Tuesday, January 24, 2012


READ: Universal Music Goes To War Against Popular Hip Hop Sites & Blogs on Techdirt

Hat tip to Russell Brown for the link. 

".. A few weeks ago, leading ad firm GroupM, a part of marketing giant WPP, proudly announced that it had "adopted an aggressive new anti-piracy policy" for its digital media buys. What that meant was that it prohibited vendors that it worked with from putting ads on any of a giant list of sites that it had declared were "pirate sites" -- defined as "sites that support piracy or contain any illegally distributed content...."

[Sites listed include Nahright, The Internet Archive, Vimeo and Soundcloud.]

"... Back in 2009, Vibe produced a big list of the "50 hottest rap blogs." This is basically a who's who list of the top sites in hip hop, and the places that most music producers want to see their music appearing, because it's how they get attention these days. 

Yet, if you run down that list, you start to notice a pattern. An awful lot of those sites are on GroupM's "banned" list. I went through the top 12 sites on that list, and seven of them are "banned" as piracy sites, despite being some of the most popular promotional vehicles for artists and labels alike. Also, a bunch of the top hip hop blogs teamed up a while back to form what was called the New Music Cartel -- and every one of those sites is on the "banned" list...."

"... [the list] appears to show that Universal Music has decided to declare war on the online hip hop ecosystem that promotes its music in a big way -- and some of those sites are hitting back. First of all, it's worth noting that these blogs and sites are considered instrumental to promotion in the hip hop world, and Universal Music knows that. 

"In talking to some of the folks at sites involved, you learn pretty quickly that they get sent tracks and other promotional info from insiders at Universal Music -- including high level execs -- all of the time. On top of that, hip hop artists themselves regularly rely on these same sites, and link people to them via their own blogs and twitter feeds. And yet, a whole bunch of these sites are on GroupM's list... and they got there because Universal Music told GroupM to put those sites on the list..." 

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