The other day, after generally praising both MixTape.me and Blip.fm, I closed with a hope that both could stay in business, notwithstanding the RIAA’s assault on streaming music sites. As it turns out, my concerns may have been even more immediate than I realized.
Marshall Kirkpatrick reports today that Seeqpod, the search engine used by MixTape.me and other sites, will soon start charging developers for access to its data. This does not bode well for music discovery sites, some of which are really fun to use. In fact, after looking further at MixTape.me, I had decided to do mix tape posts as a semi-regular feature at Newsome.Org. If the loss of free access to Seeqpod’s data puts these sites out of business, I won’t get that chance.
Which is bad for listeners, and bad for the musicians whose music would have featured. Both MixTape.me and Blip.fm have Amazon associate links beside each song, which is probably the best business plan in Web 2.0. Rather than toss random ads for stuff we don’t want on the page and cross their fingers, these sites present the immediate opportunity to buy something that, by definition, the user is interested it. This is targeted advertising done the right way, as opposed to the intrusive approach favored by Google.
And let’s be serious for a moment. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is going to use these song mixes as an alternative to a fully accessible music library- that can be taken with them on CD-Rs, iPods, etc. And anyone who is going to go to epic trouble to record these streams could do the same thing at any number of “approved” music sites. Or they could do it old school off the radio.
It hurts the artists.
When friends come to my house, it is very common for me to play a few of my favorite songs for them. Often, one or more of them will then buy the record for themselves. Heck, I bet I’ve sold 20 copies of Avett Brothers records this way. Any right thinking musician would be happy that people are playing his or her music for friends, generating a buzz and record sales. I see very little industry downside here, and no downside for the artists.
But in typical fashion, the empty bag obsessed RIAA is going to continue to lob bombs at these sites, in the hope that one day the cat will miraculously jump back into the bag. It ain’t going to happen.
Rather that try to turn the music off, the music industry should issue a list of best (e.g., required) practices, to encourage these sites to hide the song location to prevent downloads, etc., and let the music play.
In honor of that, and because who knows if I’ll have another chance, I wanted to make a little mix for your listening pleasure, but it was very hard to access MixTape.me, and when I got there, few of the songs I found were available. I wonder if that’s a beta problem or a bigger problem?
In any event, enjoy.