NEW YORK (Billboard) - By now the practice has become old hat: an eagerly anticipated album gets distributed and devoured by MP3 bloggers before it ever hits stores. But when Columbia Records released Beyonce’s “B’Day Anthology Video Album” on April 3, it marked a rare instance of a similar phenomenon happening with a music DVD.
A new breed of music bloggers, focused as much on downloadable music videos as on audio files, had gotten hold of clips ripped from an advance version of the video “album” and were posting them in the iPod Video-friendly MPEG-4, or MP4, format.
The trend appears to be a looming headache for the recording industry as it continues to attempt to convert music videos into a revenue stream, whether it’s through sales of videos via iTunes or through new ad-supported models from YouTube.
Among the sites posting clips were the blogs New Music Now, Ali’s Blog and Music for All, which were offering the videos via file-transfer sites like rapidshare.com, evilshare.com and megaupload.com.
Reps from all three blogs could not be reached for comment. Columbia execs also did not return calls.
MP4 blogs, while still very much in the minority, may represent the next chapter in music blogging -- one where bloggers and their audience consider video as collectible as MP3s.
Call it an outgrowth of the rising distribution of video-enabled iPods. One such blog, offering downloads of videos from Christina Aguilera, Madonna and Natasha Bedingfield, even calls itself iPod Videos and More. Another, iPod Videos and MP3s, has Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” video; Fire Videos First -- For All Your iPod Videos! -- has new clips from Ne-Yo and My Chemical Romance.
Just where MP4 bloggers get their content is unclear. While labels often service music to popular MP3 blogs, much of the content on the MP4 blogs at this point appears to be rips from MTV, BET and other third parties.
“This is a distinct segment of the blogsphere,” says Mark Ghuneim, CEO of Wiredset, a New York-based digital marketing consulting firm. “They are more focused on attention and traffic than the usual suspects of bloggers who have started to play well with media practices.”
Unlike most popular MP3 blogs, which tend to skew toward indie rock and hip-hop, MP4 blogs are decidedly pop-oriented.
Editor of music news blog Coolfer.com Glenn Peoples says, “These sites show music blogging is going more mainstream in taste. It’s not just for indie-rock fans.”