In the spring of 2013, more than six years ago, a new niche hosting service called Instaudio saw the light.
The site, operated by an anonymous musician, offered anyone a quick and easy way to upload music files. Before the launch, it was used as a private service, but the operator eventually made it available to the public at large.
Despite attracting a healthy user-base, the site always remained a side-project. The operator, who works at a music-related company, didn’t promote it either. People simply found their way to the site through word-of-mouth promotion.
This went well, but as time went by, more and more problems arose. As with any hosting service, some people started to use the site to share pirated files. On popular forums and leak-sharing sites, links to Instaudio were no exception either.
This meant that the operator had to worry about removing content from his platform. While the site accepts and honors takedown requests, it was never meant to be a platform for leaks, something that was communicated loud and clear on Twitter and elsewhere.
Despite this call, the abuse didn’t stop. This led to the frustrating situation that a site, which aimed to help musicians share files, was increasingly seen as a threat by music industry outfits. As a result, the operator has now decided to put an end to it himself.
A few days ago, Instaudio stopped accepting new uploads and signups. Previously uploaded files will remain available for now, but they will be made unavailable to the public at the end of August. Four weeks later, all files and user accounts will be purged.
In a public announcement, the Instaudio operator cites the “abuse” as one of the reasons for his decision.
“The abuse situation has gotten to the point where I’m being threatened with ‘legal consequences’ and other such things because, in those organizations’ judgment, I am ineffective at preventing infringing content from being distributed through Instaudio.”
To stop widespread uploading of pirated material Instaudio could implement an upload filter, but the operator is not a fan of these types of measures, as they can lead to false positives.
In addition to sharing pirated content, people were also abusing the site by hotlinking to files and bulk-downloading content. This significantly increased costs.
“Other forms of abuse also occurred, such as automated bulk-downloading, or hot-linking to Instaudio-hosted files on webpages with high traffic. Both of these result in high bandwidth, and therefore high cost for me,” the operator notes.
The growing costs are cited as another reason for the shutdown. As Instaudio was a personal project, all costs were paid out of the pockets of the operator. While he did have a sponsor, it has now reached the point where the costs are no longer justified.
All in all, the negatives outweigh the positives, and shutting Instaudio down is the logical conclusion.
“As time went on I had to put more and more effort into the ugly side of keeping Instaudio running, which left no energy to work on cool new features. Coupled with the cost and the stress, it became an overall negative for me,” Instaudion’s operator writes.
“I have other, more fulfilling hobbies that I’d much rather spend the time and money on,” he adds.