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The New York Times has a story about the sticky relationship between major record labels and independent bloggers. It reports that Warner Brothers Records spammed a bunch of music bloggers, asking them to post a track by an up-and-coming band called The Secret Machines.

Not surprisingly, the bloggers reacted with a mix of suspicion and self-righteousness. Some didn’t want to appear as sell-outs, pushing the product of “the Man.” Others wondered if a Secret Machines plug would grant them unofficial sanctuary from the recording industry’s anti-piracy lawsuits (when reviewing music, many blogs post MP3s of the songs discussed).

Though the labels are rather late to the party, it’s encouraging to see them recognizing the power of the blog. But I do think they should give bloggers greater leeway in return. If they’re asking bloggers to put up entire MP3s of artists they’re promoting, then the bloggers should be able to do the same, at their own discretion, without fear of retribution.

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