Update: Techcrunch/RIAA/last.fm User Data Debacle

22 Feb

So today Erick Schonfeld at Techcrunch posted an update to his last.fm story from Friday.  36 hours or so after posting the original, with more than 300 comments posted on the blog and a number of categorical denials from last.fm staffers.  Still no official statement from CBS/last.fm though.

Erick tries to clarify a couple of points.  On the timing he says he said he posted the story late on friday because he had been waiting for a statement from CBS/last.fm (when it arrived it was a one liner saying they weren’t aware of any data being handed over).  Later, he says this:

From the very beginning, I’ve presented this story for what it is: a rumor. Despite my attempts to corroborate it and the subsequent detail I’ve been able to gather, I still don’t have enough information to determine whether it is absolutely true.

This is from Erick’s original story: “And Last.fm, which is owned by CBS, actually handed the data over to the RIAA. ”

That doesn’t read like a rumor to me, although Erick does refer to it as such a couple of times elsewhere in the story.  Regardless, is that what Techcrunch has become?  A Rumor mill? 

As I said in my previous post, I don’t know whether this story is true or not, but I do know that Techcrunch published the story late in the day on Friday, failed to cite sources or corroborate, and failed to give the accused party a voice or right to reply.  How many accounts have been cancelled in the 36 hours since that story ran?

Failing to identify who at last.fm/CBS gave that one line statement and rushing to publish the story without all the facts amounts to little more than tabloid rumor-mongering.  Which org (parent or child) was it that gave the original one line statement btw?  I could have sworn that in the first version of the story I read it said CBS, but now it says last.fm.

I would have expected/hoped for more from Techcrunch.  I’m also very surprised that 48 hours in there’s still no official statement from CBS or last.fm: I would have expected a statement first thing saturday morning.

Update:  Erick posted another update, here.  No more info as to sources (that I’ve been able to find), and last.fm posted a pretty angry denial on their blog.  This one looks to be fizzling out somewhat.  Wonder what impact it’s had on their numbers?  Also curious about last.fm’s statement that they’d stopped processing the cancel job so folks who deleted as  a kneejerk reaction could change their minds.  Could see how that would make folks somewhat paranoid.  Incidentally, Erick’s post now has almost 600 comments, the most that I can remember seeing on techcrunch.  Wonder what their traffic numbers for that post are like?

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2 Responses to “Update: Techcrunch/RIAA/last.fm User Data Debacle”

  1. Babs February 22, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

    I grabbed the original if you want to make comparisons: http://www.last.fm/group/My+Gang/forum/42940/_/499940/1#f8664275

  2. kaimac February 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

    Thanks. Going by that it’s consistent. Maybe I imagined it, though I was convinced it said CBS first!

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