As we move deeper into how the recording industry can (and will) monetize streaming audio, we're hearing interesting stories. Last year, a shift in Billboard's line of thinking caused Baauer's "Harlem Shake" to go from a viral hit to #1 on the charts due to a meme that had little to do with the actual song. Today, TMZ is reporting that a popular YouTuber, makeup tipster Michelle Phan, is being sued by Ultra Music for using tracks from Kaskade, Calvin Harris, deadmau5, and other popular EDM artists.
Ultra says that the videos in question have accumulated 150 million views in total. While we can't say that if Phan used unreleased music instead of the popular videos if she'd have the same number of views, it really doesn't matter in the court of law, especially when it comes to whatever monies Phan might have made off of these videos. Billboard reports that Phan "was made aware she'd need to obtain a license in order to continue implementing the songs into her videos," but that apparently didn't happen. Ultra will more than likely look at these the same way they (may) look at these YouTube accounts that seem to upload music for streaming on their own accounts.
Unless Phan is getting permission, it is illegal. How much money Ultra will be asking for (and how much Phan will have to come up off of) is yet to be seen. And while it doesn't look like she's officially spoken on this matter (yet), Phan did leave the following tweet:
If you remember, the recent batch of SoundCloud violations to hit Kaskade's account were over his songs on Ultra; he also opened up about label issues back in March. He had the following to say about his material being cited in Ultra's lawsuit against Phan:
Here's one video that features material from Kaskade. It's been up for four years and has amassed over 48 million views:
She did credit the use of Kaskade's "4AM" in this video (with an iTunes link), but it doesn't look like that'll be enough for Ultra: