Make money, start a blog

There is a reason why mp3 blogs are getting more and more boring these days: they are busy making money. Most mp3 album blogs make a deal with an upload platform, allotting the blogger a small amount of money for 1,000 downloads, that is, 1,000 clicks on their ad-clustered homepage. A recent post on a blog called ‘Jizz Relics” explains the deal: you typically get $15 for 1,000 downloads. If you have, say, 500 albums uploaded with an average of 500-1500 downloads (typical  for a blog), it can yield interesting profits. This explains why so many blogs are launched just to repost CDs or LPs (sometimes several a day!) already posted by non-profit blogs. And imagine the case of film blogs which separate movies into 10 download files…

Back in July 2009, I had a small argument on the Village Voice blog with Eric Lumbleau, who now runs the Mutant Sounds blog created by a certain “Jim” in January 2007. I was shocked to be included in his 5-favorite-blogs list, as it merely included crass commercial blogs proudly displaying Rabbitshare banners on their sidebars. It goes without saying I’ve never been part of that crap. When I started Continuo’s weblog back in 2007, I was inspired by the so-called Sharity blogs movement led by enthusiasts generously sharing incredibly rare records with their readers, with only the hope of a handful downloads. Today’s corrupted mp3 bloggers making money with the music of others are just an insult to this sharity blog ethos. As this seems to be the rule of thumb for blogs on the Blogger platform, I feel fully justified for choosing WordPress in the first place.

Self-promotion, eBay dragging and corruption are the cause of the lamentable state of mp3 blogdom today.

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44 Responses to “Make money, start a blog”


  1. 1 Willie Miller July 2, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    cool guy – thanks and I agree

  2. 2 continuo July 2, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Chances are I won’t get many friends with a post like this, but I had to get it of my chest somehow.

  3. 3 Exeter July 2, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Interesting…. This never occurred to me..
    Thanks for sharing what you do.

  4. 4 Gregory Joseph July 2, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Well, this really explains a lot… there are many mp3 blogs which seem to upload massive amounts of material, with only a small percentage being original ups, with zero information/commentary accompanying posts. boring to read and offensive to the “sharity” community, makes sense that crass economic motivation is in the mix as well.

  5. 5 continuo July 2, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Exactly. To be frank, I don’t feel too comfortable in the White Knight outfit, but the whole mp3 blog community is getting nauseous these days and I wanted to point to this problem. Thanks for your comment, Gregory. Your own blog certainly looks interesting – I will explore it further this weekend.

  6. 6 Kenny July 2, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Just like the rest of the internets, the garbage will be plentiful and a dime-a-dozen. Those looking for garbage will have to sort it out. Those looking for rare, interesting stuff will find yours, as well as other good ones. I discovered Continuo precisely because I was looking for something rare, and no one else had it. It was Ron Kuivila “Alphabet”. Been looking for that for, oh, only about 25 years. Found it here. Thanks!

  7. 7 continuo July 2, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    The confusion is such that telling the sharity blogs from the small business blogs will not be easy.

  8. 8 iskandertime July 3, 2011 at 12:37 am

    I love what you do. I don’t even download much (my interest is in collecting physical LPs) but your photos and commentary are inspiring. Thanks!

  9. 9 chardman July 3, 2011 at 4:34 am

    Brilliant post!
    I suspected as much, but your post really lays it on the line.
    The overall blandness of the sharrity scene in the last few years, coupled with the greediness and lack of gratitude of some downloaders – not to mention legal hassles – finally compelled me to virtually stop all album shares.
    I think the litmus test for a ‘business vs sharrity blog’ might be the relative lack of write-up on the former. I run into lots of blogs that simply repost something that’s readily available elsewhere, with no review, testimonial, etc. whatsoever. Often they’ll lead to the same expired or deleted rapidshare page.

  10. 10 Scott July 3, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Yeah, advertising that way is just plain annoying. Is it even legal though? Watch out! They might cause a crackdown on blog based music sharing someday. Whether your one of these profit motivated bloggers or doing it out of goodwill, for the love of music – all would be group together as cyber bootleggers.

  11. 11 DaveX July 3, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I’d wondered what it was that tied so many music bloggers to their respective sharing platforms– RS, Megaupload, etc… I’d decided that forcing users to buy into these services in order to make full use of the blogs (thus creating a set of “haves” and “have nots”) replaced the fulfillment many collectors get through owning a physical copy of an album.

    I’m inclined to believe you, but yours is a bold claim, so I think it’s up to you to prove it.

    Lastly, what other “sharity” blogs would you recommend?

  12. 12 continuo July 3, 2011 at 7:18 am

    I first heard of all this from a 25-year old colleague at work who asked me: How much money do you make through Continuo’s weblog? – Why, none, of course, I replied. He said one of his friends earns an income from a blog sharing obscure movies from the 1970s and 80s. The guy had relocated to Thailand and makes around $1,000 a month from a well-known download platform he is associated with. So, when I read the Jizz Relics post earlier this month and I remembered some strange things I’d seen on other blogs, I came to the conclusion that this is a fact: some bloggers are only in it for the money. Of course, sorting out the good from the bad will prove difficult in these matters and I’m certainly not going to make a list, though my blogroll on the sidebar looks pretty clean. I’m only suggesting we become aware of what we’re really doing when downloading a disc from a blog.

  13. 13 DaveX July 3, 2011 at 7:24 am

    I can understand that– and truthfully, if that’s what it takes to get some of this material out there, I’m happy it’s finding SOME sort of way to become available. I guess it beats having some rights holder sitting on a handful of tapes decaying in storage!

    But you’re absolutely right about how difficult it can be to figure out who’s who– you weren’t exactly subtle on Jizz Relics in regards to Mutant Sounds, how sure are you on your call?

  14. 14 continuo July 3, 2011 at 7:38 am

    I gave all the evidence I had, Dave. For me, it’s enough to put the entire mp3 blogdom under suspicion.

  15. 15 Harmony! Harmony! July 3, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Good stuff.
    I’ve loved so much of what you’ve uploaded to this site and really appreciate the time and energy that you put into it for no return.
    Personally, I would really like to see a Paypal donation link on your blog. I have found so much wonderful obscure unavailable-through-other-channels music through your blog and blogs like this, that have informed what I do as a composer, a performer and a teacher that I would love to be able to help you continue what you do without getting embroiled in crass commercial exploitation.

  16. 16 steve i July 3, 2011 at 11:24 am

    thank you continuo for this information. your integrity shall remain intact! 36 15 moog has had 5 uploads in three years. what? that alone tells me eric’s comments must be taken, well not at face value. however he ‘games the system’ and all political wrangling aside, mutant sounds does provide a nice service to poor saps like myself.

  17. 17 continuo July 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    @Harmony! Harmony!: I’m actually paid in comments, the button is called “Leave a comment”. Use your money to buy records, not to pay me. I don’t need the extra income. Thanks for offering, though.

    @Steve: there’s no denying Mutant Sounds is digging deeper than most. Still I have a problem with a blogger who is an eBay seller and uses his sharity blog to promote his own records. We all deal in copyright infringement (including me), but some do it with more class than others.

  18. 18 icastico July 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    This post makes me wonder why labels don’t go after the same source of income.

  19. 19 continuo July 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Good point. Maybe they’re still attached to selling music, not clicks.

  20. 20 Don Knotts July 3, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    You’ve posted plenty of great records but goddamn you’re one pompous asshole.

  21. 21 continuo July 3, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Truth hurts, I see.

  22. 22 flageolettebimbo July 3, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    pointless
    to
    say
    my
    camera
    just
    broke
    too

  23. 23 offandgreen July 4, 2011 at 7:25 am

    It’s always the same thing. Must culture or Art and money dance together ? I don’t think the search of money in any cases is the real way of life. Culture and Art are just a question of integrity and honesty in my own opinion.

    Respect.

    La Fresto

  24. 24 Kenneth July 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    I applaud your integrity and the consistent high quality of your blog. It’s indeed one of my favorites, and I have tracked down various hard-to-find items based on what I’ve discovered here. While there is nothing wrong with earning a living doing what you love to do, I think it is quite dishonest to do so with other people’s efforts without obtaining permission first. I have always had mixed feelings about “sharity” blogs because of the permission issue, and I’ve also had my own publications posted on them without my or the artist’s permission; and then when I or other people have asked them to remove files, we’ve either experienced disrespectful arrogance as a reply or no reply at all (without removing the files). For example, I have no qualms saying that whoever runs the Deleted Scenes Forgotten Dreams blog are complete self-righteous assholes in this regard. They also make a great deal of assumptions on the artists’ and the label’s part that they have no knowledge of whatsoever. So thanks again for raising awareness about great obscure music, and also for at least being mindful of abiding by some sort of ethic with your blog.

  25. 25 Kenneth July 7, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    OK, after checking the aforementioned blog for the first time in awhile, I see that they now feature “buy now” links to retail sites for the new entries, so it seems like they at least acquired a conscience somewhere along the line since I dealt with them a few years ago.

  26. 26 continuo July 8, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Mp3 bloggers are generally mere pirates, but it shouldn’t necessarily be so. Personally I wouldn’t post any new release and even CDs are rather infrequent on this blog. But who am I to judge on the ethics of other bloggers?

    My problem is when I see bloggers earning money with illegal mp3s while parading as ‘sharity’ blogs – what kind of charity and what kind of share is this? I certainly don’t want to be associated with corrupted bloggers in the same sentence. And I’m tired of being associated with these people in the eye of the public.

  27. 27 tristan stefan July 8, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    I’m surprised by this like many others, but I agree with aforementioned comments that it explains a lot. Thanks for addressing the issue.

  28. 28 continuo July 9, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Hi, Tristan. Indeed, not every blogger is a dedicated music enthusiast like you! Thanks for your support.

  29. 29 Sebastian Alvarez July 10, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Enlightening! Thank you Mr. Continuo. Agree with you in many points. However, in financially dark moments I think that it would be great to be compensated for the all the hours I spend gathering and curating information. I think it would be fair to receive something in return. I do not share albums but do mixes for my occasional internet radio show. At the end, we are creating a sore of service for our informavore and melomaniac colleagues.

    Is there any way to ethically profit without compromising the aesthetic of our minimally cool ad-free blogs and their purity?

  30. 30 continuo July 11, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I am no oracle, Sebastian, and I have no advice to give you. Trading the music of others is not only copyright infringement, but a misdemeanor and I don’t want my blog to be closed because of the misbehavior of others.
    By the way, have you considered a PayPal button on your site?

  31. 31 Sebastian Alvarez July 11, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Thank you Mr.Continuo. I fully agree with you. I know you are not an oracle (although you give musical answers and illuminate the dark path of music seekers), and I was just posing a rhetorical question. Thank you for the PayPal advice, I was thinking about it.

  32. 32 jizzrelics July 14, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Hi,

    dropping a line just to say:

    go back and dig in my archives, you’ll find not only original rips but also long out of print recordings that bid for 300$ on ebay…
    near every sharing service nowdays offer you some kind of reward… and the profit you make is not even comparable with 1000$ of your buddy…

    listen more music, and shout less

  33. 33 continuo July 14, 2011 at 8:27 am

    It’s a bit late to come whining like a sheep: after all, you blogged about all this before me!

  34. 34 jizzrelics July 14, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    nihil est dictu facilius

  35. 35 vincent July 17, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Never go on jazzrelics blog because it’s not very lively… No writing about the music. The stuff “You might also like” make me feel like a customer of amazon or ebay. And, arg… no comment for anonymous user. To go one’s way.

    Thank you continuo.

  36. 36 hallometsteven August 6, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Good writing… and sincere thinking.
    Wordpress rules!

  37. 37 Reality Check August 30, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    A bottom feeder is a bottom feeder. To a young musician who will never be able to quit their day job, to an older musician stripped of their retirement funds because of the free ubiquity of their labors, you’re all the same.

  38. 38 continuo August 30, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I’m afraid it’s time to update your oh-so-20th-century software: money is not in the hands of record companies anymore, but in the hands of cyberlockers.

  39. 39 hallometsteven August 30, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Wow, most impressing! Thanks for that link.

  40. 40 bx59cppw August 31, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Hi Continuo, things are way more complicated, than what you describe above i’m afraid.

    …what i do agree 100% is your comment that: “The confusion is such that telling the sharity blogs from the small business blogs will not be easy.”

    Regarding every blogger’s ethics though, it gets way far more complicated. For example, i don’t mind at all personally, say if Eric from Mutant Sounds is also an eBay seller. Or anyone else for that matter: i also do sell quite a few stuff from what i’ve ripped and posted: i would estimate that approx 30% of what i got here, i really don’t mind to part from it after all those years… being more than fine with having it only in digitized form. Not mentioning that with that money, always goes into purchasing other records,
    which i couldn’t find in the past… and which i also rip for the rest of people to listen them.

    And to put it in another way: just how many people out there, (reposters excluded), actually share rips of rare and expensive records/tapes? And that is, no matter if they do sell out parts of their collection… In contrast, just how many people, DO spend a few thousand € on eBay every Sunday… but never ever bother of ripping anything, for others out there to be able to at least listen it…

    As for the…”without obvious reason” reposting trend, that started with a few shady warez sites, which used to upload pirated software and recent movie dvd rips. Exactly for the reasons you described above, earning Rapidpoints and then… selling the Rapidshare accounts themselves (!), or money from Filesonice etc etc… It was merely a matter of time until this…trend, (or “trick” if you prefer), would also infect the blogosphere… :-/

  41. 41 bx59cppw August 31, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    …and another “trick” that i encounter every frequently, at least when it comes to some very specific 80s genres… And which comes from people who are… 100% professional + dedicated sellers.

    …first they find something absolutely rare and forgotten, and buy all the stock copies online for pennies. Afterwards,they start “leaking” info about it gradually, ie. first a soundclip preview appears on Youtube, then a Myspace fanpage is also added… someone pops-up later in well-known forums, (or even in blog’ comments!), supposedly requesting / offering lots of bucks for a copy…

    And eventually, it gets blogged somewhere out there… a tremendously “smart” and “easy” way, of driving the online market’s prices way way up… For a…strange reason, the copies that get leaked in the market afterwards (and never for less than for 3-digit prices), always get dispatched from the…same country, ie.the same guys using multiple paypal&ebay accounts…

    Note that there are absolutely no Filesonic-alike tricks, or Google ads and such crap involved here… we’re talking about lots of money here, not just 15$ per month. Just 100% “indirect” hype for beginning, and the exploitation comes afterwards…

  42. 42 continuo August 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I see nothing wrong with someone spotting interesting records and reselling them online, with or without advertisement. These are pragmatic people who will usually sell their records at the price potential buyers are eager to pay them.

    The problem lies when pretending to share free mp3s while actually selling records or cyberlocker traffic.

  43. 43 bx59cppw September 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    …blog hype does drive prices for some records in… non-pragmatic prices though. There are records which have been advertized as extremely limited and rare, currently being sold at… 265-275€ supposedly due to rarity,and on the other hand, it’s…38 people who have it over at Discogs, ie.not exactly that much of a low number i’d say… Plus, copies appear on eBay every 1-2 months…

    Convince people that something cannot be found nowhere for purchasing it…that it is a “holy grail” or so for collectors, and they will run to open their wallet, no matter how rare (or even interesting) that release actually is… After a certain point, buyers are exactly what…”advertisement companies” manipulate them to be… and lots of blogs have become part of their promotional strategy.

    What else to say here…to give you another example, i’ve encountered people with such much of a nerve, that they were mailing & asking me what my next post would be… just in order to be able to vanish copies from the market,and resell them in 3-4 times their price afterwards… For some reason, they had thought that what i blogged at some point was…”mainstream” or so for the used records’ online market…

    What i’m saying is… that the music blogsphere is more or less doomed, besides the cyberlocker traffic… it seems to be more of a business plan nowadays, than just sharing for the fun of it. Or maybe i feel / i am very pessimistic,don’t know…

  44. 44 continuo September 1, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    You depend too much on the Internet for your record purchases. You should try thrift stores and flea markets in order to free yourself from Internet “hype” and Internet price ratings. All my library posts come from thrift stores and flea markets and I never pay them more than 5 euros.


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