Hey, mp3 bloggers, what do you wish you'd known when you started out?
March 11, 2009 8:04 AM   Subscribe

Hey, mp3 bloggers, what do you wish you'd known when you started out?

I'm close to launching an mp3 blog. What pitfalls have you encountered? What mistakes have you made along the way? What unexepected successes have you had? What do you wish you'd known before launching?

I'm looking for anecdotal advice of the technical, legal, and monetary varieties.

My blog will focus on obscure-ish music. I'm using WordPress on my own domain, hosted at Dreamhost.
posted by mds35 to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Question: By saying MP3 blog, are you referring to a blog that links to MP3s of music files, or are you referring to a podcast where you blog in audio form, and people listen as one would a radio show, and your show will also play this music?

Either way the biggest thing I would bring up is to ensure you are approved to play and distribute the music you are putting in your MP3s and not in any way contributing to piracy because, as I'm sure you know, RIAA, web host companies, etc. will crack down on you for using music that you are not authorized to distribute.

I have other more specific advice but I need to know if we're talking blog or podcast here :)
posted by arniec at 8:24 AM on March 11, 2009

Response by poster: Blog, not a podcast.
posted by mds35 at 8:32 AM on March 11, 2009

From my view of things as a reader, it seems bloggers post music first, and deal with whatever takedown requests they get later. If it's obscure-ish music, chances are no one will notice if you host a few odd tracks, or the bands might even thank you. Of course, there is always the possibility of take-down requests. But from what I've seen, blogs remain up as long as the links to MP3s are taken down.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:46 AM on March 11, 2009

The RIAA can send DMCA takedown letters, but they are not as on the ball as you might think. After all, look at all the MP3 blogs out there. Look at how long Muxtape stayed up. And not only that The RIAA laid off dozens of employees a couple weeks ago.
posted by delmoi at 8:46 AM on March 11, 2009

Would some comments from a prospective user be helpful?

1. In some cases, whatever album art is included in the post doesn't make it into an RSS feed. I have no idea what the technical issues involved are. But when that happens, it drastically reduces the likelihood I'll notice and visit the post.

2. If you're going to password-protect your files (and I'd prefer it if you didn't), make sure the password appears in the post itself. Every time. Even if you put a sidebar on the blog's main page saying what the password you use all the time is, I'd rather not have to hunt for it. If protecting your files is important, use one of those services that opens the download page in a subsidiary window while hiding its URL.

3. I'm a bit of a FLAC hag - but I admit that's just vanity. 320KB mp3 sounds just as good 99% of the time and requires a lot fewer trips to the download service - which makes a big difference for cheap non-paying users like me who are forced to wait before downloading again. If you're doing your own rips, there's no excuse for anything less than 256.

4. I don't know if making your URLs non-hyperlinked gives you any added protection from the Web Sheriff or his ilk. But enough bloggers do it that it's probably worth investigating. Likewise, employing a service that lets the grabber choose which of several download sites they'd like to use offers redundancy protection against deletions. I love those - since they let you go for multiple parts at the same time.

5. Take pride in your work. If you can't provide a personal mini-review for the record, add the AllMusic.com review. Even if you're not doing your own scanning, a cursory Google image search will usually turn up better album art than what generally comes included these days. Be case sensitive with your titles. Proofread. And don't get creative with your Genre tags. Better to leave it blank than enter something a significant number of people might disagree with.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:56 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

In order to make a relevant mp3 blog that's not just another "free music" source for hypem.com addicts, i think there are a few important points to make:

1. Keep the music to your unique curatorial perspective. Don't just post songs from whatever pitchfork has reviewed that day.

2. Establish a schedule. Daily is great, but if you can't keep up with a daily blog - set a schedule and set expectations. Writing about music and putting songs out that aren't already over-blogged takes a lot of time. You'll gain and retain regular readers/listeners if you keep it regular and stick with it.

3. Ease the burden by teaming up with somebody else. Got a friend who's musical tastes fit with yours? Have that person do a post a week. This keeps the content coming and gives you a break.

good luck!
posted by brandsilence at 9:09 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Make sure your ID3 tags are correct. That way, two weeks later, when your users are getting around to importing all that music they downloaded from their favorite mp3 blogs, they don't have to tear their hair out trying to figure out what Track02.mp3 is and where it came from.

I've seriously dropped blogs because they can't be bothered to keep their ID3 tags straight.
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:45 AM on March 11, 2009

nthing the correct tagging.
posted by Beardman at 6:46 PM on March 11, 2009

I had an mp3 blog for almost two years. It was mostly UK and US indie from the 1980s-90s. At first, I really wanted the blog to be mostly writing and less downloadable stuff. For the first few months, I wrote blog posts that I wanted to be equivalent to, say, a magazine article. Something publishable. When people started pouring in looking for free music, I abandoned quality for quantity. I guess, I wish I knew that in most cases, no one is interested in reading about why you love Television Personalities so much. They don't care about your attempts at creativity, and they're not looking for anything remotely informative. I found the amount of effort I put into the whole endeavor incredibly depressing, and eventually I closed up shop. I got very little feedback, except I recall once getting the snarkiest comment about the (apparently poor) sound quality of an mp3 I posted. A free mp3, that is. Huh. Sorry I can't be more positive; it wasn't a worthwhile experience for me!

However, if you're planning on covering something more obscure, I think you probably will attract people (a community or subculture, say) who not only are looking to sample music but are also passionate and knowledgeable.. People who are looking to learn all there is about x topic and want to have real conversations about their passions. I mean, anyone can upload their favorite [insert current over-hyped band] song to have everyone mindlessly download, but after a while it's kind of draining when there's no appreciation beyond that. YMMV, hopefully.

My blog was finished before blogs really started having problems with DMCA takedown letters, so I can't comment on that.

Good luck!
posted by Mael Oui at 9:42 PM on March 11, 2009

Mael Oui: "I got very little feedback"

Yeah, virtually no one will thank you - even if you drop polite hints about how much you appreciate it. If that's a problem, just don't blog. There's nothing worse than a drama queen berating their readers about how ungrateful they are.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:08 AM on March 12, 2009

I travel a few mp3 blogs and the thing that irks me the most is the use of places like rapidshare and megaupload for the delivery. I get som much spam relating to those sites, where as places like


Are easy, beautiful to use and free as well.

Other than that I would say proerp tagging and artwork are very important. If you encode to mp3 (as your title suggest) I would concur on a 320 bit rate will satisfy most, if not all FLACers.

posted by silsurf at 2:55 PM on March 16, 2009

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