Saturday, October 11, 2008
muxtape is dead; long live muxtape
Some sad news: The mix-sharing service Muxtape has officially gone the way of Napster. Muxtape's simple idea: to recreate the mixtape online. Users would upload mixes (up to 12 songs), which anyone with an Internet connection could listen to. Browsing through the mixes, you could discover new music! There were even links to buy the songs directly from Amazon! It was fantastic! Unfortunately, the RIAA decided to shut Muxtape down. If you visit Muxtape today, you can read the long saga of Justin Ouellette, the guy who started Muxtape and who ultimately bowed to the immense pressure from the recording industry.
What frustrates me most is that Muxtape is no different from file sharing through iTunes within a local network. If I have tons of music—including "playlist" mixes—on my office computer, anyone within my network can listen to any and all of it. They can't own it, but they can browse and listen, in the exact same manner as with Muxtape.
My brother, who has expertise in copyright law, tells me that the RIAA seems to have drawn an arbitrary line in overlooking streaming at the local network level. In other words, they decided this music sharing was okay as long as only a limited number of people could do the sharing. It seems unfair to allow people who work in cities (where the offices are concentrated) much more leeway to listen to shared music than a lone Web surfer in Nebraska whose nearest neighbor is 15 miles away. But, I guess it is what it is.
In any event, the Muxtape was a nice idea, and it was fun while it lasted. The site will actually still live on, but the focus moving forward will be on new bands only. Unfortunately, that kind of kills the whole idea behind mixes. ∞