Jamendo Lies

Creative Commons music resource Jamendo has done a redesign, the second since 2012 (which is never a good sign).

As with the 2012 “improvement”, the current redesign also includes the “feature” of taking away functionality from users. There is no more complex searching. You get a text box, and that’s it. No refining by tags, keywords, genres, license, country of origin, language, nope, nobody needs any of that. And those of us that used it, well, too bad, but we don’t count.

In fact, if Jamendo continues true to the form of their 2012 redesign, their first explanation will be that everything is the user’s fault.

But there is worse.

Jamendo is now actively lying to its users:

Jamendo telling its users that CC-BY licensed music cannot be used in videos, which is a lie.

That is the download page for “I Will Crawl” by Jeffrey Philip Nelson. As you can see, the license is CC-BY, attribution-only. And Jamendo is telling you, before you download it, that you do not have permission to use it in a video.

The problem with that is it lacks the quality of truth. You do, in fact, have permission to use it in a video, so long as you give proper attribution to the artist.

I kicked about this the moment I saw it, complaining on Twitter and also on GetSatisfaction about the dishonesty involved. I got, as you can see, no direct response at all.

But my complaint was noticed, because the scare-language was removed.

The magically disappearing scare-language.

Note that the change also introduces inaccuracy through imprecise phrasing. “You can download this track for free.” That leaves what you may do with it after download deliberately ambiguous.

Because Jamendo appears to be run by lying corporate weasels, the scare-language was only removed from the CC-BY licensed downloads.

The lie still appears on CC BY-SA downloads:

Download page for a track from WMM album Changeover by Sim Band, with the lie that you may not use the music in a video, despite bearing a Free Culture License

And on CC BY-NC-SA downloads:

The problem here is that it’s just not true that you can’t use this music in videos. You can, so long as you abide the terms of the licenses.

Jamendo is lying to its users about the very thing on which it has built its business: Creative Commons licenses.

This is the straw that broke this camel’s back. I’m done sending any traffic at all to Jamendo. I may continue downloading music from them, but anything I share will be mirrored at the Internet Archive, and that will be the link that I share.

And I will be making great efforts to find music elsewhere, including at the Free Music Archive and BandCamp.

I’m also very open to starting a crowdfunding campaign to mirror Jamendo’s entire library of music, and setting up a site where users can find what they want, without the lies, without the abuse, without being told that they’re stupid, without any of Jamendo’s bullshit. If any database programmers have ideas on how to get that going, let’s talk.

UPDATE: Free Culture singer-songwriter Josh Woodward says on Reddit that Jamendo is now screwing over artists, as well:

[Jamendo] just snuck in a change to the licensing terms that changes the revenue share from the industry standard 50/50 split to a grossly unfair 30/70 split (which goes up a few percentage points on volume).

I begin to think that the folks at Jamendo couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel. Abusing users and artists? Morons.