My Bloody Valentine's Website Crash Shows What it Means to Be Indie in 2013
Right: Uploading everything to YouTube. MBV beat the inevitable YouTube uploaders to the punch by doing it themselves; all the songs from their new album are on TheOfficialMBV, tagged correctly, linked to each other and to the for-sale page, and certain to be the "right" version of each track.
Already they've gotten as many as 50,000 hits, for the dancey "wonder 2." In addition to keeping everything in-house--and probably earning some additional revenue--they've recognized that many more people have heard they should listen to My Bloody Valentine than actually have.
YouTube is the default, low-impact way people discover music like that. It's where all the non-superfans were going to find the album anyway, and this gesture makes it easier for them to eventually become superfans themselves.
Wrong: WAV instead of FLAC. As you might expect from a band beloved by audiophiles, m b v came out in three formats: 320kbps MP3, for 99 percent of human beings, and then two flavors of lossless WAV file, for people who worry about the tone of their CD player.
For whatever reason, though, My Bloody Valentine chose to use completely uncompressed audio, instead of a "lossless" compressed format like FLAC. That probably played one percent of those one-percent audiophiles, but most people find the two formats indistinguishable--except that one is about half the size of the other.
So each of those website-crashing lossless copies of MBV was bigger and more bandwidth-hogging than it needed to be. WAV files also can't be tagged with album, artist, and song data, undoing all the niceties they got right on the YouTube uploads and infuriating people with well-manicured iTunes libraries.
Of course, a comeback 20 years overdue wasn't about to be stifled by technical difficulties; today the website is working without issue. But for all of us who aren't My Bloody Valentine it was a reminder about the indie worldview: Working on your own is liberating, but it also means you can fail in ways that have nothing to do with your art.