Sympathy for RapGenius

Yes.  You read that correctly.

As I stated before I never wanted to see go away or get shut down.  I just wanted to see them get licensed.  And I was pleased to see that they decided to sit down with The National Music Publishers Association and work out licenses.

But then I see this story.

RapGenius engaged in some “black hat” spammy SEO (search engine optimization) and they got caught.   And now Google has demoted them. Rather than ranking number #1-5 on lyric searches as they did in many searches I conducted, they are now on page 7!

Not search result #7!  Page 7!  Has anyone ever scrolled 7 pages into search results?

Industry pundits claim this is an effective “death sentence” for the site. And I bet they are right.  According to Vice and Quantcast they’ve lost 80% of their web traffic in days!!

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So think about it.

RapGenius violated the Search Engine Optimization rules arbitrarily set by a private company Google.  A set of rules Google itself  appears to routinely violate to push it’s own property YouTube up in search results.

RapGenius didn’t violate any real law created by an elected legislative body when they did this.  But now they are considered “toast”

So do we really want a monopolistic über politically connected company like Google to be this powerful?  To have life or death power over any and all websites? No trial, no jury, no appeals process, no nothing.

Face it people the web is ruled by an autocratic, unelected and unaccountable search engine.

What happens to freedom of expression when you have a search engine that is this powerful?

Fuck that, what happens to democracy?  If a candidate proposes something that Google doesn’t like will that candidate’s website suddenly sink to page 7?  (And the first 6 pages are filled with links to negative stories about the candidate?)

Surely the internet free speech advocates have something to say about this?


Isn’t it funny that Google won’t noticably demote a site demonstrably and unequivocally involved in a RICO predicate like industrial scale file infringement. But you try to game their SEO and you get demoted to page 7.   Don’t be evil. Yeah right.

On the bright side Google just admitted that they can do more than they say they can about file infringing websites. They can demote them. Same with human trafficking and other exploitative businesses. And see the Internet didn’t break.

About Dr. David C Lowery

Platinum selling singer songwriter for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven; platinum selling producer; founder of pitch-a-tent records; founder Sound of Music Studios; platinum selling music publisher; angel investor; digital skeptic; college lecturer and founder of the University of Georgia Terry College Artists' Rights Symposium.

7 thoughts on “Sympathy for RapGenius

  1. As the Trichordist and others have been saying all along; Google has been dragging its’ feet in regard to online piracy and Google’s ability to slow the tide of pirated content.

  2. The labels must own or license their own servers. Artists who can afford it, the same. If the web mavens insist we adopt a new business model, we should. Theirs. Piracy is a separable issue from innovation.

    We must innovate the art. The a-listers have a very important gig here. They are the sheepdogs of social media and so far where they have spoken out, people listened and more have come over from “it wants to be free” to the “we are screwing the good guys and that’s bad karma” camp. We must be able to meet that with art that is beyond what they have experienced and in a form that they will willingly come to our sites to get. Stealing isn’t as much fun if you have to steal worse.

    Wrap your albums in X3D Worlds. Innovate on the Album Cover.

    1. The generation at the edge grew up with games.
    2. The language is open and there are good players.
    3. The language has standard nodes for controlling the audio from events in the virutal environment. You can INNOVATE with these. Rethink song structure. Rethink what loud and soft mean. Big juju possible and doable by musicians (a breed of lazy dogs; arrff).
    4. It runs off a website OR a CDROM or whatever, It is very compact if streamed or downloaded.
    5. Google fails every time they try this. SecondLife became an NSA hangout (big surprise…). So you can frustrate The Man and Fly the Bird of Paradise up the nose of your predators.

    It’s been tried. The industry didn’t go far enough and the musicians didn’t learn to do it for themselves. Imagine the Beatles not involving themselves in the album cover of Sgt Peppers. I say to the indies: quit playing the game the old way. Where once it was Music and Words, now it should be music and interactive graphics.

    A website worth visiting is the old and irrefutable requirement to be in business on the web. What the web industry knew is content IS king and they worked very hard to raise a mob to dethrone it so they could raid the treasury. Fine. Build a better castle the lets in the audience and keeps our the thieves.

    Nothing about this changes other contracting opportunties. This is about better product or from a different perspective, a new synthesis.

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  4. agree, John. I use Bing, never EVER do i touch scroogle anymore on purpose (i say that because some search engines do rely somewhat on googles search results.) Great article, by the way!

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