Monday, February 21, 2011

Counting every single one of them a conquest to achieve

There's probably not much in the world that is more of a navel-gazing entrée into boredom than discussing the mechanics of blogging. Still, sometimes it feels as if the only way to sort issues out is to verbalize them in some way...and maybe get some input...so please forgive me as a do that for a minute.

I'm speaking specifically of the music blogging practice of posting songs. We've got two pretty clear ends of the spectrum--posting a stream or download of a song which a label has sent to you to feature on one side and posting a stream or download of an unreleased song given to you in confidence on the other. I think we could all generally agree the former is totally acceptable and the latter is wrong (though a few people might argue with that particular point).

What do you do with something in between those two points, though? We, as bloggers, repost YouTube videos of leaked songs all the time. That could be an ethical dilemma of its own--theoretically, we're hurting the publicity campaigns of those artists, preventing songwriters from selling a demo unused by one artist to another artist because the demo is too inextricably linked to the first artist, and perhaps decreasing sales, among other problems.

Still, the only time I ever question my decision to repost a stream of a previously leaked song is if I know of a direct negative effect that is directly linked into broadening public knowledge of the song. For example, I refrained from posting YouTube videos that played the thirty-second preview clips from Amazon and similar stores of Love Generation's "Dance Alone." Since that song will be competing in Melodifestivalen, which forbids anyone from sharing even clips of competing songs until broadcaster SVT itself puts them up, I was worried that broader knowledge of the clip's leak might increase the song's chance of disqualification (though one could debate whether that's actually any more a "direct negative effect" from those cited in the above paragraph). Yes, you're probably assigning too much importance and power to yourself, but personal responsibility factors into moral decisions at least as a matter of principle or symbolism even if one's actions won't necessarily have a wide-ranging effect. In the end, the song wasn't disqualified. However, though I chose not to repost those clips, I don't really believe that technically there was anything wrong with the decisions of those people who did--they themselves were not leaking the songs, just sharing a clip leaked by music stores.

The dilemma I've been wondering about recently is similar to that situation. If an unreleased song is posted elsewhere on the Internet by a fairly official source (obviously "fairly official" is a questionable term), has not been noticed by the public at general, is presumably not yet meant for general public consumption, and has a decent chance of drawing significantly more notice through you featuring it, is it OK to link to a stream of that song?

On the one hand, you're not releasing it to the world--it's already been unveiled somewhere. On the other, if you're worried enough to have to justify it in your mind with these "I'm not leaking it, just publicizing it" arguments, isn't that a sign that your conscience might be telling you something that your eagerness to write about a new song might not want to hear?

3 comments:

Damian said...

It's a good question to think.
I've published about LG, had I doubts? Yes, because it was shockingly unexpectable firstly. Do I feel ashamed? Nope, because I hadn't seen any possibility of song's diqualification in a middle of the contest (especially when it was from RedOne) and I knew that if ESC-community has started to talk about it - it will spread in minutes no matter what. I can understand big blogs which has relations with labels and artists, get some exclusive stuff, premieres, interviews, etc. it's sorta not pretty but if you're just small independent blog - I don't find it unpretty to write about leaked things when they lie without attention and owners don't really care and sure when you know that your post can't harm artist.

Poster Girl said...

Yup, I think you're right that there was no way RedOne's song was going to get disqualified--getting a songwriter that internationally-known had to have been a coup for Christer Björkman and I'd bet he'd do anything to keep disaster from striking there. You're right, too, about there being so many plays Eurovision is discussed that news would spread quickly regardless of what one did. I'm pretty sure writing about it was both OK and part of the job of an independent news blog. Really, the mistake lay on the part of the music labels and the digital music stores; an outside observer has every right to point out that mistake.

Theoretically, the same thing could be said about the scenario I mention in that last paragraph--if the songs are publicly available for streaming, even if they're not being publicized, then it's hardly the public's fault for listening to them.

Poster Girl said...

Sorry, I meant "so many places Eurovision is discussed."