Sixx AM step up 'Don't Be Evil' campaign against YouTube

Sixx AM's James Michael sporting a 'Don't Be Evil' t-shirt onstage at Download
Sixx AM's James Michael sporting a 'Don't Be Evil' t-shirt onstage at Download

Sixx AM have accused YouTube of dodging the issue over fair payments for musicians.

In May, Nikki Sixx, James Michael and DJ Ashba called on the Google-owned video streaming giants to pay a fair rate to artists, adding that YouTube only pays about one sixth of what rivals Spotify and Apple do, while Google-owned YouTube’s founders are worth a combined $75 billion.

They launched the campaign with the slogan, ‘Don’t be evil,’ – a catchphrase used by Google in the past.

But now Sixx AM say that a lack of action from YouTube has forced them to step up the campaign.

The band met fans at the TeamRock Zone tent at Download after their set on the Lemmy Stage on Saturday, giving away t-shirts sporting the slogan ‘Don’t be evil, do the right thing.’

In a new open letter addressed to Google’s Larry Page, Sixx AM say: “Recently, as a result of action and statements made by artists as diverse as Sixx AM, Debbie Harry, Nelly Furtado, Jay Z, Garth Brooks, Katy Perry, Stephen Tyler and Billy Joel, YouTube’s CBO Robert Kyncl met with independent artist representatives and asked them to help pause this protest in return for action.

“No action has been taken, meetings have been postponed, emails remain unanswered. The lack of action has hit a sour note with musicians, so we will be renewing our protests and taking the issue into our own hands.

“So we are now appealing to you Mr Page, as a saxophone player who ironically credits his love of music as the inspiration behind the success of the world’s most valuable company, to step up.”

The letter continues: “As the man who coined the slogans, ‘Don’t be evil’ and ‘Do the right thing,’ we want you take your own advice before irreparable damage is done to the future of artists around the world. Artists from every genre are finding it impossible to pursue their art in a world dominated by YouTube.

“Without changes, young musicians will no longer be able to make music for a living and the next generation of fans will be robbed of great artists. Dreams of breaking into the music industry will effectively be unattainable.”

The letter continues: “Mr Page, in Fortune magazine you stated that you felt that your ‘music training lead to the high speed legacy of Google’.

“Plenty of musicians are hoping for a high speed resolution to this dispute and to this unfair system. Please act before it is too late.”

TeamRock is at Download all weekend. Visit to keep up with all the news, reviews and interviews from the festival as they happen.

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Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.