Friday, February 12, 2010

Stones Throw fights the noble fight


C-box, who we use as our primary means for interaction on this site, has frozen the chat box in response to a DMCA complaint. I'm waiting to hear from them specifically, but playing the odds, I'd say it's Stones Throw. [update, 2/13 -- heard from c-box...yes, it was Stones Throw]

I did the math: We've made 878 posts over the 3+ years of the blog, many of them containing multiple albums. That's a LOT of instrumental albums upped. Through the years, we've received a few complaints -- less than a dozen -- and we've always honored artists'/labels' requests.

Personally, I disagree with the premise that you can absolutely control digital media. A site like this attracts tastemakers and dedicated fans of the music that will buy your music after they've heard it -- not encased in the webplayer on your site, but on their ipod or car stereo or whatever. However, artists/labels have a right to be stubborn (unenlightened) about this, as the law as written is with them. Besides, some could give a fuck about communities that form around blogs, and would shrug if they disappeared along with their links.

Enter Stones Throw. They've already acquired a reputation of sorts in how they go after blogs and links, so to some this is no surprise. We've put them on our "Do Not Post" list, although as far as I know, two posts have fallen through the cracks since that policy started in '08 -- and have been taken down immediately upon notification. Admittedly, the c-box is a little harder to police.

The difference between Stones Throw and everyone else is that they immediately go to hosts. I suppose it's efficient from their perspective, if it's all about control. If anything, it reveals their relationship to the culture: they invest a lot of money in their brand and culture, as can be seen on their website. But make no mistake, their version of this culture -- beatmaking -- is branded, copyrighted, and controlled. While they have talented producers on their roster, Stones Throw itself? It's a t-shirt.

So keep fighting the noble fight, Stones Throw -- against well-intentioned communities of artists and listeners in the culture you're trying so hard to brand.

And to everyone here -- beatmakers, fans of instrumental hip-hop -- let's keep this place free of Stones Throw.

55 comments:

Sri said...

some people, am i right?
stones throw still hold a dear place in my heart. there's no doubt that they helped in the creation of this new flavor of alternative hip hop. it's just sad (and counterintuitive) that they don't get how much positive comes out of sites like this one. you guys are helping this movement. no question about it.
but some people...

JL said...

It's too bad this happened, but stones throw, like most labels, put business interest in front of art. What they need to realize, though, is that art can live for hundreds of years, whereas, most brands fade away and leave nothing of any significance.

Anonymous said...

Listen,
as much as I get out of mp3 blogs, I'm fine with labels shutting down posts/links to their stuff. It's easy from a fan's perspective to say "they're selling out, they're just all about money, what happened to the art, etc. etc." But how are they to put out future releases and sign future artists if everybody gets their stuff for free and illegally? If you have a good answer to that, one that will mean money for Stones Throw to keep putting out awesome stuff and pay their arists while letting all of us get it for free, please let me know. Unfortunately, I don't think you do.

At a certain point, if you want quality, you have to pay something for it.

beat-ape1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beat-ape1 said...

If it wasnt for mp3 sharing, I and lots of other european people would never heard about stonesthrow and there for would have never bought there music! its just hypocritical.

But we all know who is going to lose this fight right? :)

djespionage said...

@Sri & JL -- agreed.

@Anonymous --
I don't know that I'd want to argue with your logic as you've presented it. Several comments, though:

1) Attacking a link or a post is different than trying to shut a blog/community down. I think it's disingenuous for Stones Throw to suggest that they differentiate between the two, as most do.

2) From the label perspective, your argument holds. From the artist's perspective, it doesn't. Pretty Lights is a perfect example of understanding and adapting to this new reality. He gives away all his albums for free (although some voluntary pay for them) and BANKS on his live performances.

3) Even though I think your argument holds, I think it relies on the key assumption that once people have a digital copy (i.e. they received for free), they would never pay money for the same product -- for a physical copy, or another digital copy. I don't agree with this at all, but there are no definitive studies either way on this issue -- I'm reasoning from my own experience and those I know.

The argument I make in my post (on which we might simply disagree) is that the new reality is that a lot of heads will only buy it after they've given it a thorough listen. NOT on a label's site, or streaming on the net, but on their own terms. I don't equate this with "giving everything away for free".

One solution? Labels make low-quality (<128 kb/s) mp3's available of everything. If it's dope, listeners will pay for physical or high-quality digital copies.

Anonymous said...

You would be surprised how many people would be fine with 128.

While I agree with Anon that yeah, it's Stones Throw's stuff and they can delegate distribution however they please, I also believe in esp's 1) point. Going right to Google when there's a "hey ask us and we'll take it down" policy is overkill; to then email after is dick-ish.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's easy for you guys to talk shit but try putting yourselves in their position. Music is what pays their bills. These guys aren't balling by any means, they don't own homes, don't drive Bentley's, and don't have sneaker collections that take up an extra room. It's INDEPENDENT music. Stonesthrow undoubtedly puts out great music, so is it too hard to comprehend that in order to keep putting out good music they need SUPPORT. What if they went to the McDonalds that you work at, ordered a #2, and just walked out? And then you tell them to pay for it and they said "Quit acting like a bitch"

DJ lucki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DJ lucki said...

whoa!

thats some deep shit man,
i knew it was bad,but not sooo deep.

gheeez.

Anonymous said...

I agree, their tactics are pretty aggressive but at the same time, that Oh No project just came out. I can understand a post of some rare Beatnuts instrumentals that were only pressed on vinyl in 1996 but a project that just came out? At least give them a chance to make something off the project

kartmanius said...

I was a fan of stones throw, but after this I'll never buy anything from them. this shit is really fucked up, if someone wants to download your music for free, they'll find a way. Threatening to shut down a blog like this is just a desperate move, they must understand that people who visit this blog actually BUY music. Whatever, stones throw no more.

i dunno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
i dunno said...

Wait, there's a Do Not Post list? How can I get one of those?

And peep esp's first point again (or the bottom of the main page). We don't mind it if they ask to take the link down. As probably the biggest offender in Stones Throw's eyes, I never once had one of their links taken down by request. Those links go down fast and I would upload again. However, whenever I get a link edited via request, I simply don't bother to put up the artist's stuff again.

As far as how ST should handle its business, I don't have a real answer there. I don't own/can't afford every album I've ever downloaded, which a label may see as lost money. But free mp3s of the Jaylib and Madvillain projects led to me buying both albums and a lot more of the label's material.

Espiv said...

Stones Throw has been at war with HHB(the other blog I contrib to) for years now, it's funny the fight will never end. Soooo on that note, im not gonna join in the banter about them, but I do agree with alot of points made.

On a side-note, does anyone have a rapidshare account they can share with me (myspace.com/espivmusic) - My motherboard fried on my primary PC, which i've not been able to recover the data off the HD(hopefully it's doable without spending the amounts I was quoted). I recently found out "external harddrives" can fail too, and the one with all my instrumentals (over 8500) were on it. So yeah - it'd really help me if someone could let me use their RS acct for a bit to try and recoup some things on my laptop.

Thanks.
-Espiv
espiv@freestylemadness.com
myspace.com/espivmusic

Anonymous said...

i gotta pee.

Anonymous said...

It's not like this site is taking away Stones Throw ability to eat, instead it's actually pushing out its popularity. If they wanted it off the site, all the had to do was make a request and that's it. Instead of acting like some snob ass bitches and going straight to the host. That's like snitching on ya boi to the police instead of talking to him directly. We all respect the music here and to me this blog's sole intent is to push the beats further and give publicity to some unknown heads. Like JL said, these cats are putting business in front of art and sound like some straight bitches.

Anonymous said...

Fuck Stones Throw, niggas wanna try and shut down a blog that's actually trying to help them out. This makes niggas want to bootleg ya shit more now because if we want to download it, we will. I wouldn't dl ya shit now anyways, bitch ass niggas.

i dunno said...

@Espiv: All hard drives are ticking time bombs. It always sucks when you gotta find out the hard way.

Also, check the email.

Anonymous said...

Ok ive been comin to this blog for quite somtime now...i love listening to all the random beat tapes from all the beat makers out there...and as mentioned in ur post if its to my taste i usually go out and buy or buy online...so if anything happens to this blog I will be highly upset because I have not been to any other blogs even similar to this one. That being said, idk whats up with stones throw...why are they soo heavy on this getting links and blogs shut down. I mean dont get me wrong Im a huge fan of many artist on stones throw, but the way they go about takin links down really is ridiculous. I live in a small town with no kind of record store and I have no car...so it's really hard to find some of ST records sometimes... But hey its whatever u know I understand it's business and everything...but this really makes me question ST and if I should continue to support them...

vincentlopez said...

The more I hear about this kind of stuff, the more I hate record labels. They just don't get it. People will find a way to listen to the music they want.

Anonymous said...

That would really suck if this blog gets shut down , thanks to Strictly Beats I got put on to alot of dope beat makers that otherwise I would have never head of .

Jaap said...

Stones Throw puts out a lot of original instrumental HipHop albums, not just instumental versions of rap albums. Posting some old skool beat tape or a collection of instrumentals that wasn't commercially realeased or hasn't been availbale for a long time is a very different thing than offering someone else's new album as a free download. I don't think they really need it either as their (free) podcast is regularly updated and highly succesfull and you can often find sample tracks on their own site. they give away tons of free stuff themselves, is it too much to ask a few buck for the actual releases?

But that's mostly beside the point anyway. You're not in a position to give away their music regardless of your personal stance on the issue. Even if you believe you're promoting them it's a type of promotion they obviously do not want and have never asked for. If you have a beef with ST then just stop doing them 'favors'.

I agree that going directly to servers and not site-owners isn't the most classy way, and could damage a lot of hard and well-meaned work by bloggers. But trying to make ST look like some evil corporation out to shill T-Shirts is a big misrepresentation of an independent label trying to push quality music. You could just as easily describe this blog as someone trying to generate traffic to his site by giving away somebody else's hard work. Or is that an oversimplification?

Anonymous said...

@jaap

We understand your point, but why couldn't you just send a request and we'd have it taken down within the hour. Instead yall act like some straight bitches and go straight to the host. Not cool nigga, and as for generating traffic? I doubt this site needs any stone throw's album to generate more traffic than it already gets.

Mastero said...

I agree with Jaap forreal, but the method in which Stones Throw is handling it is still childish... I mean, just because they don't like the kind of publicity they get from here doesn't mean they have to ruin it for those that do.. this place is a haven for producers just tryna get their name out.. if they had a problem, should have just dealt with the strictly beats staff, cuz higher authorities delete blogs for this reason every day, I doubt they'd give a flying fuck about the GOOD this one does for the beat making community as a whole. deplorable shit.

djespionage said...

@Jaap:

your points are fair. bringing up digital rights management in the post seemed necessary, but it always muddies the argument. it's pretty useless to argue in this forum about whether a copyright holder should get paid for and control their music. yes, they should.

to your last point: it would be an oversimplification to paint Stones Throw as an 'evil corporation out to shill t-shirts'. but the point of the post was to highlight Stones Throw's approach, which is systematic and indiscriminate.

you can disagree with the inference i've made about what that says about how they view blog communities (i.e. 'extensions of the culture they commodify')...the reality could be that whoever's in charge of making these decisions just isn't "classy" -- which is an understatement as much as "evil corporations" was an overstatement of my point.

Anonymous said...

Very hypocritical on stones throw's part, I don't know if anyone remembers the compilation of madvillainy samples that spread through the internet not too long ago. As soon as Stones Throw found out that was going around, PB wolf sent a nice message pleading the person who hosted it to take it down, saying things along the lines of "We're just trying to release good music, and we can't afford to clear all of these samples". I doubt that half of madlib/ect. samples have even attempted to be cleared, how can you play the we're trying to make money card when they haven't payed the real musicians who contributed to make the good music that they put out, people who have had no recognition whatsoever.

Earl said...

I can't believe this is even being debated!!!!!!!!! Your posting FULL albums on a site that reaches people around the world FOR FREE! How is Stones Throw or even the biggest labels going to make money? I'll answer that for you, THERE NOT! Which is why the music industry is suffering. Record stores are closing left and right. All this file sharing and giving everything away is prohibiting labels from signing the kind of artists you feature on this very blog. Infact, it hurts hip hop more than the wack hip hop thats out there now. If you like an artist, but their music!

L said...

@earl

Your point is almost irrelevant, the truth is, Stone Throw acted like some bitches and contacted the host instead of contacting the dudes from the blog directly. No shit, music hasn't been selling but this site was made to distribute unknown people and keep an archive of beats. If stonethrow doesn't want the beats on the site, then fine- we take them off. Easy at that, but instead they try and get this blog shut down by acting like some shady bitches. Everything you say is irrelevant, and nothing can change that point.

And as for hurting artist? I believe your fucking retarded. Half these artist here wouldn't even be known outside of there basement, this site gives the opportunity for some artist to get there name out there. Remember, people actually SUBMIT beats they want on this site. Easy as that, strictlybeats is not prohibiting no one from being able to get signed. So not only do you not know what your talking about, you must not know nothing about the music industry either. Also, as for selling cds, some of us actually buy cd's from the secluded beat makers that are unknown.


Also, it's the internet age. If we want an album we'll have it. Simple as that, nothing you do, or say, can prevent that. Instead, of encouraging a helpful site like this that does that opposite of leeching. It actually respects artist wishes and trys help spread songs for some otherwise unknown heads. So before you leave another retarded comment, I hope you read everything said above.

L said...

"Personally, I disagree with the premise that you can absolutely control digital media. A site like this attracts tastemakers and dedicated fans of the music that will buy your music after they've heard it -- not encased in the webplayer on your site, but on their ipod or car stereo or whatever. However, artists/labels have a right to be stubborn (unenlightened) about this, as the law as written is with them. Besides, some could give a fuck about communities that form around blogs, and would shrug if they disappeared along with their links."

Says it best.

Ryan said...

Earl don't act like a cockhead. This needs to be debated and there are interesting points to each side.

I do think that if PB did say that shit about sampling it does seem out of line and hypocritical. Using other peoples music without payment or credit is just as disrespectful as someone who downloads without any intention of paying for music.

Anonymous said...

damn. ill most likely never get that lootpack soundpieces then! bummer, has some of the illest beats on that album. always went on the hunt for it but come up emtpy handed. its a shame.

Anonymous said...

2 cent time: I can't see how you can be mad at ST for their actions: you're giving away their shit. I've had the good fortune to open for PB Wolf and spend a day digging with him: this is a down to earth, humble guy who has, with the help of a ton of talented people, managed to build a pretty amazing little empire. But as has been pointed out, they're not getting rich. I love MS - I think it's the shit and I've learned about a lot of producers I never would have heard about otherwise. But while I think that keeping MS free of ST is the right move, talking shit on them is not. These people have kids and mortgages and all the other shit we all have to deal with.

Smh said...

^- ?



Still doesn't justify the way the handled the situation. They acted like some faggots instead of just asking. Like some guy said above, this site isn't taking noones ability to eat or feed they're kids. To the contrary, and in the end- all they have to do is ask and it's gone. Nevertheless, you'll probably never see another ST shit on this site.


Fuckin bitches.

Anonymous said...

First off, f*** STONES THROW! Madlib, Peanut Butter Wolf, etc. were all bootleggers! Madlib was bootlegging J dillas beats, and rappin to it! This is how they found each other!

Then Stones Throw has the nerve to come around and punish the bootlegging community! What is this behavior!? Bootlegging is what helped J dilla, madlib, PB Wolf, and others connect!

Someone put a hit on every one of dem ni66as!! We stones throw killas!!

Anonymous said...

"Like some guy said above, this site isn't taking noones ability to eat or feed they're kids"

How the fuck do you know this?

It's hilarious that a bunch of fucking 15 year-old are on here talking about "faggot" this and "bitch" that. How many of you motherfuckers own labels - real, actual labels, not some CDR "look at my myspace" bullshit?

The only bitches on here are the ones complaining about this shit. Like some guy said - if you want a record, you're going to find it somewhere. Buncha lazy fucking serato motherfuckers.

goodwill said...

some might say don't throw stones from a glass house. no pun intended, really....

and honestly, i respect people, in this case stones throw, even when i disagree with a detail of the issue (only because of what boat i'm in), they've recreated the music, they've put the money up to distribute it and they as artists have toured and poured blood sweat and tears into something i've grown to really appreciate.

the way i see it is emcees need instrumentals and dj's need acapellas. for me that's all there is to it, but no matter what if a group/artist/ label asks me to leave them out of the equation then by all means, that's what i'll do.

Anonymous said...

didn't read all the comments so this might've been said but...

MOST OF THE ARTISTS ON STONES THROW SAMPLE OTHERS PEOPLES MUSIC AND SELL IT

A MAJORITY OF STONES THROW"S UNDERLYING MUSIC WAS INITIALLY CREATED BY SOMEONE ELSE

THEY DO NOT CLEAR SAMPLES....THEREFORE THAT'S STEALING

AND THEN THEY GET MAD WHEN PEOPLE STEAL THEIR MATERIAL????

HA!!! WELCOME TO HIPHOP!!!

Anonymous said...

Um, in regard to ^^^...

How do you know they don't clear their samples?

Secondly, I don't think anyone on here would accuse ST of just jacking loops, in fact quite the opposite. Thus you're getting into an artistic vision and fair use discussion, and quite frankly, I think it's a bit over your head.

Anonymous said...

@someguyabove

Your point seems so far off. It's obvious you know nothing about the industry and how it operates if you think a blog is taking away ST sales. Have you noticed half of us here are actually the ones here who buy the records? Your idiotic, and arguing with you is like having a conversation with a rock.

Anonymous said...

@^^^

While I don't claim to be an expert, I've put out records, opened for some fairly well known people (J5, Sharon Jones, De La Soul, Budos Band, PB Wolf, etc) and written for some well know publications. That said, how do you know what the net loss to a label might be due to illegal file sharing? You don't have a clue, and I dare you prove otherwise. Secondly, you ask if I've noticed that (supposedly) people on here buy the records...um, what? A) how do you know that, B) how would I know that? Care to prove that? I'll put my vinyl collection up against anyones. I'm not against file sharing at all, I do it all the time. But if a label asks you to stop, I can't see how you can complain. "What!?! They won't give me their shit for free!?! BOO HOO!"

Lastly, before you go around calling people idiotic, you might want to grasp the difference between "your" and "you're."

Anonymous said...

LOL i havent purchased a Stones Throw product, EVER. I don't ever plan to. But I'm a big fan of their music, and I do show up to their shows, provided that it's free. I dont care about PB Wolf, Madlib, or any of their families and their financial needs. They could starve for all I care. I just like the music, and like any other music listener, if I can obtain this music for FREE, then i'll do it. They can threaten all they want- but at the end of the day, resourceful heads like myself will ALWAYS find a way. To download the albums, and to redistribute it to the people that are also frustrated with links that get shut down. Its nothing. Deleting links is only a temporary obstacle. It's just a challenge. "Boo hoo! We're starving independant artists! Pity US!" ROFLMAO they'll never get a penny from me.

Much respect to this blog. Peace

Anonymous said...

"i havent purchased a Stones Throw product, EVER. I don't ever plan to. But I'm a big fan of their music, and I do show up to their shows, provided that it's free. I dont care about PB Wolf, Madlib, or any of their families and their financial needs. They could starve for all I care."

So let me see if I grasp your argument: You don't pay for their music, you only go to shows if they're free, and you could care less about the artists as people.

Ok, got it. What I don't get is why you think that, given the above, Stones Throw should give two shits about you or people like you, or let you have their music for free...is it hard being fifteen where you live?

Anonymous said...

"What I don't get is why you think that, given the above, Stones Throw should give two shits about you or people like you, or let you have their music for free..."

ROLFMAO @ this fan club president trying to win brownie points. I never said Stones Throw should give two shits about anything. I couldn't care less. My point, you idiot, was that no matter how hard they try to stop their music from getting into my hands or into the hands of my vast file-sharing network: they will never eliminate it all. It's hopeless. Sure, they can threaten these blogs, which does suck- but to me, personally? Doesn't mean a thing. I've been spending the last few days uploading multiple links to hundreds of people, which haven't been shut down yet! The Oh No compilation, the Strong Arm Steady instros, the Medicine show etc. Anything new they come out with, people like ME will get it for free eventually, and distribute it to people who don't pay for music. The only difference now, is that I will GO OUT OF MY WAY to deliberately bootleg their music and purposely steal food off their plate. Them? They are whiny complaining b1tches trying to survive and salvage any last penny from loyal fans. Me? I'm having fun spreading their music for people to listen to. I don't care how long Madlib sits in his studio for, or how hungry Peanut Butter Wolf's children are. I don't care for them as people or human beings. Just make the damn music. They've been able to create new stuff for years, being as 'broke' as they are- if they are true artists, they wont stop doing what they love just because they aren't getting paid for it LOL. At the end of the day, they are fighting a LOSING FIGHT, and the bootleggers they are trying to battle- are just having fun at their expense. Playing their FREE music as the soundtrack to their failure. R.I.P Stones Throw. Thanks for the free music! Shut down 1 link, I'll upload 10 more. All in a days work.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You've really shown me. What a underground rebel you are.

Keep it up! Sock it the man! We're all very impressed.

Anonymous said...

BOO HOO do you realize that you got stones throw pubic hairs hanging out the side of your lip, cocksucker?

*downloads and redistributes 'Madlib-Medicine_Show_No._3_Beat_Konducta_In_Africa-2010.zip' ha ha ha ha ha

Anonymous said...

Aw shit! You've anonymously called me a "cocksucker."

You've done it again, malibu's most wanted.

Unda said...

Stones Throw contacted our blog Blunt Guts Nation also, they asked us to take our links down, and boom they were down, no problem. I love Stones Throw, and I have nothing but good things to say about them. PB Wolf is a nice, humble guy, as well as Dam Funk & Hawthorne.

As a producer/label owner myself, I look up to Stones Throw! I can't believe people are on here bitching just because they wanted their links down. Yes, maybe they could've went about it a different way, but it's THEIR music. How can you expect more quality releases if they aren't seeing any money due to free file sharing?

I'm all for file sharing too, in the c-box I just file shared my own album.

You know what else is funny? Stones Throw gives away FREE tracks ALL the time. Yes, FREE! I just downloaded 2 free Beat Konducta from Africa tracks, from STONES THROW themselves @ their site. So when they release an album/track for sale, show some love and support! BUY IT! Don't you want more quality music coming out?

Don't you realize that more people are prone to BUY Lady GaGa's album but download Madlib's for free? Something is really wrong here, and we can't blame anybody but ourselves, the FANS.

Peace & Love to all beatheads, Strictly Beats, & Stones Throw. Support the independents if you want this culture to flourish.

Unda
bluntgutsnation.com
genmx.com

djespionage said...

@Unda

I think the discussion has gone in a lot of different directions from the original thread, which is fine, but the point was to highlight Stones Throw's approach, not their right to ask to take links down.

When an artist or label asks to take a link down, we do it. It's that simple. No complaints.

Instead, they didn't bother to send me an e-mail until after they went to our hosts. I thought everyone in the community needed to know about the approach they were taking. They see it as more efficient to shut down this blog than to send me/us an email.

All the other arguments going on here are peripheral, and it's clear we all won't agree. But this central point seemed pretty reasonable to call Stones Throw out on, as it's basically telling online communities to fuck off in order to save someone at their office a minute or two on the computer.

Unda said...

@ djespionage

Understood. Much love to y'all and the rest of the Strictly Beats team.

R.I.P. Nujabes!

Anonymous said...

Aaagh the irony.A bunch of guys who make money off other peoples copywrited material...

Anonymous said...

so why stones throw bringin some serato vinyls out? so why they are using samples and dont pay for them but wanna get paid for their records?
stones throws career build on not cleared samples, tons of it.
sick society

Anonymous said...

forget them, they suck, wack beats!

free beats and instrumentals said...

Stones Throw are acting pretty suckerish!

c byrne said...

st are hypocrites - so i refuse to buy their sh!t