August 21st, 2008 | by SHANE DANAHER Music | Posted In: Columns, Columns, Columns

Muxtape Down, Pandora Teetering

     
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muxtape r.i.p.?We like the cut of collegiate journalist and WW contributor Shane Danaher's jib, so we invited him to tell it like it is (or, you know, was) regarding the closure of our favorite virtual mixtape website, Muxtape.com. Meanwhile, perhaps we'll try this purportedly legit Muxtape cousin for our mix-making needs. Here's Shane:

Continuing in its Herculean efforts to alienate every music consumer on the planet, the RIAA has forced the closure Muxtape, the virtual mixtape site whose popularity has surged in the months since its launch.

In a statement on their website, Muxtape has reported that their services are unavailable due to “a problem with the RIAA.” Though the site's legality was questionable from the get-go this marks the first action that the RIAA has taken against the self proclaimed “new radio,” presumably for its storage and distribution of copyrighted materials.

While there is no word yet as to when, or in what form, Muxtape may return, its closure has been met with near universal hostility from the music community. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the industry for the past decade, but it helps highlight the spacious chasm between the music industry's old guard and the people filling their coffers.

Recorded music has become a more or less free commodity in the previous decade, and sites such as Muxtape and Pandora (which is also staring down closure thanks to an onslaught of RIAA imposed fees), are providing the closest thing to a distribution network that the recording industry has left.

Pandora, and presumably Muxtape, have been working to strike a deal with the RIAA over licensing fees but so far the groups have been unable to find common ground. Tim Westergreen, founder of Pandora, has recently stated that his site is on the verge of collapse thanks to the imposition of licensing fees which far outstrip those leveled on terrestrial radio.

Though it's sad news for artists and consumers, these squabbles with the RIAA represent another instance of the record industry's largest players clinging like death to their failing cash cow rather than capitulating to the inevitable innovations in their industry.

The (hopefully temporary) death of Muxtape is regrettable to be sure, but one can't help noticing that the RIAA's “war on the internet” has become a laughably doomed enterprise. Whether or not it succeeds in the permanent closure of Muxtape, the RIAA is making it ever more clear that the collective will of music consumers far outstrips the holding power of their legal stopgaps.

Unfortunately the RIAA is also on track to be the absolute last people on earth to accept that fact, so in the meantime we have to deal with things like our “Summer Party Mux” randomly disappearing. Sigh... SHANE DANAHER

Links:
Latest Muxtape news from MTV
More at The Industry Standard
 
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