[intro] The Hype Machine is one of the most innovative web music services I've seen, and it's already being touted as Napster 3.0. But will it be silenced due to copyright issues? [/intro]
At the risk of treading on Tom Wiggins' tiny (yet abnormally hairy) toes, I'm singing the praises of another music service on the web – but I just had to. It's brilliant.
You know how it is – you spend hours every night scouring the web looking for elusive Fall bootlegs, only to find the same unrewarding search results and blind alleys in Google.
The Hype Machine is a visionary new service that scours music blogs for results that only include links to MP3 files, thus filtering out most of the nonsense and yielding results that can be played directly from your chosen music player. As a sidebar it'll also order the most relevant YouTube video footage.
So far, so neat. But here's the best bit: you can then create RSS feeds for any artist or group that you choose, meaning that new MP3s posts will be updated on a daily basis – straight to your player if you like. So eventually Mark E Smith belting out 'The Man Whose Head Expanded' from a tapezine in 1986 will be yours with minimum fuss.
Now, because you're not going to know the source of your MP3s, you're not going to know if they're legal or not. But, as The Hype Machine is quick to point out, it doesn't host any files and is designed as a (legal) tool to direct people to great new music. I'm still sure that when the music industry gets a whiff of this one, there will again be a jerk of a collective knee. Still, I can't help dreaming of a great big musical online love-in, and The Hype Machine bring us one step closer to that – for now at least...