Major Labels

Crowd Sourcing EMI’s 1369 Lies

image from Michael Robertson Crowd Sources MP3Tune's Legal Defense

When EMI sued founder Michael Roberston startup MP3Tunes complaining about it's music search engine Sideload that links to publicly available songs, they claimed that they never put music files online as free downloads. Therefore, according to EMI, all songs on Sideload are unauthorized and the site is promoting piracy. 

To point out the absurdity of the claim (What label doesn't give away some music for promotional purposes?), Robertson asked the site's users to help find example of EMI songs available as promotional downloads online. A few months later, they've collected 1369.

EMI Still In Denial plus The List Of Free Songs

To be fair, Robertson's list has not been vetted by a third party, and it could include some songs not authorized by EMI.  But most come from reputable blogs and sites who work hard to only offer legal downloads.

"This list is just a fraction of the songs EMI makes available, but it's irrefutable that EMI uses free song files as promotion," says Robertson. "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… I think it's one of the first examples of crowd sourcing evidence."

Organized as a Google spreadsheet and complete with links, here is the list of EMI songs available as free downloads.

To Offer Free 10G Music Lockers

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  1. Yeah, but what is the total number of EMI owned songs that Sideload finds? I bet it is far greater than the 1369 reported in the spreadsheet. Regardless of EMI’s claim about it’s MP3 policy, does this tool infringe on their rights?

  2. Michael Robertson has a long track record of engaging in copyright infringement. The fact that hypebot has decided to side with him rather than EMI,a company that actually invests money in young,talented musicians, illustrates everything that is wrong with this site.

  3. I have no interest in being an apologist for the short-sighted business practices of major labels, but even a cursory glance at this list makes it clear that it’s riddled with errors and mistakenly attributed songs. Right in the first part of the list – 50 Cent, Big Boi, Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, Bob Mould – none of them is under EMI Music.
    A little grain of salt perhaps? Buying unquestioningly into the “major labels are always evil in everything they do” groupthink doesn’t really help advance the discussion…

  4. He’s following the same business model for which he sold (if I recall) to Universal Music and now owned by CBS. So maybe EMI’s competitor will buy MP3Tunes, leaving EMI in the dust (again).

  5. I followed up on “Believe Only”. The quality of this data looks very bad. I just spot-checked five artists who I have been known to listen to:
    Example: Richard Thompson, “She Said It Was Destiny” – that song is from the album “The Old Kit Bag,” some years after Thompson left his EMI contract.
    Example: there is a line for R.E.M. with no songs listed. R.E.M. has never been associated with EMI, and their current deal is with Warner.
    Example: the Beausoleil track is from a Yep Roc label (indie) album.
    Example: Regina Spektor’s “Us” appears to be on the Sire label, again a Warner imprint.
    Example: The James McMurtry tracks are from his release “Just Us Kids” which was independent. McMurtry was once on Sony, then on small or indie labels – never EMI
    That’s 0 for 5 on a semi-random spot check of artists I am familiar with.
    DID ANYONE CHECK THIS DATA? If Robertson files this in court he’ll be shredded by EMI’s lawyers.

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