MP3 Blogs: “Killing Music With Love”


So sayeth The Guardian, in an editorial where writer Louis Pattison seems to be rather confused about the realities of how MP3 blogs actually work these days. But apparently, “there’s collateral damage” if you download free music, and “if you’re a fan of independent music, it could be everything you hold dear”!

Of course, the genie’s long-since fled his bottle when it comes to free music on the internet. But watching independent labels feel the squeeze, I’m coming to think that MP3 blogs are a more insidious – and ultimately, maybe more damaging – threat to smaller and medium sized labels than the likes of the copyright lawyer’s most trumpeted bad guy, bittorrents. With torrents, you have to hunt for your files, the download can be pretty time consuming, and ultimately, you’re under no illusions that what you’re doing is of questionable legality – hey, the largest bittorrent tracker in the world isn’t called The Pirate Bay for nothing. Blogs, by comparison, are quite a comfy affair: a bit of purple prose, a nice picture rustled up on Google Images – hey, you could probably read that ‘Please support the artists’ disclaimer at the side, pass the link onto a friend and fool yourself into thinking you’re spreading the good word. You’re not, of course. You’re just cementing the idea in your own mind that it’s acceptable to take music for nothing.

Sooooo…BitTorrent sites are no biggie because they involve a little more effort, which surely discouraged those 180,000 OiNK users? And it’s cool because those kids know that what they’re doing is a legal/ethical no-no? But some guy posting “‘Flick of the Wrist’ off Queen’s 1974 album Sheer Heart Attack” is eroding what’s left of “small and medium-sized independent labels”? Huh? To say nothing of the fact that most of the high-profile MP3 blogs are only too happy to be in bed with the biznow highly wary about posting anything that hasn’t been cleared with a publicist. Or that a quick trawl of the Hype Machine will show that most MP3 blog links go dead after a month, maybe two. See, and for years we thought the single-serve MP3 blog model was one of the better/more benign arguments in favor of the “try before you buy” philosophy constantly touted by digital partisans.

If You Love Music, Stop Taking It For Free [Guardian]