TheTAZZone - Internet Chaos

The Demise of Blip.fm

Blip.FmFor those of you that have never heard of Blip.fm, and for those of you that have, but never bothered to come check it out, it’s basically Twitter with music.

When I joined Blip back in April of 2009 it was still relatively new, and getting more popular everyday, in fact I saw promise that it could be as big as Twitter one day. At the time, back in 2009, it had everything Twitter had, but Twitter didn’t have everything Blip had, because Blip had music, the problem with Blip was the people running it, quite simply they obviously lacked the vision of what Blip could have been with the right promotion.

Well..any promotion would have helped.

Blip could have been a vehicle for new artists coming onto the scene to promote themselves, and a vehicle for old artists to reacquaint people with their music and sell some albums. What better place to do this than on a site that attracts people who love music. And having these artists on the site playing their music would have the star power to generate interest, promotion, and create an even larger base of followers.

Did this happen? No.

Did the people running Blip realize that the reason Twitter became so popular was that it attracted stars and those stars brought their fan base, increasing it’s popularity? No.

Is Blip, like Twitter, a household name? No.

It could have been. But now, it’s a never was, never will be.

Despite this lack of promotion, and a seemingly indifferent attitude of the people running Blip, it did, for about 3 years gain very modest popularity among us music lovers. Then…

the bottom fell out. And people started leaving in droves. Including myself. Although I still go on it from time-to-time to spin a few tunes, and reacquaint myself with old friends, well the few that are still around that haven’t moved on, I will never be the die-hard fan that I was back in 2009 when it showed so much promise.

So…what happened?

Well a series of things happened, but the one I think lead to the exodus was mostly driven by site glitches. People would come onto the site to spin some tunes and their account would be completely gone, and not just smaller more obscure accounts with a few followers but accounts with 10,000 followers or more as well. Some did manage to get their accounts back, but others had to start all over with a new account. Some had this happen to them on multiple occasions.

Then there was the mystery of the missing followers. Occasionally followers would just randomly disappear. And we are not talking about the regular and expected exchange of followers, where a few leave and others join your ranks. No. We are talking about logging in and finding hundreds of your followers gone in just a few hours. Like they suddenly were abducted by aliens, sucked into a black hole, or fell into the Bermuda triangle.

But…as bad as that was…

even worse was when you came onto the site and found that you magically unfollowed 10’s or even 100’s of people, without actually doing it. Like poltergeists were mischievously unfollowing people for you while you slept. Then  comes the messages, the emails, ” why did you unfollow me? Did I do something wrong?”…and having to explain that it wasn’t you, it was poltergeists.

Blip is an internet tragedy. A Greek comedy. The punchline to a bad joke. It reminds me of the line in the old movie On the Waterfront `You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am. `

UPDATE: Well I guess I couldn’t have timed this article any better….yesterday I went on Blip and found that the site would only let you play songs from your playlist, if you searched a song it populated a link to YouTube support.  The link said the apps on Blip are no longer supported by YouTube. Awhile ago Blip lost access to Grooveshark too, which cut the songs you could play by at least a third.

The next step would be a complete shutdown. What a waste if that happens, as I said at the start of this article Blip had so much promise, promise that was wasted by poor management and a lack of vision.

This doesn’t come as a huge surprise to me, a few years back they tried to get us to move to a new site they were developing called Fuzz, which turned out to be a complete waste of time and still , years later, hasn’t even come close to the traffic Blip has, if Fuzz had taken off they would have closed down Blip a long time ago, but instead, they just let it continue on to it’s own eventual demise.

UPDATE: Well, it appears Blip is no longer affected by the YouTube API fiasco…again nothing on the Blip Blog, that hasn’t been updated since 2012,  to advise anyone of of any update.  But let’s not get too side-tracked here because I wrote this article prior to the YouTube fiasco, as per ” Well I guess I couldn’t have timed this article any better “…so it appears we’re back to where I started. My opinion hasn’t changed, left in the hands of those running the place Blip will slowly wither and die, Blip needs fresh blood, a fresh perspective, and people in charge who sincerely care about it’s direction, and see the promise in the vision of what Blip could be.

Otherwise, eventually it will either die off, be closed down, or wither down to nothing more than a few hard core music lovers. As it is now, of the followers I have, maybe a couple dozen Blip regularly, and maybe a couple more dozen periodically, most you don’t see at all, or only on rare occasions….and I don’t think that this is unique to me and my followers. A lot has changed in the last 6 years, and not for the better.

NEW UPDATE: ( finalized ) Nov 11th 2015 : Well it seems now Blip is asking for money to avoid closing down the site. Not really a big surprise. But lets take a look at what they have to say…

Way back in 2006, a Blip engineer creatively interpreted (i.e. completely disregarded) specific instructions from his product manager and built Blip.fm.  ” and they’re looking for cash to, among other things,  ” stomp out the backlog of bugs ” well who knew lol .

Nearly a decade later, even though Blip has not been actively maintained for many years ” really? yer kiddin’ me right? ( can you feel the sarcasm just dripping from my veins ).

Blip refuses to surrender.  Thousands of users continue to find joy in using the service every day.  ” No…Blip surrendered years ago, the only reason it’s still here is because of the users.

So now…you want cash, users to pony up dough to save a site that you ‘ finally ‘ admit was created buggy and that you’ve neglected it for, what was it again you said, oh that’s right ” many years “.

Now pay very close attention Absentee Owners of Blip.fm….every time we use Blip we contribute to the sites equity/value  and advertising stream in views or clicks. Our very presence there is either increasing it’s equity or generating a revenue stream, and in most cases both. Our usage, and the resulting ranking, creates advertising interest, I know how many requests for advertising I get here at TAZ, so I can easily estimate how many requests you must get for Blip, and the revenue we’re generating for you through our participation..

So you want us to give you more money than the income we’re already generating for you. And what guarantee do we have that you’ll use it in a positive fashion? That you won’t just take the money and continue to neglect the site like you have been?

You don’t create a site that’s buggy, fail miserably at promoting it, neglect it for several years. try to abandon it twice by trying to convince blippers to join a sub-par site called Fuzz, then ask people to pony up cash to fix you own dumbass mistakes.

If we reach $500,000, we are confident we can: “…make a couple updates, sink the largest portion into Fuzz, or some other White Elephant, pay off your mortgage, buy the cat a rolex, get yourself a Benz, increase your investment portfolio?

Exactly what guarantee do we have you wont just pocket the cash and do what you’ve always done…NOTHING.

After all that is your track record, isn’t it…doing nothing…sure it is.

This isn’t a case where you created a great site, that’s been well promoted and maintained, that you’ve sunk your heart n’ soul into, and you’re hurting for cash to keep it going…NO…you created a buggy site, that hasn’t been promoted or maintained, you have a track record of not caring about the site…and now you want us to bail you out.

OH, that’s right, I’m sorry, you care now…you’re not just trying to take advantage of people who love the site by threatening closure so they’ll pony up some cash…no….you had an epiphany and you now suddenly care.

Hey I got an idea…why don’t you try the government if you want a bail out…it worked for GM.

39 Responses to The Demise of Blip.fm

  1. elyssyan May 11, 2015 at 7:37 am

    🙁 Sad to Lose ~Blip.fm

  2. elyssyan May 11, 2015 at 4:19 am

    I wholeheartedly agree with Charles A.Laughlin.
    Sad day!! 🙁

  3. zoso418 May 10, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Really enjoyed meeting many of you via blip; it’s been a wild ride over five years. I moved to posting the links directly a few years back, so hopefully many of those posts are still playable. Force of habit, still generally paste them into Twitter/zoso418.
    Hope we can all stay in touch somehow.

  4. April (EnchantedA) May 10, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Hi Everyone! I agree, it’s too bad. Blip was a huge part of my life for awhile. I loved being able to play my song choices to an audience of huge music lovers and I learned a lot of great songs from all of you too! I haven’t been on for so long now because I don’t have the technical abilities that you all have and when songs I would play previously could no longer play, well it was time to go. I’m thankful that I got to know so many of you and that you’re on Facebook with me. It’s been wonderful having you as online buddies!

  5. ellendiane May 10, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Blip has been a godsend to me- I have always loved music -but to commune with like minded people world wide has been a treat.
    I wake up to Blip fm with coffee in hand . It is so ingrained in my life-

    I also agree that it would be respectful & appreciated if the powers that be gave us an explanation& ? a remedy.

    Thanks all- I hope this is not goodbye- Meanwhile- blip on my friends& wouldn’t this make for a great movie or novel- We certainly are unique.

  6. LindyLuv May 10, 2015 at 10:46 am

    While I think there is truth in what all of you state, Vinnie (@c3p0) stated that YouTube was updating its player to a new one (html5) which adds more complexity to this situation since we all rely on the YouTube videos which we are now reblipping. When those are gone, blip.fm is gone.

    We also have to take into account the fact that musicians/songwriters aren’t paid when a song is aired here. It’s not like a 20-second spot on TV when you hear a portion of a song (that is free, nothing is owed to the musician/songwriter).

    I have also tried other streaming services and they are dull in comparison to blip.fm. As long as we can reblip here, I will be doing that. I know there will most likely be a mass exodus of users from this site, and I will be sorry to see some of you go.

    Change is a part of life, and I guess we have to roll with the changes. I wish all of you the best and hope that you will stick it out a little while longer.

  7. Seal_FM May 9, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Beethoven’s Funeral march has played for the last time. Corporation greed drives today’s music industry NOT artists.They create magical tunes that stir the emotions. I used Blip.FM as a therapy for PTSD, I was carrying out research into a piece of American research that they asked Veterans to join places like youtube, blip and the rest. Playing music can trigger a part of the brain that subdues bad memories. It seems to work and they were getting good results. But these corporations mentioned in a song like “we built this city” have no conscience they want your money for long time gone composers and trade in our memories of times when we were carefree. Can we blame Blip’s and the others management, No. They simply cannot produce the revenue to support these websites, more over the promotion of new artists will suffer from limited airplay(unless its that flipping annoying advert sample). They are Elmer fudding themselves in the foot. For as we have found in the UK with the Performing Rights Society (PRS) blackmailing shops for licenses to play music in the shop. It has made the UK’s shops very dull places indeed. Shopping can now be either some awlful song or the sound of silence. I come from the days of Pirate Radio, as the film shows. We were restricted to a very small spectrum of music by the official stations, but the pirates played our songs, we loved certain Dj’s for their sometimes weird choice, but got introduced to so many bands. That otherwise would have failed after that one hit. I think it is therefore the Artists of today responsibility to pressure these lawyers and bean counters into allowing certain music to be played on the proviso that at least some PR is done on the website to get new bands out there. Blip.FM did that, I often listened to it and found new music, in fact I have bought more Cd’s since I started the station, to listen in the car. Ah well, perhaps the demise of a big industry into a little one will lead back to this moment in time and the guy at the top will say “This is where we went wrong”.

  8. Joanie (JoanieBeachMusic) May 9, 2015 at 5:20 am

    Great article Huub! You are correct. Blip could have been big. I think Jeff tried but I do not think there was the revenue stream to support it. The software is antiquated at this stage of the game. I am surprised that Facebook or Twitter did not pick up on this whole concept. People love being DJs and sharing their music with others. As a big music lover, I have learned more about other music from our DJs……music I would never have listened to. Of course, I will always cherish the friendship and camaraderie of our DJs from around the world.

  9. DaveL May 9, 2015 at 4:54 am

    While there have been tech issues along the way, there were not any nor enough of them to put the skids to BLIP.

    As mentioned many times by others, it was the lack of music selection as time went forward.

    Any time licensed music is shared in the public domain, A licensing fee must be paid. At one time it was ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers) that collected most of these fees, and distributed the royalties appropriately.

    Even AM & FM broadcast stations would have to pay up based on air-play. Every so often they were required to audit their air play of music song by song so appropriate royalties could be paid.

    BLIP had an opportunity, and I gave them a suggestion several years, ago.

    Put BLIP on two tiers. 1. Royalty Free music for new artists which everyone could have access.
    2. Charge users a small fee for a second tier to foot the bill on all Royalty paid Music.
    3. Increase the overall advertising stream, especially on the 2nd tier to increase revenue to pay the royalty fees.

    With access to a complete music library, I would gladly kick in a little toward licensing rights for music.

  10. xatstilo May 9, 2015 at 4:01 am

    This demise of Blip.fm is forcing us to find new ways to share music an to stay in touch with other listener of music . One way should be that we DJ’s buy Blip.fm. We can start a fundraiser on a crowfunding website. By now I’m also on Spotify. twitter. Pinterest. Last.fm with my nickname: xatstilo.

    Thank you.

  11. admin May 8, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    daretoeatapeach without knowing it, or perhaps knowing it, you actually agreed with me, you said exactly what I said just worded it differently
    and I referenced that site glitches I believe was the primary reason not the only reason 😉 most people don’t know what goes on behind the scene nor do they care, they just want to come on, spin their tunes, and not have to deal with slow loading pages, missing songs, or any glitches that get in the way of their enjoyment of the site

  12. Alison (revbeatman) May 8, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Totally disagree. The technical problems were no where near as bad as the licensing issues. The people disappeared when the music disappeared.

  13. daretoeatapeach May 8, 2015 at 10:48 am

    That’s funny, I never struggled with any of the issues you had, although I did find I had to re-follow people from time to time.

    I disagree with you that the reason Blip fell was because of tech issues. It fell because the owners got threatened by the recording industry, so they dropped support for single uploads. This meant that you could no longer play any song you wanted, only what was on YouTube. For a while they had Grooveshark tracks, but as of this month Grooveshark has been sued out of existence as well.

    It’s not true that Blip never promoted itself—though, as a person who works in marketing I certainly agree they could have done more, but Blip is/was a very small company so they mostly relied on word of mouth. But they used to do studio sessions, where San Francisco and touring bands would play in the Blip studio.

    For that past year, Blip has been a shadow of what it once was. The once had an active suggestion forum, and you could blip feedback directly to the engineers as well. But since things got legally tricky, they moved on to other projects (fuzz.com and another I can’t recall the name of). I met with the Blip founder to try to get him to give more support to Blip, but it was clear to me that in his mind the site is a legacy only. They’re no longer actively supporting it.

    It seems to me that what happened yesterday was because Youtube changed something in their API. And since Blip is no longer supported, the Youtube change that broke Blip hasn’t been dealt with…nor do I expect it to be.

    Blip died over a year ago. It was killed by the recording industry, who want to control how and what we listen to. We were fortunate to have the site still running for as long as we did.

    What other sites are you guys on? I’ve been very active on The Hype Machine (hypem.com) but that’s mostly EDM. I like Songza but haven’t felt the sense of community Blip had…that’s what I’ll miss the most.

    If you want to find me, I’m daretoeatapeach pretty much everywhere (including gmail, holla!), and my site is futureisfiction.com. Don’t be a stranger, stranger.

  14. Jude May 8, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Oh no! That’s where I met you Tazz so it had a special place in my heart! I shall miss the exchange of music ….I would have missed out on so many choices.

  15. proxonox May 8, 2015 at 9:48 am

    how is that even possible?!? it’s not like the cooking blog my mother keep for her and her 15 friends…just WHY????

  16. Alex Parr May 8, 2015 at 6:59 am

    It would be a great shame to lose blip. I have made some great friends and found new music. Having been offline for 2.5 years thst is what I missed the most! 🙁

  17. Charles A. Laughlin May 7, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Dammit! I tried a lot of alternatives, starting with Pandora, then Rdio, Spotify, Beats. They have their bells and whistles, their sexy platforms, their corporate savvy . . . but NONE of them did what made Blip work for me more than anything else: the Twitter model of community building, based on musical taste! DUH! Why would you want to drag your Facebook friends and email contacts into your music?? Music is so personal; Blip was the first time I could find people who just like listening to the music I like!!

  18. Whitney May 7, 2015 at 5:27 am

    Gosh, what would life be without Blip.fm? I hope it stays open and we can see some positive changes made. Thank-you, TAZ, for your wonderful article.

  19. tom May 7, 2015 at 5:10 am

    I agree-its become a regular part of my life,met and talked and shared with my peer group.Thanks for the info-it would be nice to hear something official.You would think someone who controls this would care enough to the truth out.

  20. Huub May 5, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    I strongly agree. Even tough I till use it regarly.

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