Though this policy has been in effect for the past six months, word came down today that all Universal artists may only have 90-second clips of their songs on their MySpace pages. Why MySpace is being singled out, I'm not sure, but "[t]he policy applies to any site where music can be embedded, except for Universal's own official sites, which still offer free on-demand streaming of certain complete songs."
I don't know about you, but clips instead of full songs are a mixed-bag for me. Sometimes a 30-second clip can pique my interest. Sometimes they don't and I need to hear the full song. I say it depends on what's on the clip itself. If it was an epic Coheed and Cambria tune, I probably wouldn't be excited if the clip just had sound effects and feedback. If it was a short Ben Folds tune, I'd probably have an idea about whether I'd want to hear more. So, this all depends on the artist and the song.
I recently took a listen to 30-second iTunes clips from the much-lauded At the Gates album, Slaughter of the Soul. Impressed by what I heard, I wanted to hear the full album ASAP. Mission accomplished, right? Well for At the Gates, but what about a band like Dillinger Escape Plan? That required me to hear the full songs to decipher whether or not I should hear their latest album, Ire Works.
If you've never heard DEP before, just think of it as a metal-hardcore band that really likes King Crimson, Mr. Bungle and Faith No More. If you can't think of that, just imagine music that either quickly tests your patience or blows your mind. For me, I've been a fan for a few years, but I've wondered how many albums they could do before it all just sounded the (chaotically) same.
If I only heard a few 30-second clips from songs like "Nong Eye Gong" and "Fix Your Face," I might have passed on hearing the album. Those tracks are the standard mathcore DEP is known for, but not all of the songs are like that. Had it not been for a full album stream on their MySpace page before its release date, I might have passed on hearing one of the best albums released this year. Go figure.
Again, I stand divided about which is better: a sample or the whole song. If I like the sample, I'll want to hear the full song and maybe even the whole album. This attitude has been in effect with me for a long time and well before the Internet was around. Ever since I heard the final section of "Unchained Melody" on the radio in 1990, I wanted to hear what all came before it. So, the same attitude applies in 2007.