Muxtape, The RIAA and Pandora

Untitled by erin m

So, you might be a fan of Brittany’s awesome District Mixtape series of columns that we’ve been putting up. The idea is an age-old one, written about by novelists, charted by all the pop-trend-watchers, and beloved by anyone old than about 25 and younger than about 50. The age of the cassette tape mix was a golden one for music. 60 minutes of space, two cassette decks, a steady trigger finger, and a lot of love. If you want an excellent read about this stuff, grab Love is a Mixtape.

So, it’s with no small amount of sadness that this is what I saw this morning when I went to listen to Brittany’s latest concoction:


The RIAA shut them down. Probably for something like the Royalty Problem that is also potentially about to shutter Pandora. So, I’m a bit bummed today. We’ve (temporarily) lost a great tool for publishing our feature, (don’t worry, we’ll figure out how to get around it somehow.) but it seems doubly unfortunate that they went after this one.

The mixtape is probably RIAA’s biggest conundrum. It spreads the popularity of various songs and bands, so it’s a lot like radio in terms of its marketing effect, but it’s also a bit like getting something for nothing, and they hate that, because it offends their capitalist sensibilities (hell, it offends mine, but only a little bit, nothing to get all litigious about.) and thus their lawyers and lobbyists go to work. Well, they’ve finally found a way to go after distributed-mixtapes, in a method that seems to be designed at showing these new radio-esque upstarts who’s really running the show.

It’s a shame, really, that internet distribution is subject to a whole level of fees that terrestrial crap radio never has to see or look at in any way. It doesn’t strike me as any less of a promotional venue, but yet, they seem to think it’s a more commercial operation than radio. But, I suppose, when you’re the 800lb gorilla, you get to smash what you want.

I live and work in the District of Columbia. I write at We Love DC, a blog I helped start, I work at Technolutionary, a company I helped start, and I’m happy doing both. I enjoy watching baseball, cooking, and gardening. I grow a mean pepper, keep a clean scorebook, and wash the dishes when I’m done. Read Why I Love DC.

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5 thoughts on “Muxtape, The RIAA and Pandora

  1. This does make me sad. Especially since they were finally stable.

    On their blog, they left this note: “No artists or labels have complained. The site is not closed indefinitely. Stay tuned.”

    I can hope.

  2. I love Pandora. All the albums I’ve bought in the last couple of years have been found as a result of Pandora or friends’ recommendations – not terrestrial radio. It’s such a shame that the RIAA wants to treat them differently. The industry complains that a few mega-stars have to fund all the other bands that don’t make any money, but then fights the most viable options for increasing the exposure of those underperforming artists? It doesn’t make business sense.

  3. I would be incredibly sad if Pandora was ever shut down. The site has learned my musical preferences better than I know them.