Warner’s Tryst With Bloggers Hits Sour Note

Posted by joy


From The NY Times

Earlier this month, Warner became the first major record label to ask MP3 blogs to play its music. The blogs - which are relatively new but increasingly popular - are personal Web sites that offer music criticism right next to the actual music, in the form of downloadable MP3 files.

But as is sometimes the case when marketers try to insinuate themselves into online communities, the company’s approach did not go as planned. Warner… ran into a culture clash with the small world of MP3 blogs, annoying some of the very people it wanted to win over, especially after one or more people at Warner apparently posted anonymous messages to make it appear that ordinary music fans were defending the label.

In the week after the song was posted on Music for Robots, a message board on the site attracted some thoughtful commentary on Warner’s move. But a few comments, posted under several different names, stood out because they looked like something one might read on a teen-pop fan site.

A check of site records by Mr. Willett revealed that all four of the suspect comments had been posted from the same Internet Protocol address, indicating that they came from the same computer or from a computer within the same company. That address was also the source of two e-mail messages that Ms. Bechtel sent to a reporter, as well as the original messages sent to the bloggers.

The entertainment industry has for some years been going into chat rooms and message boards to promote its products. But Ms. Bechtel said this kind of activity was not part of the Secret Machines campaign. She said the comments could have been posted independently by fans of the band who worked at the company.

Mr. Willett said that it was obvious the favorable comments on his site had not been left by “real people,” and that they had soured his opinion of Warner Brothers’ Internet efforts. “I know we’re dealing in relatively uncharted territory here, but I’d expect a slightly different level of participation,” he said. “We’re not an AOL chat room.”

Hehe. The article summary could be written as “Music blogger pays attention to site stats, exposes amateurish attempts of BigMusicCo to gain blogger cred.” It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who looks at site stats. After a bit of googling, I have found the Music for Robots Sells Out post for your edification and intellectual curiosity.

(One would think that the NY Times would maybe perhaps link the darn post they’re discussing, but apparently the idea of “contextual hyperlinking on the Web” hasn’t reached their online editors yet. )


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