Within 2021 YouTube has seen fit to issue cease and desist notices to two of the biggest music bots on Discord, Rhythm and Groovy. This marks a considerable change to not only how these Discord bots are operated, but all Discord bots going forward. In the below, we will discuss why the cease-and-desist notices have been issued and what a potential way forward may be for these bots on Discord.
What Is A Discord Bot?
Discord in itself is a communication platform that harbours communities, businesses and even private servers between friends. If you need to communicate with someone or multiple people while on your PC or phone, Discord is a great application for you.
Moving forwards to bots of Discord, a Discord bot is a small program that you can add into your server as though it was a person to perform a specific function. In this case, the bots in question were the two biggest music bots available for Discord. It’s important to note that these bots are not made by Discord, anybody can make a bot and distribute it, provided Discord deems your bot safe to use.
How The Bots Work
In this case, we will be discussing the music bots in question. Rhythm and Groovy work by being given a song link or playlist by the user, coming into a voice channel as a participant and playing said music. While there are many other functions of these bots, the playing of music is the big one in discussion. The bots would source this music from a third party like YouTube, Spotify or SoundCloud to play to you and your friends. Those of you with a grasp on YouTube’s business model will likely already see the problem here.
How YouTube Makes Money
YouTube is in essence a marketing company, displaying adverts to create revenue. While there are things like YouTube premium and revenue from the support in the new YouTube gaming sphere, adverts shown to viewers is YouTube biggest revenue steam.
The music bots playing music from YouTube into your channel have one major difference from just playing your music on YouTube yourself, a lack of adverts. Some people have claimed that the move to stop Groovy and Rhythm from using the YouTube service was out of some nature of corporate greed, however, YouTube has good ground to stand on here. Not only does separating the audio from video for reproduction go against the YouTube terms of service, but the bots operating are using bandwidth, server capacity and man power from YouTube, costing them money while making no money from it because of the lack of advertisements. It is important to understand that YouTube needs revenue to continue functioning as a business, if they were to try to offset these costs to other places, our normal YouTube experience would include even more adverts.
Potential Way Forward
As from just before the cease and desist was issues, Rhythm was present in over 20 million servers and used by more than 30 million users on a frequent basis. One would have hoped YouTube would have seen a potential revenue from this as it could have been as lucrative as jackpots from the online pokies NZ offers. They could have tried to partner with Discord or the bots to instill advertising or a subscription model, but this was not the case.
That does not mean that this option does not stand as available for other music supply services like Google Music or Spotify. At the moment, it’s a waiting game to see what happens. All the music bots could disappear overnight, or there could be a lucrative deal struck for whatever services decide to partner with Discord. We can only hope for the best, as the ability to play music on Discord with your friends was one that everybody enjoyed.