mon 20/05/2024

Double standards for music blogs? | reviews, news & interviews

Double standards for music blogs?

Double standards for music blogs?

It has been reported today that Google - via its Blogger and Blogspot services - has been closing down popular music blogs and wiping their archives without warning, citing copyright violation by those blogs who post downloadable mp3s of the tracks they review. While hosting copyright material may not by the letter of the law be legal, it seems that this heavy handed approach completely ignores the subtlety of the "grey economy" that exists between bloggers and a music industry which knows full well what a valuable promotional tool they can be - and it appears to be yet another example of how far we are from a coherent approach by copyright holders and internet service providers to dealing with distribution of music and protection of copyright online.
It has been reported today that Google - via its Blogger and Blogspot services - has been closing down popular music blogs and wiping their archives without warning, citing copyright violation by those blogs who post downloadable mp3s of the tracks they review. While hosting copyright material may not by the letter of the law be legal, it seems that this heavy handed approach completely ignores the subtlety of the "grey economy" that exists between bloggers and a music industry which knows full well what a valuable promotional tool they can be - and it appears to be yet another example of how far we are from a coherent approach by copyright holders and internet service providers to dealing with distribution of music and protection of copyright online.

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To be honest, I really thought we were beyond this kind of 'shenanigans'. Historically, though, it was the labels forcing the shut downs - from the info provided so far, it seems that this time it is simply Google doing a mass-flex of their t&c muscles. It's a bad look for Google though, specially when you consider how recent mass Twitter outrages have given power back to the people. I hope the blogs which have been taken down are reinstated very soon. On a side note, I'm not sure why very successful blogs are still hosting directly on Blogger, perhaps this is a good excuse for them to move on to their own hosting now? Just a thought. Thanks for putting up the video interview, too. Gav - Jus Like Music

When I started up Best Foot Forward in 2005 (wow, didn't realise it was 5 years ago until now) MP3 blogging was such a grey area - labels didn't know how to react, and artists were on one hand flattered, and another felt cheated, that you were praising their music whilst simultaneously offering it for free download. The "MP3 bloggers code" (which I never saw written, but always abided by), was post a track or two from a new LP, tell readers how great you thought it was, then provide a link to download an album. But as time progressed, and digital downloads became more "single-based" and monetizable (going hand-in-hand with the increase of using digital music in clubs), the labels quickly wised-up. I remember receiving a rather stern email from Jagjaguwar, being on holiday at the time so unable to reply, and when I replied 3 days later it was too late, they had gotten the hosting company to shut us down ... But the comment on protecting this "fragile cultural ecology before it can become fully-formed" is a bit off - the field of small shrubs has become overrun by weeds, with bloggers who no longer care about discussion, and a "moral code", who just post full LPs on Mediafire with no ethical thoughts on how much to share, and how to encourage purchase. (Bolchas et al, I'm looking at you) In this light, I'm not surprised Google is starting to take this standpoint. There are always those that do things in excess, that ruin it for the rest of us.

Kev makes a good point about 'weeds'. Back in 2006 I noticed a big drop off in meaningful content and a boost in posts simply containing a few words and a bootleg mp3. It became a competition of cool between a lot of blogs. Who could get the new unheard remix of whatever online before someone else. Using services like Hype Machine to garner traffic and gain 'kudos'. Of course, those blogs actually posting up full albums, well, that's a pretty low thing to do, so naturally I'm all for them being shut down. But, those who wax lyrical about an artist and a release, and simply post a single 'taster' mp3, they're worth their weight in gold.

Thankyou for the comments there - I should have been more specific: by 'ecosystem' I meant very specifically the interface between the blogging world and the music industry: blogs like Juslikemusic and I Rock Cleveland which have built up informal working relationships with labels, PRs and artists - not the music blog world as a whole. I will return to this topic anon on Theartsdesk, without doubt.

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