Blex's Page of Good Mp3 - In Retrospect ...
story of Blex's Page of Good Mp3 begins on 5/16/1997. I was 17 years
old and soon to graduate high school. At that time, there was no such
thing as peer-to-peer file transfer, torrent downloads, or iTunes. The
MP3 format of audio distribution basically did not exist. The format
was new and mostly an underground phenomenon with songs being
distributed and transferred primarily through modems and high-speed
college internet connections. Sitting at home on my old Packard Bell
computer, I downloaded a few songs and listened to them on Winplay3
(the only MP3 player that was available at the time). As a
disillusioned teen with a large amount of free time and facing the
uncertainty of life after high school I developed an idea to create a
web page that listed links to where MP3 files could be downloaded.
Thus, was born, Blex's Page of Good Mp3. The underground (IRC,
newsgroups, & private FTP) world of MP3 was littered with a thing
called "ratio" sites. A "ratio" site worked in a way that if you wanted
to download 5 songs you had to upload some songs first. In my mind,
this was a nuisance that only made the site owner's MP3 collection grow
while down loaders of songs needed to wait to get the music they
enjoyed. Soon, I amassed a handful of links to sites that were not
"ratio" sites. The idea popped in my head to create the ultimate web
page for "leechers" (people who did not want to upload before
downloading). I advertised my web site location that was hosted on my
local ISP (www.cybrzn.com/~blex/mp3). I listed only sites that had a
"leeching" environment. Soon, word spread like a wild fire, the
availability and access to get free MP3s then took off due to the
"free" attitude of illegal music distribution. Through the rest of 1997
and January of 1998, the site grew at an unprecedented rate. People
continually e-mailed me their FTP sites which contained free MP3s to
download. Leechers visited my site continually and the MP3 form of free
music distribution went from the underground to mainstream. The "ratio"
attitude was a thing of the past. Finally, the MP3 and digital music
came to the masses!
Then, on February 6th, 1998, sporadic FTP site owners contacted me and
informed me they received cease-and-desist e-mails from Jim Griffin of
Geffen Records. The e-mails contained threats of punishment by the law
for copyright infringement. To protect the site owners, I knew there
was only one thing to do, remove the links to obtain free MP3s. I
labeled the month of February 1998 "Black Friday" as it was a sad day
for digital music lovers world-wide.
From 5/16/1997 until the eventual removal of the site (I switched to a
different local ISP in 1999 & the URL changed to
www.webcntrl.com/blex/mp3), over 2 million people visited the MP3 page
to obtain free music of the bands they love. The majority of which
would end up purchasing new albums and going to concerts to pay
respects to the music they love.
When I look back on the days that I ran my web
page, I now laugh at the immaturity, lack of professionalism, and
anarchist-like attitude I had towards the world. My goal when I made
the web page to "change the world" for the better. As I got older, I've
been able to realize the impact my web page had. It might not have been
as "legendary" as I've made it out to be. But, it was a beginning
"seed" that was planted in the early infancy of the growth of MP3
music. In hindsight, when the page was started on 5/16/1997, "leech"
FTP sites with MP3s were extremely rare. However, when the page ended
on 2/6/1998, one final outcome in the world was that "leech" and "free"
was now the norm. Thus, mission accomplished!
In December of 2002, I obtained a Bachelors Degree in history. I came
to notice there was one "common denominator" in the world over the past
15+ years. That was that our current era has an unbalanced and
extremely centralized amount of wealth in the hands of the few (less
than 1% of the population controlling nearly everything). The result, a
middle class that survives a lifetime on debt and small wages, global
poverty for billions of people, and unnecessary global wars due that
benefit the rich which the masses suffer. The root-cause, oligarchy of
global wealth leaving the masses to struggle financially to make a
living compared to the bourgeoisie elites.
In relation to the MP3, the impact arguably has been felt
world-wide. Illegal MP3 downloading comes down to a simple question for many
middle-class American internet regulars over the past 15+ years.
That question, "Why pay for music when you can get it for free in
MP3 form?" The answer, basic sociology and Marxism, "Why not?" The
large majority of the population spends their entire adult lives
paying off debt, buying things on credit, and existing in a world
of perpetual advertising from birth to death. In a just society,
people would reward artists by purchasing their albums and
providing them any type of financial assistance necessary.
However, with such an inequality of wealth in the world, people
simple cannot pay their respects. Simply put, they don't have the money to do so. Illegal MP3 distribution is not
a problematic cause. Rather, it is an effect of global financial
It is my hope, that the history of Blex's Page of Good MP3 will
provide a spirit and legacy that will carry on to a just society
world-wide. A world where greed and exploitation of the ill fortuned does not exist. A society by the people, for the people, and of the
people instead of by the rich, of the rich, and for the rich!
Contact me for questions, comments, or to tell me I'm a dirty socialist dreamer (which I am proud to admit that I am) !!