This really gets my goat. Muxtape is a great service that lets users create their own virtual mixtape and share with their friends. I’d previously enthused about how great Muxtape was – it completely embodied the often anarchiac DIY ethos of the Internet and fit in with the idea of giving consumers what they wanted, exactly when they wanted it. Now the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has shut it down.
I was chatting to a friend recently about the way the recording industry has changed over the last ten years and he said that the most senior executives in most record labels make about £200,000+, therefore it’s in their interest to try to squeeze as much as possible out of CD and MP3 sales. What they haven’t realised is that today’s internet-savvy consumer isn’t prepared to pay shedloads to buy music anymore – why, when they can use Lime Wire or even We7 and get it for free. Interestingly, after running a straw poll of my colleagues, I discovered that most of them had no idea that Lime Wire was illegal or that it was illegal to download music you hadn’t paid for.
To counter this, we have companies like Live Nation emerging. They’ve acknowledged that the traditional record label model is broken and that it’s time for new solutions. Bands like Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead are also extremely exciting – they’ve taken control of the distribution process, which has resulted in them making more money than ever from concert tickets and merchandise sales.
Ultimately, the tussle between innovative companies like Pandora, Muxtape and even Blip is going to come to a head and my money’s on the underdog in this David v. Goliath-like struggle.