While many musicians who do covers of popular songs and post them on YouTube earned partially through AdSense, the case is not the same on Twitter. In fact, those who post video covers on Twitter might get banned and their account suspended as what happened to musician Scott Bradlee.
When Bradlee, a popular YouTube musician who has more than 3.9 million subscribers on YouTube posted a short video of the chorus of Elton John’s song, “Crocodile Rock” Twitter suspended his account temporarily. According to him, the video was a harmless short video of him playing with a piano app on his iPhone.
For Twitter though, it was a clear violation of copyright. Apparently, Twitter received a takedown notice from Universal Music Group publishing which owns Elton John’s record label. Even worst is the fact that Twitter suspended Bradlee’s account due to multiple notifications of copyright infringement. This is despite the fact that Bradlee posted only one video.
According to Bradlee, UMG reported copyright infringement because Twitter allegedly refused to make a deal with them and claimed that the platform has no responsibility for anything posted on Twitter. Hence, according to Bradlee, Twitter had put him “in jail.”
Double your web browsing speed with today's sponsor. Get Brave.
Bradlee’s claim was supported by an anonymous source who is a music publishing executive who told Variety that indeed, Twitter is not making a deal with any music publisher. Twitter does not have a license to stream music and lives it to members to get the licenses whenever they want to post music streaming on the platform.
A similar incident happens to Casey Abrams, another popular YouTube musician and former American Idol contestant. Abrams also got his Twitter account suspended when he posted a video of himself doing a cover of Elton John’s song “Rocketman.”
Whether this move is Twitter’s thorough way of policing members on the platform remains to be seen as there are no other cases reported concerning members who post video covers of other artists. It could be incidental as Elton John’s biopic entitled, “Rocketman” is scheduled to be released on May 30, as pointed out by Variety.
In the meantime, Bradlee is challenging Universal and asked the company to retract its allegation that he committed copyright infringement. After several days, Twitter unban his account while Abrams who opted not to make any actions about the issue has his Twitter account still suspended.