How to Share your Music Blog Real Good

Classification System

I have devised a 5 point system for categorizing how mp3 bloggers are sharing their content. This is not meant to differentiate "good" vs "bad" music blogs. It just describes how well people are "sharing their content". If you are knowingly not "sharing your content well" for some reason (such as to avoid paying excessive hosting fees) - please do not be offended, just understand the implications.

Developers who are creating web media applications which incorporate music blog content need to watch out for all five cases. The people who will eventually suffer the most in this relationship however are the music bloggers with "closed" sites, which will be poorly represented in web media mashups.

This is a pretty nerdy subject, so our classification array is zero based.

Level 0 - Total Darkness

Level 0 blogs embed their audio links in bizarre ways, possibly with Javascript or using special hosting services which provide mp3 links with strange URLs which cannot be idenfied as "media". They may include an ATOM or RSS feed, but their feeds do not contain any enclosures or media links. These blogs are basically useless to the web media developer.

Level 1 - Closed

Level 1 blogs don't have a recognizable syndication feed in place, however they do embed their audio links in a manner that a web crawler can identify. Example: Matt rightly points out that Fluxblog does have an RSS feed, but the problem is it's not autodiscoverable. You'll notice there's no feed icon in FF or IE when you go to visit his site. Who cares right? You just manually add it and never worry about it again? Not really. Completely automated apps (like say how that site Google works) will never see your blog.

Level 2 - Somewhat reserved

Level 2 blogs embed their HTML audio links in a manner that a web crawler can identify as media. (For example, the links end with a .mp3 extension.) They have a recognizable syndication feed in place, however their feed doesn't provide any media enclosures or links. This means so you can't consistently link specific tracks to the blog post they appeared in.

Level 3 - Open

Level 3 blogs have an autodiscoverable syndication feed in place, which contains media enclosure or links. This allows web media developers to associate their media content with the context of the specific post it appeared in. The problem with these blogs is that they do not include the entire content of their posts inside their feed. This means that you can't reproduce the context in its entirety outside of the original music blog itself.

Level 4 - Completely Open

Level 4 blogs have a recognizable syndication feed in place which provides the complete blog item content in rich HTML. This can be done with RSS using the content:encoded extension, or in ATOM using the native content element. Your blog will need to be configured to share the full contents of your posts in your syndication feed. Level 4 blogs also embed clean direct links with .mp3 extensions in the URL. Bonus points for using the defacto "Artist - Title" naming standard in their links. Example:

Level 4 is pretty much as good as it gets on the web these days. These blogs are doing a great job sharing their content! Total Awesomeness.

use haudio to have your cake and eat it too

Are you being "closed" because other people are leeching off your site, downloading mp3s and causing you grief when it comes time to pay your web hosting bill at the end of the month? hAudio will let you be "open" without having to incur any of the potential problems which come with it.

You see - the reason we want you to be open is that we'd like to know exactly who it is you're blogging about. Until now looking at the mp3 file you link to has been the only way to get this information. But with hAudio, we don't need an mp3 file... we just need some good metadata that describes it. We can then use that info to grab the track you're talking about from some other source. Yes - you can have your cake and eat it too! Check it out!