Last night I was looking through some of my favourite You Tube videos and stumbled across something of which I was completely unaware. You Tube is muting sound from a lot of user’s videos.

I am a huge Lord of the Rings buff and avidly seek related content on You Tube. One of my all-time favourite videos is called Namarie, a recitation of Galadriel’s lament. This is a poem taken from the Fellowship of the Ring book, recited in spoken Quenyan, an Elvish language created by J.R.R Tolkien. The original audio consisted of a reading by the person who posted the video, over a background sample of the Lothlorien track from the Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack.

This was one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces I have ever seen on You Tube and I have watched it often. I say “was”, because as I found out last night, You Tube has completely ruined it by removing the audio.

According to the person who created and uploaded this, she wasn’t notified of this change and has no way of retrieving this even for her own personal collection.

I did some research to find out what this was all about and it didn’t take long. There were over a million results for a “WMG and You Tube” search, including quite a few of them with some pretty explicit commentary from angry users who have had their own videos or a lot of their favourites ruined.

This started back in December of last year with this official post from You Tube, which seems a little vague on what was to follow. In that post they mention the options available upon receipt of a takedown notification. However, many of the complaints I viewed were from people upset at the fact that they weren’t notified before or after this was done.

Perhaps they aren’t getting takedown notifications because, rather than actually taking the content down, You Tube is just chopping out the audio.

Upon looking into this further, I came upon a more detailed reason for all this…money. Warner Music Group wants more money from You Tube for users viewing videos that contain any portion of music copyrighted under any of their many labels.

One would think they’d like having the free advertising. Do they really think having their music removed from You Tube is going to generate more sales?

I find it difficult to believe that I can’t hear this video anymore because it contains a small part of the movie soundtrack, and yet I can watch the Lord of the Rings movies in their entirety on You Tube for free.

Ironically, it was this video that encouraged me to go out and buy a copy of the movie soundtrack, which is in fact owned by Reprise Records, a Warner owned label.

I checked out a lot of videos of many artists under WMG labels on You Tube and there are large numbers still unaffected by this. I suppose it’s a lengthy process to effectively neuter so much content.

In the long run, I think this will hurt both You Tube and WMG. You Tube for the poor treatment to their users and the end result of having a ton of useless content when this is all done. And now, rather than receiving “too little” WMG will now receive zero revenue from this media.

Personally, I tend to agree with the headline of this post. This whole thing is ludicrous and it’s too bad for WMG if the advent of technology is making them obsolete. Perhaps they should just accept the inevitable and fade away.

“Two thumbs down” to both Google-owned You Tube and the Warner Music Group on this one.