I've tried to define some of the characteristics that make up 'blog culture', including the ethos of a gift economy, where people are rewarded by recognition and 'in-kind' returns rather than cash, and the focus on the "individual, authentic voice". I've also been one of many to be wary of attempts to undermine this authenticity by marketers.
Now — prompted by an example of pretty crass behaviour by a blogger distributing bootleg recordings — I'm beginning to wonder if my belief in that authenticity may have been a little naive in the first place — a bit like the old white bicycles schemes that started with great intentions only to be undermined by the unscrupulous.
We all know that some artists and bands give explicit or tacit support to fans trading live recordings for profit. I guess the publishers may not always be happy about this, but that never seemed to stop the Grateful Dead. So far, no problem. But some artists make it clear that they object to this, and ask audiences explicitly to refrain from recording live shows.
So here is a blogger that has posted a recording of Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists, with photograph, including a recording of the "statement of policy regarding no photos and no recordings". The "spread the love" text above is taken from this same blog site.
Fripp responds in his online diary:
Mr. Blogger seeks to present himself as a provider of music, a supporter of music & of particular musicians, unconstrained & unmotivated by commerce. This is a lie. He does not have the authority to give away our work. He attracts attention to himself, not for & from his own work & efforts, but by taking & using the work of others, not only without consent but with knowledge of their disapproval. Mr. Blogger is using our work as currency in a scheme of trading & attention-gaining, commerce of a different guise. He demonstrates an example of dishonesty dressed up in fine clothes, and presents himself for public commendation.