Thursday, February 18, 2010

Musicblogocide 2010

In a bit of a shocker, Google went on a deletion spree and erased a number of mp3 blogs without warning last week. Last week I tried to connect to Hypnotic Breaks and got the "blog not located" page, and I hadn't given it too much thought, even when the same page turned up when I checked on a couple of other blogs. These blogs have been down before, and of course it's not unusual for them to change addresses to throw lawyers off their scent. Still though, I didn't put two and two together until I saw this story in the Guardian.

I guess what shocked me is that they blogs were deleted without any warning. Not just deactivated, but deleted, all their content lost forever. To be fair, these blogs have received past warnings about their content in the past. Personally, I've never been worried about writing something stupid or incorrect, the only thing that really scares me is the idea that all my writing could be one day lost. I could post another self-made mix, and my blog could get improperly flagged and deleted because of it. Improbable? Yes. Still a scary thought.

I'm no expert on the legal logistics behind mp3 blogs, but I don't understand why they deleted entire blogs, rather than just the individual files. Links are taken down for movies and TV shows all the time, and the files themselves are deleted. All the serious work is in locating these links and files and deleting them, sending out warnings, etc. Taking the extra step and deleting the blogs themselves is unnecessary, isn't it? On the other hand, one could argue that the quality of the writing is a non-factor in the appeal of these blogs, that anything beyond the most rudimentary original criticism of the music is of little interest to their target audiences. If the non-downloadable content of the blog is largely immaterial, then there isn't much difference between deleting just the files and deleting the entire blog.

I'll miss Hypnotic Breaks, even though it's been obviously living on borrowed time for a while now. As much as I enjoyed being able to hear advance copies of complete albums, when you post entire albums (rather than individual tracks) then you're asking for it. Deleted links and requests from artists/labels to have their work removed from the blog had become increasingly common. That's not a condemnation of anyone who uploads albums to their blogs, rather, an acknowledgment of the rules of the so-called game.

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