The Demise of the Real Audio At This Site...
I think it was Oscar Wilde who once said, 'the only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about'. Well I certainly have been under discussion at my webspace providers....
It has been 5 years since this site has been up and running. Back in September 2002, I took a call from my webspace providers regarding the usage of the space on their servers. I was apparently using too much space and they insinuated that I was 'taking the proverbial' in doing so.
At the outset, they had informed me that I could upload to their Real Audio servers as much music as I liked. I took that to mean...well, 'I could upload as much music as I liked?' We exchanged e-mails and I agreed to meet the guy (a person called Alex) half way and delete some of the longer mixes in order to free up some webspace at their end. I then said to the representative that I would begin overwriting the audio files with smaller versions, more or less operating a 'one up one down' system. Here is the last exchange at that time:
'Alex, Quick e-mail to let you know that I have deleted around half a gig's worth of Real audio from Soulwalking at your servers. From now on I will operate a 'one up / one off' policy so that the files do not grow in size. I am out all day today, however, I will pick up my mail tonight. I hope that helps you in your space problems. All the best, Toby'
...he got back to me....
'Hi Toby, Thanks very much for your email and efforts to assist us. I can't foresee a problem with the one-up, one-off policy. Have a great day Alex'
On Mon, 16 Sep 2002
Problem solved? Well I thought so. I continued overwriting files, whilst in the last year or so, the company relocated from the South of England to Scotland. A couple of weeks back I took a phone call from one of their Scottish representatives. Back to square one. Even though the file sizes were being reduced, they wanted me to lose around 90% of the files. I went through the conversation I had with the company three years previously. He said he'd get back to me.
I have just spoken to another representative and gone through the whole story again. Representative 1 said that the site would function normally, although less people would be able to access the audio at times. Representative 2 said that I was still using too much space and they were 'suspending the service'. So we have gone from 'upload what you like' to 'remove your files' in the space of five years. One thing that did seem a little harsh was he described the content of the audio files as 'dubious'. In what way? The system works that the artist sends me their material, I upload the music, people stream the music, people go out and buy the product, the companies make money, the artist makes money, and I make diddly squat.
The first rep suggested I start placing banners all over the site, start earning money from the place...and then give that money to them so I can keep my files there. In the meantime, the industry smells money and comes down on me like a ton of bricks. Rep number 2 said he is going to freeze the content of the site audio and contact Sony to see if having these files up at Soulwalking is actually legal! Hello...you host a website that supports streaming audio. Streaming audio means that people can listen but not download the files. CD Baby would close tomorrow if their audio did not stream. Rep 2 began talking about licensing issues. I pointed it out to him that, if there was an issue with Real Audio streaming requiring licensing, it has taken them 5 years to find out that they are acting illegally themselves! What is the Real Audio server supposed to be for? Bird noises? Look out I am about to be sued by a flock of geese!
All told, my belief is they are trying to lose this particular customer, as they are not making the £2,400 ($4,800) per year that Rep 1 suggested I paid them to keep the site's Audio intact....but wait on, my site content is 'dubious'! Legal if they make a lot of money from me, but not otherwise. Well all I can say is 'bring on the music industry'. Rep 2 said he had a contact at Sony, who will be looking at my 'dubious' files. Take a look. I bought all of these albums. So much money into the industry and they are looking to punish the customer. If they looked at where we lived and our bank account, they would be ashamed of themselves. After all, I am advertising their product for free. Rep 1 told me that the site was too successful and they weren't expecting so many hits! I thought that was what the Internet is all about? Maybe I should have turned the site into one based around the antics of a praying mantis! LOL One hit every four years!
All told, if someone sells you a car, on the basis that it will get you from A to B, and you pay them for that service, then the car only takes you half way, you'd expect to be a little bemused and ask for your money back. You'd legally be entitled to that.
All this is a long winded way of letting you know that the audio will not function at the site right now. I am waiting for the call that tells me the content IS 'dubious' and will be deleted immediately. I always thought 'dubious' meant that there was something lewd on a particular site. Quite offensive in many ways. Folks who put that stuff on their sites ought to be locked up.
I was tempted to do a 2003 and take the whole site down, but I am not sure I could face the barrage of e-mail again. The site will, unfortunately, be a little like detective Petrocelli's house or the Death Star in Star Wars. Never totally complete, but I'll still work on the place when I can. I'll leave the charts and audio pages there, just for recommendation purposes.
Odd that the last time I had troubles at the site, Lizz Wright was on the index page. She's there again with her new album! I'll have to have words with her!
Anyone know any reasonably priced providers that support Real Audio? Not sure that I want to stay with these guys and, all told, I don't make them enough money to be a valued customer. Used to be a time that the customer 'was always right'. Not thesedays unfortunately. The Rep 2 actually put the phone down on me during the first call, by the way. Customer service? Company is called Easyspace, by the way. I have recommended them to many people. Not quite as 'Easy' as I thought......