Want some free music from EMI? You may remember that EMI is in a legal battle with Michael Robertson and his current company MP3Tunes (well, one of his current companies). MP3Tunes is a music locker. It only lets you upload your own songs, but also does have a search engine, Sideload.com, that will search for freely available music online. As part of the lawsuit, EMI insisted that EMI has never authorized music to be posted for free online, so any and all music from EMI that is found by Sideload must be unauthorized. Except... of course. that's not true. EMI hands out free mp3s to journalists all the time to post, and often has them on their own website. When asked about it, EMI finally admitted to allowing a grand total of three
songs to be distributed freely online.
To prove that EMI was lying, last fall, Michael Robertson offered up a bookmarklet
that people could use to let him know whenever they found free MP3s of EMI music on legitimate sites (mainstream media, artist's own websites, label marketing sites, etc.). That "You Lie, EMI" bookmarklet seems to have worked wonders. Robertson has now collected over 1,400 examples
of EMI giving away free MP3s. He's even put the whole list in a nice Google spreadsheet
, so you can check it out yourself (and even see where EMI has put up free music).
I'm not surprised to see our friend Lily Allen on the list. As you may recall, last fall, right after Lily went on a bit of a rant about the evils of file sharing and distributing unauthorized music, we pointed out that on her official LilyAllenMusic website, she and EMI (who runs the website) were distributing mixtapes
full of songs from EMI artists... and artists from other record labels as well (though, we doubt EMI got the rights to do that).
Either way, nice job crowdsourcing the proof that EMI does, in fact, lie:
This list is just a fraction of the songs EMI makes available, but it's irrefutable that EMI uses free song files as promotion. Astonishingly they are still telling the court that they don't authorize song files to be distributed for free. They are denying these songs are legitimate in spite of overwhelming evidence of MP3 files from retailers, blogs, artist sites, label sites, and marketing sites. Even when you point to one of their own corporate blogs which offers downloads they remain steadfast in their claim that they don't distribute MP3s online for free.
Thanks to the MP3tunes user community, we have powerful evidence to refute EMI's claims that they don't distribute promotional songs. I think it's one of the first examples of crowdsourcing evidence. The evidence was assembled not by parties to the litigation or their legal teams but citizens with a computer and motivation to help out. We'll learn later this year whether it will help MP3tunes prevail.
But weren't we just told by the head of PPL in the UK (home of EMI) that "there is no such thing" as "promotion"
when it comes to music, and "for free" should be erased from our vocabulary. Perhaps that explains EMI's actions. They no longer recognize the concept of free promotion as existing after listening to Fran Nevrkla's speech.