You’d think a site like FluxBlog (fluxblog.org) would have shriveled up and blown away by now. With every daily helping of two or three tightly and insightfully annotated indie-pop MP3s he serves up, author Matthew Perpetua all but formally invites the RIAA to come down on him like a ton of unsold Ashlee Simpson CDs. Meanwhile, the latest Wired magazine announces “The End of Radio (As We Know It),” citing everything from online podcasting to digital broadcasting to Howard Stern’s new satellite gig—without once mentioning the quietly innovative listening format FluxBlog pioneered two years ago: the MP3 blog. Between the threat of legal beat-down and the cool indifference of the geek elite, it’s a wonder Perpetua has the stomach to get up in the morning and explain to the world just why it needs to download Norwegian neo-disco diva Bertine Zetlitz’s “Fake Your Beauty.”
But there he is, joined nowadays by a small army of MP3 bloggers numbering in the hundreds. And not only have the lawyers left them more or less in peace, some indie labels and at least one major (Warner Bros.) have tentatively begun to see them as a promotional alternative to tight-assed, Clear Channel-era radio. Generally focused on lesser-known acts, MP3 blogs plainly do record sales less harm than good. And at their best, they offer users a mix of surprise, context, and shared passion that even golden-age-of-FM radio only rarely achieved. Whether it’s the dusty grooves and caffeinated overanalysis of the Cool Out (coolout.blogspot.com) or the rap classics and thug-lite prose of Cocaine Blunts & Hip Hop Tapes (cocaineblunts.com), chances are there’s a blog out there waiting to rock your intensely private musical world. Blogs like these may not be the end of radio as we know it, but if the music business knows what’s good for it, they won’t be going away anytime soon.
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 1, 2005