The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
(NARAS), the organization behind the Grammys, debuted a TV and radio PSA campaign against digital filesharing during tonight's awards show. One TV ad premiered during the awards show observes a young woman downloading a 3MB file called "music" to her PC, while a club full of hipsters dances to the music somewhere else. When her download completes, lights and music in that somewhere else shut off.
The spot urges viewers to visit the dorkily-domained whatsthedownload.com, where they'll find statements from pop stars about the dire consequences of downloading (causes regional blackouts?), and pleas to purchase tunes from a list of approved online services. I understand there's already a deadpool going for how long until haxxors shut off the lights. The site also includes a message board. Will be interesting to see how that portion of the site fleshes out.
One thing that visitors won't find, unless they're looking really really hard, is the fact that The Recording Academy is behind the site. Regardless of whether you're for or against filesharing, lack of transparency makes people suspicious -- particularly the web-savvy, younger crowd they're probably hoping this site will reach. At least one flamewar about that issue is already under way in this area of the site's message board. Link to press release about whatsthedownload.com launch.
And in other news, what the hell was up with that Outkast finale number? I mean, what was that? The Lucky Charms leprechaun meets every horrible Native American stereotype ever plastered on a football helmet meets a set of macrame curtains? Where are the Fab 5 when you need 'em?
Update: For those of you without MTV or someone under 25 in your life, "whatsthedownload" is a bad pun sortasoundalike for "what's the downlow." Which translates to "wassup." "Que hubo." "What's shakin'." BoingBoing reader Bruce says, "On a hunch, I tried www.whatsthedownlow.com, and I'm happy to report that NARAS didn't secure that domain as well. Heh!"
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