I couldn’t help myself from using that tired pun in my title. But I think it’s nevertheless apt for my subject. I recently wrote a post, What’s Missing from Blogs: Music & Video!, bemoaning the lack of music and video featured in blogs. Little did I expect the gray lady, the New York Times, to enlighten me about something I didn’t have a clue about: the mp3 blog (see the article, Warner’s Tryst With Bloggers Hits Sour Note). Until now, I’ve thought the Times a bit slow on the uptake when it comes to blogs. But give ’em credit for trying to get out front a bit. Though, in my subsequent research I discovered that the Guardian, Reuters and USA Today (yes!) got there first. Adam Pasik wrote MP3 blogs serve rare songs, dusty grooves for USA Today.
The Times article focuses on an interesting development in the relations between the major record labels and mp3 blogs. Warner offered Music for Robots and several other mp3 bloggers downloads from a new Warners release by The Secret Machines. What’s great about this is that if the major labels can come to see blogs as a means of increasing their revenue stream, then perhaps their narrow, blinders-on approach to filesharing and digital media can be changed.
The fact that someone at Warners then took to the blog comments section to fraudulently tout the music the label itself had offered to the bloggers lends a sour note to the entire incident. What they did sounds like the stupid act of a immature intern or staff member (though the entertainment industry is known for such stupid self-promotion). Let’s hope both the mp3 bloggers AND Warners have learned a lesson in how not to treat each other in future.
I’m not foolish enough to think that because Warners had the bright idea to see mp3 blogs as a potential ally, rather than nemesis (the current RIAA position), that this means that all will be sweetness and light between the music industry and filesharers. There’s a lot more water that has to flow under that bridge before any resolution comes to their tenuous and fractious relationship. But this hookup is a good thing and I hope that other labels will build upon it. I also hope that mp3 bloggers will not take the stupid behavior of one record label prankster as license to condemn the entire industry. If we in the blogging community hope to change minds then we will have to encourage and embrace our “adversaries” when they try to do the right thing.
For those of you who are, like I was, ignorant of mp3 blogs: they are devoted to sharing songs their owners love. There are mp3 blogs devoted to hip hop, indie music, blues, soul, etc. Though some of these blogs include some folk music, there are almost no blogs devoted to folk, traditional or world music which are my musical loves. A wonderful exception to this rule is Red Lotus Radio, which features some wonderful and less well-known world music genres.
While SoulSides is not devoted to world or folk music, it represents what it covers so well that I thought it would make a great model for what a good world/folk music blog could do.
Senses Working Overtime is another good representative of the mp3 blog genre.
Mp3blogs aggregator is a good resource for those of you wanting to dive right into the mp3 blogworld.
For a very cool discussion with several mp3 bloggers about whether their blogs will render music stores obsolete, see Roundtable: mp3 Bloggers.