November 3, 2008

MP3 Blogs: Setbacks and Solutions

This week, I came across some very interesting posts in my journey through the blogosphere regarding mp3 blogs and their recent struggles with the RIAA. “Are MP3 Blogs Under Attack?” an article on the music technology blog Hypebot, begins a discourse on the RIAA's secret takedown of blog posts that release free mp3's that, according to them, the bloggers do not have rights to distribute. Many bloggers feel that they have been violated, as many were not notified when their posts were removed. So when I found the post “Now You Can Add Free Legal Music to Your Blogs” the word legal caught my eye. This post on about a new widget from we7, an ad-supported music service that allows bloggers to legally post content from the we7 site directly into their blog, simply describes that the widget is a great, legal way for bloggers to post audio content. I commented on the Hypebot post hoping to spark some discussion about using widgets to keep content in the right places, and also on the post. While the we7 widget could be of use to mp3 bloggers, it is still a few steps away from a definitive blog release widget that artists and record labels control the parameters of in order to even out some kinks in mp3 blogging regarding free downloads, and who has the rights to post mp3's. However, it is a step in the right direction. My comments are posted below for reading convenience, but also appear on each articles comment thread.

"Are MP3 Blogs Under Attack?"

Thank you for this insightful yet open-ended post about the RIAA’s impact on mp3 blogging. As a student blogger new to the blogosphere, but well versed on the importance of blogs to online music marketing strategies, I am just becoming familiar with the process of releasing material to blogs for promotional means. There is no denying that a traditional mp3 blog post is a great way for band’s to gain exposure on the web. However, I believe that the way in which material is presented to blogs should be honed by the artists and labels that control the content so that artists who release their material in the hopes of getting publicity know what content is being released and how those releases are being presented. If artist’s and record labels were specific about the way they want their songs presented on blogs, defining which songs off their album, or how many they want included in the post, there would be far less confusion in terms of what ends up in an mp3 post and whether or not a post is valid by the RIAA’s standards. Ideally, the integration of widgets or other applications in blog press releases, developed and preset by artist’s and labels, would both ensure that bloggers have the artist’s permission to make a post and release a few songs. Widgets would allow the parameters of the release, like how many songs are released for free download, to be controlled by the artist and would also limit the amount of content released in an mp3 post. Then the mp3 blog post would be of maximum benefit to both the artist and blogger, keeping the phenomenon of free album release against the artist’s will to a minimum. If there was a simple and attractive almost cut and paste application that artist’s and labels could drop a few mp3’s into and include with their press releases, it would even make the job easier on bloggers. Thinking ahead to what a widget like this could potentially do, if a digital download feature or link was included with a stream, mp3 blogs could become the music stores of the future. While I have been thinking about this idea for quite sometime, a post was recently made on about such a widget.

"Now You Can Add Free Legal Music to Your Blogs"

Thank you for the heads up on this cool phenomenon. While perusing the blogosphere I also came across a post on entitled "Are MP3 Blogs Under Attack?" which sheds some light on the recent RIAA actions against bloggers who are posting content that does not belong to them. My comment on that post is available here. Seeing this post made me think: Are widgets the answer to the sometimes-harsh legal actions that bloggers face when posting content? While I don’t think this specific widget is the one that will solve this problem, it is most certainly a step in the right direction. If there was a definitive widget specifically for mp3 posts, it could solve a number of legal issues while at the same time open promotional and even monetary doors for artists and record labels. I imagine such a widget to include not only streams, but also even a digital download capability and some artwork as well. If the widget had a simple cut and paste app design that bloggers could just drop into their post, it would be great for press releases, and artists would be able to use mp3 blogs to their full marketing advantage without fears of having their album leaked for free. They would have the ability to control and post whatever content they want. While the we7 widget seems great for casual bloggers who just want to post about mainstream artist’s, those who do multiple blog posts on mostly independent artists may not have much use for the widget if the content they wish to post is not a part of we7. I was wondering: Do you know of any other widgets such as this one that maybe cater more toward the indie mp3 blogger? What are your thoughts on the RIAA’s actions against mp3 bloggers? Thank you for your post.


Caitlin Grieve said...

Thanks Chris, for the very informative post about MP3s and the blogosphere! I was not at all aware of this ongoing debate until I read your blog, and it has given me some things to think about. I particularly like your idea to create a widget that would allow sample songs to be released to bloggers in a press release blog. With the music industry becoming more and more centered on distribution through the internet, it makes sense to find a way to allow bloggers to take part in the discussion and distribution. Your proposed widget would allow blogs to become even more interactive by allowing readers not just to read a review, but to hear the music as well, which in turn could generate more discussion as people comment about the song that they have been able to listen to.

You mention in your second post that you do not think that we7 is the perfect answer to solving the conundrum of how to allow bloggers the ability to host MP3s. What about it is lacking or could be improved on to make it a more fulfilling experience? It seems to be similar to your wishes, in that it allows legal streaming of music on a blog, and also contains a button that allows listeners to buy the song. On another note, I’ve discovered in my travels on the internet that content is sometimes restricted to browsers from a certain country, as a label does not have the right to export the music elsewhere. Do you think this is something that could be changed in the foreseeable future as the online community continues to become more global? Or are the demands of contracts forever doomed to restrict media to one country?

Thanks again for some great analysis on the music industry as it relates to the internet. You raise several great points to be considered, and I look forward to reading your next post!

cris said...

Thank you for your very well thought out post and comments. I came to your page based on your comment on this issue in hypebot and I must agree with you that there has to be a better way for bloggers. I am now an active reader of your page. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

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