Twitter Tuesday - Twitter and the Music Industry Edition
The National, a band with a huge fanbase and plenty of critical acclaim, found themselves at the center of Twitter's first DMCA controversy this week. Twitter responded to a DMCA request and took down a tweet linking to an mp3 from the band's upcoming album. This is a big deal for two reasons. One, this is the first high-profile case of a DMCA takedown of a tweet, and two, the mp3 had been legitimately released by the band's PR people.
The National themselves didn't know anything about the incident, which leads me to believe that the DMCA request came from the record label. Tweets can be just as good as blogs when it comes to promoting leaked or otherwise illegal mp3s, so Twitter is at a crossroads here: do they push back, or let the labels run the show? They're going to have to decide whether to defend the mp3 blog culture -- which can sometimes be very helpful to artists -- or whether to err on the side of the takedown, as Google has been doing with Blogger blogs. .
Meanwhile, cellist Zoe Keating (aka @zoecello) has figured out a way to trade her music for promotional tweets. In this clever new model, you can grab a song for free by sending out a tweet that links back to the artist. This is so brilliant in its simplicity that I can't believe nobody thought of it earlier.
As with mp3 blogs, fans still get free music. Unlike with mp3 blogs, though, the artist knows that each downloader will be contributing to her word of mouth. The code to make this happen is free, so any artist can take advantage of it, and it's now available for both Twitter and Facebook. Maybe the major labels wouldn't be failing if they were working on something like this instead of clinging to a dead model and sending wanton DMCA notices.
Not every musician believes in the power of Twitter, though. John Mayer recently declared Twitter "over" as a form of communication because there are simply too many "haters" for the service to be useful anymore. He said he'd rather see it used as a "corkboard" for links to interesting things. Hey, John, have you heard of Delicious? or Google Reader's shared items? Oh, wait ... you wouldn't reach over a million fans that way. Maybe Twitter's good for something after all, eh?
Well, that's your special music industry edition of Twitter Tuesday. Tune in next week when we get back to apps, rumors, and the latest news from the Twitter mother ship!