For many of us, the honeymoon may be over as far as free music and video downloads. That is because in response to complaints, Google has torn down six of the largest blogs on the net hosting music. Most likely in response to lawyers threatening litigation, those hosting the blogs were only notified after the blog were torn down and the inventory gone forever that their blogs were finished. This could be a good and a bad thing.
On the one hand, fans have accomplished a long sought after goal. The price of a compact disc from about 1987 into the 2000′s was out of control and fans were understandably angry. People were paying anywhere from $14.99 to $19.99 for a compact disc knowing that they were being manufactured for for only a fraction of that cost. As a result, many retailers are only charging $6.97 to $13.99 for Cd’s. The drop in price has to be considered a success for the consumer.
On the other hand, artists do have a right to be paid for their music. Those who write and create the music are completely shut out of earning potential when a blogger hosts files for the world to take. The temptation to download is almost too irresistible and record companies had begun to realize this. In fact, even on some of these sites that were torn down had ad revenue sharing deals where record labels could recoup some money from ad revenues. The music being hosted was driving to the traffic to the site so a deal of that magnitude made sense.
The debate over whether or not it’s right to tear down blogs without notice could probably rage on as long as the debate over downloading itself. This entire process is still playing itself out and new rules are coming into play all the time.