Warner Brothers gives credit to the blogosphere
Last week, major news sources, among them The New York Times, reported that infamous celebrity gossip mini-mogul Mario Lavandeira, also known as Perez Hilton, may receive his own imprint at Warner Brothers Records. This would allow him to discover and release artists through the label and hold onto a sizable chunk of the profits generated. The deal was borne of Lavandeira’s seemingly uncanny ability to identify new talent: The minute Lavandeira raves about a group or artist on his blog, downloads of that group or artist’s tracks skyrocket, often garnering them instant media attention.
Many gossip bloggers see the deal as representing not just Lavandeira, but the significance of the blog as an increasingly influential and increasingly credible source of information. Blogs have received a bad rap as the poor man’s news source, offering uncensored, unregulated, and sometimes untrue content because their authors are not full-time reporters and may not cite sources and evidence to supplement their commentaries the way traditional news sources would. But more and more, blog authors are experts in their fields who strive to provide accurate information and well-informed opinions, and we are glad to see that businesses like Warner Brothers have come to acknowledge blogs as powerful tools for news and publicity, just like any reliable media source.
Critics of the negotiations between this star blogger and media conglomerate Warner Brothers are concerned that the deal may be a publicity stunt on the part of Lavandeira, or that Lavandeira’s opinions will become skewed. Others worry that the line between independent and corporate blogs may start to blur. But business will always be business, and the significance of this proposed arrangement lies in its progress for the blog, not the man behind it. Should the deal go through, Lavenderia may earn the respect of the media and the public alike for thousands of other bloggers like him (most of whom, we hope, go lighter on the celebrity trash talk).