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"Please remove this script, it can only contribute to getting the site shut down." The RIAA has taken action against muxtape.com.
August 18, 2008 8:13 PM   Subscribe

The RIAA has taken action against the much-beloved muxtape. Alas, the many predictions regarding muxtape.com's inevitable demise have proven to be true.. With the recent speculation regarding Pandora, who else is next?

Also, here is what Metafilter users though of Muxtape the first time it was mentioned on the blue.


first time poster to the blue, please be gentle.
posted by crazyray (53 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Was there some reason they thought it was legal?
posted by smackfu at 8:15 PM on August 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


Well damn; I had just found out about muxtape too. Oh well.
posted by Stunt at 8:17 PM on August 18, 2008


The War On Music Fans continues. Still, it's hardly surprising.
posted by echo target at 8:18 PM on August 18, 2008


.
posted by booticon at 8:19 PM on August 18, 2008


Obviously, the RIAA was just waiting to see how this thread was gonna play out. Once they saw it wasn't gonna be a MeFi social app, they went after it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:20 PM on August 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


More on the Pandora Speculation, for those unfamiliar with Pandora.
posted by crazyray at 8:22 PM on August 18, 2008


I'm not sure what the fair-use rationale (I'm assuming) really was for muxtape. I found it to be pretty cool for poking around and listening to others' muxtapes. I thought the interface was incredible.

Uploading your own mux was, IMO, problematic. For one it was all kindsa slow, and often timed out when uploading tracks. So I never had the patience to actually use it. For two, there was no way to pull tracks (laterally) from another mux. Exactly HOW many discrete copies of the same Justice, Fleet Foxes, and Feist tracks do you think they had? Seemed weird and hideously inefficient, but perhaps it was key to their possibly/maybe legal status.
posted by tremspeed at 8:25 PM on August 18, 2008


They can take my Pandora from me when they ... well, I guess whenever they want, but I'll miss it.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:33 PM on August 18, 2008


The Muxtape team says: "No artists or labels have complained. The site is not closed indefinitely. Stay tuned."

http://muxtape.tumblr.com/post/46472068
posted by joshrholloway at 8:37 PM on August 18, 2008


isn't this why the internets invented {your favorite variant of rapidshare}? I never saw this muxtape thingy, but pretty much assumed a pseudnymous blogger account + anonymous http filesharing was the killer app of mixtaping in these twilight days of DRM.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:41 PM on August 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:05 PM on August 18, 2008


Goddamnit.
posted by phaedon at 9:22 PM on August 18, 2008


Bad because: I don't really need to explain it. This shit is just ridiculous.

The RIAA is still stuck in delivery-models which are 70 years, or at best almost 30 years, old, while the target audience they hop to reach has now lived their entire lives with the internet as a possibility.

Were any of us as young as nine when we started looking for ways to find new music which fits our tastes? I was, and that's exactly the age of kids now looking for new music who have never lived in a world without Napster and its progeny.

Prosecuting Muxtape is simply going after a practice which has been done without harm (and probably with great benefit) to the RIAA sonce as long as cassettes were available. THe on;y reason they're doing it now is because they have someone to actually sue, instead of a bunch of 13-year-olds doing it at home without access to a central source.

Going after Pandora would simply be shooting themselves in the foot, although I expect nothing less from the RIAA.

RATIONAL HUMAN: It's a site which takes input from what music people like and lets them hear other music they might like from similar bands they may have not known about otherwise.

RIAA: You mean that they get to hear music for free?

RH: Well, yes, I suppose, but in a way which helps people find niche records which you are trying to sell that they probably would otherwise pass by...

RIAA: They hear it FOR FREE?!!

xkcd, inexorably approaching wall of ice, and all that, in other words.

Good only because: I've got over twenty interviews with law firms next week who I picked out specifically because of their copyright divisions, and now I've got something to talk about passionately.

This is good because my 1L year grades sucked a lot, you see.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:25 PM on August 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


To put it another way, think of the people behind Napster, Muxtape, Pandora and the like as Jim Halpert, hip, attuned to the way people are thinking now, and eager to help sell a product.

Then think of the RIAA as Dwight Schrute, anal-retentive, stuck in the ways he has learned, and reflexively antagonistic towards that which doesn't fit what he already knows.

We know that Jim and Dwight can work well together, and in fact work best together selling their wares, but aside from those limited circumstances where Dwight is willing to do that, Jim's attempts appear to Dwight to be gross treachery to be fought against.

And Dwight never considers the thought that he and Jim have the same ends in mind.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:40 PM on August 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


Funny. On an NPR show today they had a car expert who ran down some features still found in new cars that he deemed "obsolete". He said a handful of 2009 models still have cassette tape players.

I thought, can't be long for the CD players, either ....
posted by dhartung at 9:49 PM on August 18, 2008


I find the "war on Pandora" ridiculous, as those "Buy on iTunes" and "Buy on Amazon" buttons have cost me over $600 in the past year - in fact, the only music I've purchased that wasn't a used CD from Amoeba. All artists I wouldn't have purchased or remembered without Pandora.

Muxtape, to me, is on much shakier ground - what with the more easy play on demand, the lack of link to anything vaguely related to purchasing and the perpetuation of bad tagging.
posted by Gucky at 10:05 PM on August 18, 2008


kaibutsu, for a long time there was a sight with a name similar to redlight or something which did exactly that - posted links to Rapidshare etc. They weren't hosting the music themselves (and put up some quality music), but closed down after a year or so. Wish I could remember what they were called (anyone? Bueller?), as they had one of those "we'll be back soon" notices when I last looked.
posted by djgh at 10:15 PM on August 18, 2008


cassette tape players

Well they're left mostly for tape adapters. because they resisted adding line-in jacks.

CD Players (that also play MP3-CDs) will stick around for quite a while, they're a pretty good medium for cars. Built-in media players in cars are retarded without portable disposable media.
posted by blasdelf at 10:17 PM on August 18, 2008


the lack of link to anything vaguely related to purchasing

Muxtape added Amazon MP3 store referral links for every song about a week after its debut.
posted by blasdelf at 10:19 PM on August 18, 2008


Yeah, this is a pretty obvious one. Host RIAA music on your severs + become very popular = Lawsuit. The only way to survive in the music sharing scene is to either play by the RIAA's rules (which doesn't seem to be going well for Pandora) or go decentralized and stay underground.

Just in case anyone doesn't know, the record companies, and by extension the RIAA, hate everything about how music works on the internet. As far as I can tell the record companies don't really do anything important other than physical distribution and promotion. Physical distribution is basically non-existent on the internet, and promotion doesn't matter when word of mouth (rather than payola) decides what becomes popular. On the internet, nobody really needs a record company.

It may seem like the record companies are a bunch of idiots who don't understand where the future of the music industry is headed. In reality, I think they know exactly where the music industry is headed and are trying to do whatever they can to stop it from ever getting there.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:36 PM on August 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


I find the "war on Pandora" ridiculous, as those "Buy on iTunes" and "Buy on Amazon" buttons have cost me over $600 in the past year - in fact, the only music I've purchased that wasn't a used CD from Amoeba. All artists I wouldn't have purchased or remembered without Pandora.

Definitely. There's so much music I would have never known about at all (or bought, obviously) if it weren't for Pandora. The radio can't even hope to replace it for me.
posted by LionIndex at 10:37 PM on August 18, 2008


No artists or labels have complained.

The artists and labels pay the RIAA to do this for them. The only thing that surprises me is that it took this long. If you're not doing it by the book and you get popular they are going to come after you, and this is going to be the case for a good long time to come. I think their apparent belief that they will weather this is exceptionally optimistic.

Pandora is really another issue; it's about whether they can financially survive doing it by the book if the agents of the rights holders keep increasing the cost of doing business. I'm curious to see how these royalty rate jacks work out: if it shuts down so many webcasters that they actually lose revenue than obviously they screwed up.

I keep wondering the indies will get a thing going like eMusic with respect to on-demand streaming... internet "radio," even interesting applications like Pandora, is so stupidly hobbled by all the obtuse rules apparently designed to - seriously, what, like to keep people from recording tracks off their sound cards? Yeah, that's how people get illicit copies of songs on the internet all right... Me, I just keep giving almost all of my music dollar to the other guys, you know?
posted by nanojath at 10:44 PM on August 18, 2008


djgh: Well, let's just say that there's no way in hell this paranoid android is going to list his favorites in a thread about RIAA overreaction. And since my favorite band sucks, you probably wouldn't like the same blogs, anyways. But googling 'music blog' + your favorite artist will probably produce something to your liking.

nanojath: Of course, if they shut down all the webcasters, how will they know they've lost money?
posted by kaibutsu at 11:10 PM on August 18, 2008


They've already sort of gone after Pandora. It's only available in the States, and gets blocked from my pathetic Canadian IP. I've long mourned its loss.

And now muxtapes, too. Lovely.
posted by Phire at 11:12 PM on August 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's only a matter of time until the RIAA picks on the wrong people and they really start fighting back and show everyone how crazy they are. In this case, Muxtape probably wasn't legal but it is certainly something that the users love. One day, the RIAA will take something like Facebook down and anger an entire nation of their most avid consumers.
posted by bjtitus at 11:40 PM on August 18, 2008


THE RIAA IS JUST DOING WHAT IT CAN TO MAKE THE GOOD MEN AND WOMEN OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY SURVIVE. IT ISNT JUST ABOUT THE BRITNEY SPEARS AND ROLLING STONES. I HAVE A FRIEND WHO IS A SOUND ENGINEER AND LAST YEAR HE ONLY MADE $100,000. THAT IS WAY DOWN ON WHAT HE EARNED BEFORE. IT IS BECAUSE PEOPLE LIKE MUXTAPE STEEL EVERYONES MUSIC THAT THIS HAPPENED. YOU WOULDN'T GO INTO A RECORD SHOP AND STEEL A CD SO WHY WOULD YOU STEEL MUSIC ON THE INTERNET AND MAKE PEOPLE POORER. IT IS ILLEGAL AND IT IS CAUSING A LOT OF PAIN. THE RIAA IS JUST TRYING TO SAVE PEOPLES JOBS.
posted by seanyboy at 12:57 AM on August 19, 2008 [13 favorites]


the internet is right!
posted by bam at 2:17 AM on August 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile artists like myself continue to give away their music for free with nary a notice. Quit sucking off the RIAA teet and drag thyselves in to the 21st century.
posted by Sir Mildred Pierce at 2:23 AM on August 19, 2008


[Peoples Jobs it's the less talented brother of Steve Jobs. He invented the Minidisc]
posted by darkripper at 2:56 AM on August 19, 2008


Here in the UK, following consultation with of record companies and with the agreement of non-aforementioned committees they have implemented roaming police gun squads that shoot people who are caught humming copyrighted music by the acoustic crime monitors that have been placed on every corner. The other day they wiped out a pub after a few members got carried away and hummed during the classic "Stone Roses" debate. The population as a whole doesn't seem to care that much as it has cut down on the number of drunken hen parties singing "Umbrella ella ella ella" while spilling out of every possible opening of their 10 quid top shop outfits. Those with a proper formal application for permission to sing or hum prominently displayed on themselves will probably not get shot as long as their direct debit payments continue.
posted by srboisvert at 3:16 AM on August 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


One day, the RIAA will take something like Facebook down and anger an entire nation of their most avid consumers.

Didn't this already happen with Napster?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:53 AM on August 19, 2008


I blame myself. I got bored with all the music I had last night and started using Muxtape for background noise. Halfway through one playlist, everything stopped working. *tinfoil hat*

I wonder when the record industry will realise that they are on a doomed path. Shutting down (instead of running) these sites won't get people buying more music. In fact, with every site shut down, I'm less likely to buy music. Why would I push my money towards organisations that behave in the way that they do? It's not worth supporting the industry. Not one of them deserves their employment status, not even the artists that continually buy into this idea that they aren't capable of being successful without, as Sir Mildred Pierce says, sucking on the teat of the RIAA.

Instead, I'm just going to save my money for independent artists/bands that will hopefully move towards using the internet and getting a bigger chunk of the profits for themselves. Change is coming, and the winners won't be offline.
posted by saturnine at 4:55 AM on August 19, 2008


Was there some reason they thought it was legal?

There are a whole bunch of laws that govern the broadcast of audio recordings, both over the airwaves and online. It's completely legal to have an internet radio station as long as you pay the correct fees (as determined by law).

A simple "you can't distribute without permission" view of copyright isn't true at all when it comes to music.
posted by delmoi at 4:59 AM on August 19, 2008


Pandora for the iPhone is ridiculously amazing... I actually just discovered it over the weekend and am totally blown away by how awesome it is.
posted by ph00dz at 5:00 AM on August 19, 2008


It's completely legal to have an internet radio station as long as you pay the correct fees (as determined by law).

Well, you also need to follow the rules. Like it has to work like radio... so no songs on demand. And you can't play too many songs from one album or artist in a given time period.

It's not clear that muxtape paid the money, followed the rules, or had their own separate deal (like pandora has).
posted by smackfu at 6:44 AM on August 19, 2008


To me, it looked like the site was one big advertisement for music.

It seems the music industry has been very busy telling music fans to stop listening to music when trying to figure out what to buy. Or rather, to stop listening to anything but their own approved channels where they get to decide what advertisements-for-music you're going to listen to.

Me, I complied years ago. As a result, I haven't bought (or downloaded) an album in many a year.

Same thing with DVDs - I stopped buying them when it became clear (thanks to the no-skip piracy warnings) that the movie industry thinks every customer is a thief.

Fine - if you really feel that way, I'll stop being a customer. Suit yourself.
posted by DreamerFi at 8:00 AM on August 19, 2008


ph00dz: "Pandora for the iPhone is ridiculously amazing... I actually just discovered it over the weekend and am totally blown away by how awesome it is."

Yeah, it was probably the first third-party app I installed on my iPhone, and I cannot describe the joy I felt when I was able to drive to work listening to Pandora without it stopping mid-song, and even then, it only took a few seconds to buffer each track. That's ♥.
posted by booticon at 8:03 AM on August 19, 2008


"The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated."

No artists or labels have complained. The site is not closed indefinitely. Stay tuned. Beta users of Muxtape For Bands: you are unaffected by this outage.

posted by Dave Faris at 8:07 AM on August 19, 2008


Phire writes "They've already sort of gone after Pandora. It's only available in the States, and gets blocked from my pathetic Canadian IP. I've long mourned its loss. "

Ya, this makes me sad everytime it comes up. Why the smeg can't they fix this? I've often wondered if it isn't because the RIAA doesn't want it fixed because of the more consumer friendly copyright laws in Canada.

DreamerFi writes "Same thing with DVDs - I stopped buying them when it became clear (thanks to the no-skip piracy warnings) that the movie industry thinks every customer is a thief."

Heh, I stopped buying CDs when it became kind of random whether one was actually going to receive a cd or some bastard step child with the same shape. Especially since the BSC rarely would play, without a hassle, on my computer. If I've got to mess around for 20 minutes getting your "music disk product" to play on my machine smeg it. I'm just going to download it.
posted by Mitheral at 8:40 AM on August 19, 2008


Mitheral, I remember encountering one of those - I think I hadn't bought a CD for two or three years at that point, but somebody really wanted a particular CD as a gift, and I caved. Unfortunately, it turned out it was one of those bastard CD's you talk about, and I had to fix it for the gift receiver.

I sent out an email to the artist telling him he lost a fan, and got a reply by his webmaster, who basically called me a thief for converting the CD on my Mac to a regular audio CD to replace the broken product. I had to quote sections of dutch copyright law on his ass to get him to apologize.

It probably won't surprise you that the person who received the CD from me hasn't bought another one since.
posted by DreamerFi at 8:59 AM on August 19, 2008


The RIAA Radar is a tool that music consumers can use to easily and instantly distinguish whether an album was released by a member of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
posted by plexi at 9:21 AM on August 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


The RIAA can suck it.
posted by zzazazz at 9:46 AM on August 19, 2008


Instead, I'm just going to save my money for independent artists/bands that will hopefully move towards using the internet and getting a bigger chunk of the profits for themselves. Change is coming, and the winners won't be offline.
posted by saturnine

A great play to start would be to visit the site of Mefi's own Harvey Girls. You'll be surprised of how good they are and what great lengths they go to operate outside of the conventional industry.
posted by micayetoca at 9:50 AM on August 19, 2008


But I like the bands I already like.
posted by smackfu at 10:32 AM on August 19, 2008


I've probably spent $100 in the last year because of Pandora that I would have never otherwise spent because I would have never known about the music.
posted by desjardins at 10:39 AM on August 19, 2008


RIAA to world: Get off my lawn, Maaaaat-llllocccckkkk, etc.

This is lame, but these stories are all basically the same, and always seem to have the same ending, I'm afraid.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:44 AM on August 19, 2008


I've spent quite a bit on artists I learned about or rediscovered on Pandora. I have also talked it up with friends, many of whom have engaged in their own cash transactions. Consumers like buying music via Pandora. It amazes me that the music industry doesn't promote Pandora heavily.

But they aren't paying enough protection money, apparently. What a racket.
posted by jleisek at 2:41 PM on August 19, 2008


That's odd - I thought they had been paying royalties, though I may misremember an interview or something.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:52 PM on August 19, 2008


I don't really understand why my Canadian IP is blocked out of Pandora, and yet I have no trouble accessing Last.fm, which, while having a totally different interface, is essentially the same thing. I guess because artists and labels opt into it? Or 'cause, like, RIAA Platinum Club member Viacom owns it? Or because there's more user data to collect and analyze?

I do get why Muxtape would be shut down, if indeed it has been. Letting users freely upload and download That Which Is Not Theirs is pretty obviously a no-no. Muxtape's passive nature might let the site owners wriggle away from the RIAA, but users should probably be running for cover right about now.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:11 PM on August 19, 2008


It's been a while since I read up on this, but I seem to recall Pandora coming to some form of collective agreement with RIAA, where in return for allowing them to continue to exist, the RIAA can be bitchy about whence Pandora is accessed.

Though Canada is also getting pretty anal retentive about how they handle digital media copyright issues, so who knows, maybe the RIAA will eventually deign to allow its regressive delivery methods to run wild in a country whose politicians have just as regressive ideals about digital media.

Tangentially related: thedailyshow.com is not available from Canada, either. You can see the site, but none of the videos. Because while Viacom's okay with allowing fans unrestricted access to back episodes, The Comedy Network feels a tad too threatened by others offering unfettered access to materials they're paying to air (and receiving ad revenue from). Sigh. And of course, The Comedy Network isn't too smart about handling this idea of online distribution, demonstrated not only by the paltriness of their "archives" but also by the atrocity that is their user interface.

I'll stop being bitter now.
posted by Phire at 7:43 PM on August 19, 2008


But they aren't paying enough protection money, apparently. What a racket.

I agree with the sentiment. But the way copyright law works in the US, you have different types of rights. The intention is good. If you play (broadcast) someone else's recorded work, you have to pay royalties. Not such a bad idea. If you're going to play classic rock on your bar's jukebox, you have to pay the rights holders for the privilege, so if you're making money due to these songs, so are the people who own the rights to them. So far, so good.

Problem is, the RIAA handles violations like a racket. They survey bars which haven't paid them for music covered by bands and played in recorded form, and slap ridiculously huge invoices on them without trying to work with them first, threatening lawsuits if they don't pay. Often, the venue isn't trying to be sneaky, but rather may not be aware of their obligations, which are civil in nature, not criminal (unlike liquor laws, for instance). This shuts a good number of them down, which can create problems for local music, particularly if a venue is lost over it. They don't have to be antagonistic, but it always feels like a shake down to me. This is also their approach on the internet. It doesn't look new to me, but now they're more visible to the general public, although this isn't really helping their cause.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:22 PM on August 19, 2008


Krinklyfig -- that's not the RIAA enforcing the rules on bars -- it's ASCAP and BMI -- who are a bit more benevolent a force, in that the performance royalties they collect provide a living to a many songwriters and supplement the living of many more, inlcluding quite a few indie titans who wouldn't be caught dead with an RIAA-member major label.
posted by MattD at 8:48 PM on August 19, 2008


Thank you, MattD, THANK YOU, for the above clarification (re: ASCAP/BMI does not equal RIAA). Hopefully this will help more people have what we generally refer to as "a clue" regarding this matter.

And as a VERY indie songwriter, I'd like to say that my quarterly checks from BMI over the years have helped out a little, keeping me in swimming pools, new cars and a big fat house on the hill shirts, groceries and rent.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:11 PM on August 19, 2008


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