat independent musicians the way it is. To tell them you're gone from YouTube if you don't agree to the terms we shove down your throat for our forthcoming subscription streaming radio service. Though I should note, my friend, Ari Herstand at Digital Music News, says that's not going to happen. Either way, I'm less concerned with the YouTube aspect of the story and more concerned with the, as Ari calls it, "unbalanced" deal Google wants labels to accept to be included on the streaming service.
It's not the first time this type of thing has happened and, if the music industry doesn't somehow get its failed act together, it won't be the last.
Take it or leave it deals for the indies. Amazon.com (AMZN) floated one prior to the launch of its Prime streaming music service. Apple (AAPL) did the same with iTunes Radio. I spewed discontent with regards to that last summer in Apple Should Be Ashamed of Itself.
That said -- for as bad as I feel for individual performers and songwriters (especially the songwriters), I cannot muster the same level of compassion for record labels, major or independent. Many love to lament the deals Google, Amazon and Apple offer or deride Pandora (P) for not paying enough to license music, but few are willing to look in the mirror. The music industrial complex rendered itself impotent thanks to years of inaction. If you don't use it, you lose it. Put that on the nameplates of label executives who can't see it hiding underneath their fat and happy stomachs.