Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Hype Machine: Comments?

Have any of you seen The Hype Machine?

My initial reaction is that it bothers me. They cache audio files from mp3 blogs to their server so that you can download them all from their site, in a sense, bypassing the mp3 blog site from which the track was posted.

From their site:

Please note that the "download" links for the tracks are utilizing NYU's Coral caching and distribution network and are not direct links.

Yes, they do supply a link to the original post, but it still seems inherently wrong. I know, there are those that would say that what we're doing is wrong as well, but this seems to be breaking one of our precious codes of the mp3 blog community. The whole point of our posts is to share music and get people interested in the band and, hopefully, search out and purchase their release(s), right?

This doesn't seem to really encourage that, even though they supply an Amazon link and a link to the blog, it's secondary...

Any comments?

UPDATE: Anthony, the force behind the Hype Machine has added a comment and pointed out two other discussions on this topic over at Stereogum and Micropersuasion.

15 Comments:

Blogger brandon@elbo.ws said...

I started the site http://elbo.ws as an attempt to provide a one stop shop for all of the incredible mp3 blogs out there w/out having to sift through each one independently. Also, I wanted to be able to search all the blogs and eventually track trends in mp3 blogging. I feel that mp3 blogs are the new medium by which we're able to hear not only new great tracks from our favorite artists (just yesterday there wsa a track from My Old Kentucky Blog that was a Built to Spill cover done by Ben Folds Five - who knew!?!?) but also discover new artists that we never would have known about otherwise.

Hype wasn't right for me because I like to read the posts first and listen to the music in that context, but I'm sure others would appreciate it the other way - music first then posts.

All I know is that these sites aren't meant to take hits away from bloggers, but combine posts and drive traffic towards valuable information.

Thanks for your time!

5:25 PM  
Blogger guanoboy said...

And I have no problem with your site at all, I've been there many times and like it...the problem with hype is that they eliminate all of that and make it just about the mp3, the file. At that point, why spend so much time posting and sharing the info...why don't we just share the contents of our mp3 library?

Yeah, it's convenient, but it's stripping away all of the elements of an mp3 blog that make it enjoyable, that make it redeemable and something more than just filesharing.

5:51 PM  
Blogger *ADORU said...

Actually, i was just just debating this with myself today... even went so far as to pen an email to the guy who wrote it.

I didn't send it.

I haven't quite decided if i do have a problem with it.

I do not like the idea of cats downloading mp3s i dug up without viewing the content i wrote.

that being said. i have been getting link a small amount of link traffic his site... so apparently SOME people aren't just taking the MP3s... and disregarding the rest of the post.

though at the same time... this is the equivalent to someone posting the entire text of all your blog postings on their site.

an mp3 you posted is no less a part of the blog than your words.

it is content. just as a photograph in an magazine is part of the article.

so i don't know...

1:35 AM  
Blogger Craig said...

interesting debate...I guess we all feel a little like a band or label that doesn't want it's content (the music) used without their position. what's good for the goose is good for the gnder
I guess

6:48 AM  
Blogger guanoboy said...

Here's where I have my biggest issue with it...we're doing something that, although technically wrong, is being unofficially allowed (especially those of us that are posting out of print stuff). This type of site makes it more likely to get the labels upset because it's stripping away most of the attempt to make this more than just file-sharing. I know that most of us feel pretty strongly that what we're doing is more than just that. We're attempting to share music that may not otherwise get heard or has been forgotten; we believe that the music is more than just a file, otherwise, why would we spend all of our time doing this?

So am I being a bit short-sighted and self-centered here? Does it really matter? Why do I care? I don't know. I ask myself why I'm doing this almost daily...especially when it's late and I'm tired and would rather be in bed, but instead I'm writing up this post on some band that most people could care less about.

Who really cares about what "we" write? They're probably just here for the file anyway...right?

9:33 AM  
Blogger brandon@elbo.ws said...

I think you're going to have a bunch of hits from people just looking to scrape your file not matter what, but even if a fraction of your readers are coming for the content, doesn't it still seem worth it? Whether it was meant to or not, this is becoming a community or people interested in what each other have to say about music. I bet all mp3 bloggers are also a good chuck of the traffic to and from each of these sites. It seems like every day there's a new mp3 blog started because someone read an mp3 blog. Imitation is the best form of flattery. Keep up the good work guano.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous angryrobot said...

If you're an MP3 blogger, I think you have to accept the reality that most people are probably just hitting your site for the free music, no matter how good your writing might be. I decided not to host MP3s, and just link to the sound bites on the band's or label's site when possible. Besides, I get a kick out of turning someone on to a band through words alone. Otherwise, I'd just post the MP3 and say "check this out for yourself," which wouldn't really be adding much to the musicspehere. And without getting too much into an ethical debate, I'm just not comfortable "sharing" someone's art without their explicit permission, nor can I assume they have the time and resources to track down every stray MP3 and request its removal.

10:41 AM  
Blogger guanoboy said...

Angryrobot - You're right, of course, we do have to accept the fact that it's free music and that's why the majority of people are visiting. And I'm not pretending to delude myself that people are coming here for the text, but this just makes it too easy...

And that's part of the reason my focus is out of print stuff and links to artists who are willing to share. I want people to go to their site and visit.

Brandon- Thanks for the thanks...and you're right, it has to be worth it, or we wouldn't do it, would we? :)

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has been an interesting discussion - I figured I'd put in my two cents as the person behind The Hype Machine.

I've started my site for a reason very similar to Brandon's (seems like just about on the same day too) - wanted to help people find something new to listen to, something new to read. Except in my case, I wanted to let people do that by listening first, reading later. So far this seems to have made some people either really happy or really angry, which is interesting, to say the least.

For me personally, this really works - I really enjoy scrolling around the Winamp playlist and listening to some random things that come up. At this point, it has happened quite a few times that I've become curious who the blogger was that posted the song and checked out their blog + more of their tracks. (I explained this a bit more here: http://www.stereogum.com/archives/001449.html)

I think in the end, good music that many people post gets heard, their blogs get read because the music is good, and artists get exposure, because they've been discussed. It works. I strongly disagree with those who see my website as "yet another free music download tool" or as "stealing from bloggers" - about 4 of those writers have been removed from my site as per their request. They voice some of their concerns here: http://www.micropersuasion.com/2005/04/where_to_find_t.html which I found to be an interesting read. I do miss music-for-robots though, they are awesome. :(

Thanks for reading!

-Anthony Volodkin

2:31 AM  
Blogger guanoboy said...

Anthony-

There's one point in this discussion that you did not address...my largest problem with what you're doing isn't related to the "stealing" of my hard work (it's not work, I mostly enjoy it), it's based upon this comment I made above:

Here's where I have my biggest issue with it...we're doing something that, although technically wrong, is being unofficially allowed (especially those of us that are posting out of print stuff). This type of site makes it more likely to get the labels upset because it's stripping away most of the attempt to make this more than just file-sharing. I know that most of us feel pretty strongly that what we're doing is more than just that. We're attempting to share music that may not otherwise get heard or has been forgotten; we believe that the music is more than just a file, otherwise, why would we spend all of our time doing this?

What you're doing is removing any validation for what we do, by removing the personal and honest attempts to get people to learn about the music and seek out more. Yes, you have links to our sites and Amazon, but the discussion is not there...You are stripping it down to its essential element - a link to the music. The thing the labels have the biggest problem with. I don't feel strongly enough about this to ask you to remove my link as others have done, but I do wonder if this is not the first step in making the labels upset enough to ask us to "officially" stop. I understand your motivation and thinking, because when I am reading an mp3 post I usually bring up the track first, but I listen to it while I'm reading the post, putting the music in context of the writing.

On a seperate note, I didn't realize so many other blogs were talking about this. Surprising, because I read Stereogum pretty faithfully. Don't know how I missed that one. I don't think I would have brought it up if I had, I would've just joined in their discussion.

And I appreciate you chiming in, thanks for taking the time to explain/defend your reason.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guanoboy,

You bring up a very valid point about the record industry. Sadly, I think we are moving into this direction no matter what we do. At a certain point MP3 blogging will reach a critical mass (with or without my involvement) where it will be noticed, recognized by the industry and decisions will be made. My hope is that many in the industry will look at it the way some of the smaller labels have so far (such as kill rock stars, and etc) - free publicity and intelligent commentary.

As far as post discussions go, there is some conflicting information about that. Some feel that a site like mine would remove discussion and comments alltogether, focusing strictly on downloading MP3s.

In reality though, at least from the feedback I've received, it seems that many people do what I mentioned I do when I listen to things on my site - listen to tracks, check out blog posts, leave comments. The challenge for me is to make this as inviting and natural as possible to get more people to do this.

I think that with a site like mine, MP3 bloggers can reach a wider audience that they might otherwise not be able to access, which means, more people discovering and listening to the excellent music that gets posted. And that's the point of it all, isnt it?

-Anthony Volodkin
http://hype.non-standard.net

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you understand where I'm coming from I'm gonna tell you straight out that I am a friend of Anthony's and a floor mate of his.

Before I started listening to the Hype Machine I didn't care for blogs, let along music ones. I heard a lot of music so far and i don't like a lot of it. But when I hear a track I like I find the post and read it. And if the person has good music listed I read more of their posts. So far I started following two blogs that were listed on the Hype Machine. Their names escape me because they are bookmarked at my home pc and I'm at work.

You can't expect a person to find your blog, not know anything about you and follow your writing. The Hype Machine establishes you as a writer in the community and then you get more readers such as me. The Hype Machine doesn't just generate hype for artists and labels, but for bloggers too.

-Lenny Markh

5:04 PM  
Blogger annulla said...

Actually, the Hype Machine was what led me to your blog. I don't think I'd have found it otherwise. I'm now working my way through your archives.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Andrew Meyerhoff Project, featuring a variety of singers ranging in styles from the Eagles to Alicia, will be having their premier release early March. Sample tracks to wet your taste buds can be heard at www.myspace.com/theshellshuckers
and
www.myspace.com/thefarawayensemble
Note: "Gypsy", which was up for a Ben E. King album and a few other tracks will not be on the release, so there may be more coming in the future. This time around it will be a hybrid mixed sound of many genres.
Please listen, and spread the buzz.

Enjoy, and peace...Andy

4:32 PM  
Blogger sarah said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Sarah

http://www.thetreadmillguide.com

10:33 PM  

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