Dead: Australia’s Best Music Blog

Yesterday Google removed one of Australia’s top 5 music blogs—the best, in my humble opinion—after repeated complaints from labels and web sheriffs. On the surface, it appears Google shouldn’t be blamed for removing unlicensed material (like mp3s) and their stance on copyright infringements are clearly stated in their Blogger Terms of Service…or should they? There’s a lot more to the situation.

“I kept getting posts taken down even though they were years old, with dead links. And then there were too many warnings/complaints. They shut it off”, the blog’s creator Dave Ruby Howe explained. As Editor for and contributor to a host of respected music and cultural media bodies, Dave spends most of his waking hours fertilising the music industy flowerpot. So why would he post post illegal mp3s on his personal blog…?

Ned Dwyer, a digital strategist at Fremantle Media’s Forum5 and contributor to top Australian music blog Electrorash, sets it straight.

As an editor at Sound Alliance, Mass Hyperbole’s Dave Ruby Howe is a digital influencer, like it or not. Google/Blogger have removed everything that Dave has posted on Mass Hyperbole over the last three years and he’s now starting from scratch. A lot – if not all – of that content was legitimately supplied by artists and labels. Google talks about being open and against censorship but I don’t think they’re doing enough to work with blogs like Dave’s to strike a balance between protecting the interests of rights holders and promoting new artists through structured releases online.

Despite the endorsed/legitimate supply of artists’ material to bloggers like Dave, industry bodies (and some labels) still appear determined to squeeze a dollar out of every average joe –no matter what the cost to the health of the industry. It would be naive to consider that anyone of them have read (or care to read) the commentary of David Kusek and artists like MC Lars.

The removal of Mass Hyperbole ironically coincides with Google reaching out to a number of high profile music bloggers for feedback on the next version of the Blogger platform. The bloggers I spoke to are all honoring their non-disclosure agreement, so no other information is currently available. But it certainly makes you wonder whether the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.

What next? What now?