10/24/08

A Few (hundred) Words.

The music community on blogger is a vibrant, beautiful, dynamic creature that rose from the ingenuity of a few souls with a fresh idea and eventually multiplied into hundreds of networks connecting millions of fans across the planet. These blogs offer a great medium of communication between fans, where they can share bands and even educate others on different and new subgenres of music. However, if you were to tell me that the blog community we have now is to last past next February, I wouldn’t believe you. Thousands of these sites exist on blogger; ranging from overt-pirate sites, who post disclaimers solely to cover their legal trail, or sites who offer one or two songs and a short bio of the band in question. Both of these sites are at risk of prosecution by the RIAA.

Take a look at the whole P2P scandal from the past few years that’s remarkably still on-going. P2P enables users to download individual files from other people, through a network that connects users directly. Not only can someone copy a file from someone else, but they can speed up that process by copying that single file from multiple users at a time. Back in 2000, mainstream artists, such as Metallica (of course), caught on and attempted multiple lawsuits on individuals for downloading single songs. This led to the death of one of the first popular P2P apps, Napster, which was quickly replaced by other apps, such as Kazaa, Morpheus, and Bearshare. What separates us from these P2P networks is the magnitude of music being “shared”. Rather than us putting up popular songs or A-Sides off of albums, we’re upping entire albums—discographies even. The RIAA were certainly capable of shutting down the larger torrent sites that offered a similar service—they even shut down the supremely productive sites like OiNK, which, through its ratio requirements, inherently motivated its members to upload hard to find and obscure music. They don’t care whether the music you’re uploading is out of print or impossible to buy, if they have a sliver of a case, they will act on it. They’ve even gone as far as suing a dead man’s relatives to collect on file-sharing violations.

If the RIAA is wiling to do something as ruthless as suing a grieving family because of the copyrighted files their deceased family member downloaded, they’re surely poised to shut our community down. When they do…I can only hope they hold the people who run the individual blogs are held accountable rather than Blogger--who have been incredibly hospitable in allowing us to do what we do. Chances are, though, that since the RIAA targeted the creators of the P2P apps, which weren’t specifically designed for the sharing of copyrighted material, they’ll surely attack the Blogger team first (who thankfully are backed by Google’s muscle.)

One thing I’ve had a hard time defining is whether or not the things we’re doing here are right or not. For one, we’re getting bands broken. Bands who would usually drown or fade away in obscurity are instead being raved about; for instance Parasytic, from Richmond, Virginia, and Grey, from Olympia, Washington. They owe A LOT to blogs, whether they’re aware of them or willing to admit it. Other bands have even encouraged the upping of their albums—some even doing it themselves, such as Jaked Off Shorts and Loaded Heads and Kowloon Walled City. These are bands that realize the potential of blogs and internet downloads and use it to their advantage…not to gain revenue—but solely for the purpose of GETTING HEARD.

Few labels have asked us to take down their albums, and only one or two bands have complained. I assume that the labels we’re in correspondence with are well aware of our blog and don’t have any problems with what we’re doing, they may even encourage us promoting their bands. Businesses have contacted us to try to use our site as an advertising base—saying we cater to the demographic they’re trying to capture. They see some sort of value in blogging, even if our form is an overtly illegal operation. The point is that people aren’t not trying to be associated with us. I don’t think they take into consideration MINDGRINDER’s aesthetic or quality of content, but rather, they just accept the inherent value of blogs in general.

We all know for sure that bands and “artists” like Metallica and Madonna don’t agree with what we do, but what about the Underground acts? Does posting music with a contrasting level of popularity save us any grief?

Take Lo-Res’ blog for an example. Lo-Res primarily uploads out-of-print records and obscure grindcore, powerviolence, metal, and hardcore bands, and usually supplies a pretty introspective bio of the band; reciting seeing the band in their prime or personal experiences with the members. You feel as if you actually gain something from reading his blog—he is, in a way, sitting you down and sharing his favorite albums with you in a very intimate fashion, and thus, I feel like there’s some sort of legitimacy in his blog.

However, there are a few blogs that completely contrast his method of running a site, such as lucid. Lucidmedia is the type of blog that posts music spanning across all different genres of music; and they’re primarily concerned with posting as much as possible. There was a time where I greatly admired the site, and even downloaded albums from genres that I KNEW I didn’t like, just because I trusted their contributors so much. But as the monster grew, lucid began hiring more contributors to strengthen the volume of weekly posts, and with that growth, went the quality of the posts. Biographies or descriptions of the artists ceased, replaced by album images and links to megaupload files or mediafire uploads. Blogs like Lucidmedia are not productive—and they’re the type of site that will lead the eventual shutdown of Blogger’s music community.

I sort of consider MINDGRINDER as being a midpoint between the two, and we try to serve the same purpose that we originally intended in getting our radio show; that is, exposing our audience to new bands and forms of music. Although we were originally designed around a Lucid Type layout, as that was the blog I was most familiar with at the time, we’ve made an effort to grow beyond that layout and become a stronger blog (although some vestiges of this former layout remain). We post, albeit not that often, tours dates for some of the bands we upload, links to bands myspaces, and even links to record labels that we prefer. This doesn’t make what we’re doing right, but I think it helps our integrity a bit. It’s unfortunate, though, that this will come to end someday. Eventually we’ll graduate or leave college and lose our show, and eventually the RIAA will crack down on and shut down all of your favorite pages, and we’ll be unable to continue things we love doing. I fear of what we’ll do afterwards, not only for obtaining music, but finding new music.

Don’t take what we have on blogger for granted, we’re really really lucky to have this community. If you illegally download music excessively--at the very least support the artists you like in one way or another, through going to a show, or buying a 7”…just put forth a (couple) few dollars to give our existence a little more meaning.

--fred

8 comments:

the worried well said...

I thought this was bullshit but I just got a warning comment from Anthem Records about the Joe Preston/Daniel Menche thing. sucks

fred said...

Damn, man. We got a request for a deletion from Bathtub Shitter...not really a warning, but it makes me tread a little more cautiously. One label that you really don't want to mess with is Relapse. I don't even bother uploading any artists on their label if I can manage it.

the worried well said...

You know that grindcore comp they did a few months back? I was gonna up that to lucid and it disappeared from mediafire for copywright infringement while I was writing it up, getting a photo etc.

That's either coincidence or they have some kind of bot doing it 24/7.

It's a weird one, the medium sized companies like Relapse have the staff and with the smaller ones you're maybe one of 10 uploaders and therefore easy to take care of.

For some reason it seems the majors are the people who don't really care/know about blogs, except maybe pre-release uploads. Problem there is if they do act they have the clout to fuck you proper.

Maybe this will all go tits up but I'm sure something else will replace it. If not we can always take emails and start newsletters. Maybe even go back to physical trading

fred said...

I'm still waiting for a letter from DGC to show up in my inbox any day now...I really think that the majors are out of touch, though. But really--how many people up newer stuff that's on the majors nowadays?

When it comes to where we'll move next...I don't think we'll have something as accessible and fun as blogger is. I mean, with torrents and P2P apps, you had minimal interjection or control over the content, it just kind of spread like wildfire to whoever who wanted it. Blogs let anyone get their voice heard about whatever, and it has this really rich social atmosphere to it...but like I said, all good things come to an end eventually.

Lo-Res Viscera said...

Hey thanks for the kind words about my blog.
It's pretty much just a passion I have for sharing music I dig.
I don't care if it's hot or hip or fresh or even if anyone else reads it.

I am flattered that I have as many visitors to my blog that actually dig what I post - I rarely get any trolls...
I like the interaction and stories that other people have with the records I also dig.

I'd rather not visit cookie-cutter blogs that "feature" bio/review/copy cut & pasted from wiki or AMG or whatever - that's fucking weak as fuck, and anybody can do that.
Those are the sites that should be taken down, if you ask me.

Sharing the music and putting a little work into it represents the band in a good manner. It's an appreciation and a free "shout out" for music that deserves to be heard.

Blogs that insult the reader suck - especially when they just post anything & everything w/o properly ID3 tagging the files, etc. Lazy (or incompetent, most likely) fucks!

If you're gonna take the time post it, have some respect for the music/band.
Makes you look like a dildo otherwise.

Some of us get it, and most of them DON'T.

My two cents.

Respect to you guys,

Jason/Lo-Res

TONA said...

Excellent article.

Mars said...

Yes. You guys said basically what I've saying. BUT - the word on the street is that the RIAA have stopped with the lawsuits (probably before they all get overturned when a group of 'victimized artists' sue for the millions recouped and never redistributed), so I'm not sure they're the force they once were.

http://toniinst.blogspot.com/2008/12/music-industry-ends-mass-piracy.html

More likely I think bloggers like myself will get sick of posting things, taking time to write up detailed hype and then having hundreds of downloads with little in the way of any dialog about the music - which is the whole point for me!

I mean, if it's not about a mutual love for the music, what is the point?

Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!