Music Blogging and Music Piracy

by Thomas Brett

A few weeks ago, a number of prominent hip hop blogs were shut down by the US government (working on behalf of the Recording Industry Of America) for copyright infringement and selling counterfeit goods.  What were the blogs doing that is so illegal?  They regularly posted and offered for free download new music “leaked” to them by hip hop artists and their record labels ahead of commercial release dates.

(If you wish to see exactly what an US Department of Justice-”seized” website looks like, click here.)

What makes this latest page of the ongoing musical practice-copyright laws story interesting is that music blogs are in fact used by the recording industry as promotional outlets.  Artists and record labels routinely leak music to the blogosphere as a way to generate early buzz–especially among younger music fans who may, it goes without saying, may never actually pay for their favorite music.  For their part, many music bloggers see themselves as a legitimate part of today’s music industry ecology, hyper-linking together artists and listeners. As hip hop blog OnSmash.com founder Kevin Hofman views the situation: “I see myself as a legitimate source of content online, and I have no reason to believe that I was ever perceived as otherwise.”

You can read an article on this story here.