Justin Ouellette’s Muxtape website was shuttered back in mid August while he attempted to “sort out a problem with the RIAA.” Not much has been heard from Ouellette in the intervening weeks, but he’s now issued a statement on Muxtape, which aims to clarify what happened to the site. It transpires that he had meetings with all four major labels, and came close to striking a deal to allow the site to continue.
The posting makes for fascinating reading, and gives some insight into the legal machinations that whir into place when a major corporation feels its revenue coming under threat. At a meeting with EMI Ouellette was greeted by a legal team who allegedly stated: “you are a willful infringer and we are mere hours from shutting you down.” Yikes. EMI’s business side sound like a friendlier bunch, with Ouellette quoting them saying: “assuming we don’t shut you down, how do you see us working together?”
Ouellette was making headway with the labels when, out of the blue, the RIAA contacted his web hosting company, leaving him with just one day to remove a huge list of songs. The power of the RIAA proved too great for Ouellette, who ended up walking away from the licensing deal with the majors. He is now attempting to turn Muxtape into a platform for new bands to share their music. Ouellette claims he still wants to “challenge the way we experience music online,” but it remains to be seen whether Muxtape can become a viable alternative to the broad range of services that offer similar capabilities. [Pitchfork]