You know Megaupload. It's one of those sites you sometimes encounter en route to download stuff. Ads pop up, and you try to avoid purchasing a premium account, even though if you'd just give in then your download would be done by now.
Megaupload is different from Rapidshare, Hulkshare, and other similar sites because they have this new song w/ video endorsements from P Diddy, Lil John (pictured), Will.i.am, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Chris Brown, The Game, Mary J Blige, Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather, Jamie Foxx, Russel Simmons...
It's a video that the participating artists' labels don't want you to see, because it doesn't fit with their depiction of Megaupload as a "rogue site." The RIAA and MPAA have already convinced Google to censor "Megaupload" searches, and if SOPA and Protect IP pass they'll banish megaupload from the Web once and for all. Since this video seems to imply that some of the world's best selling musicians think differently, the major labels tried to censor it under the guise of a DMCA copyright infringement notice. They did not succeed. So go ahead and let the soothing sounds of this song-length mega-mercial wash over your brain, and/or check out the additional celebrity endorsements at Megaupload's Website (which looks to have been purged clean in anticipation of this viral campaign).
Some of us may remember earlier incarnations of Megaupload with more obtrusive ads and general sleaziness. In fact, the site was founded by Kim "Dotcom" Schmitz, a notorious sleaze. After his convictions for credit card fraud, computer fraud, insider trading, and embezzlement, Dotcom procured a fake Finnish passport under the name "Kim Tim Jim Vestor" and took up shop in Hong Kong as director of several "Mega-" companies. These include not just Megaupload but also Megavideo, MegaLive, MegaPix, Megabox, and Megaporn.
It's understandable why an artist would support Megaupload. And not just these artists, who probably made more money by recording themselves saying "megaupload" than most musicians make from sales of recorded music in their life. All contemporary artists share a common need to transfer digital files. Whether it's in private between collaborators, or as a way to reach audiences, or even sometimes to leak one's own album, Megaupload makes this all relatively easy -- no label necessary.
But that doesn't mean that Megaupload is a necessary part of the Internet distribution equation, either. All Megaupload does is butt in to these otherwise direct interactions, where there's really no reason for their advertising or their premium subscriptions to exist. When mega users pay for premium accounts, none of that mega-profit goes back to the artists whose work they've essentially paid to download (unless of course it happens to be the work of one of the celebrities in the paid endorsement video).
The content industry has a rich history of ripping off artists, and Megaupload serves some valid functions, so I'm not saying that those who are trying to shut down Megaupload are right. But while Megaupload may be slightly more efficient as a music distribution middleman, they are no less greedy. And their concept of what makes for a "song" totally sucks.