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Why the Napster Decision is a Victory


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Thought this might interest folks. It sums up [one view of] the Napster debate nicely, without legal gobbledygook. I'm posting full text because it didn't appear on a commercial site.

 

* * * * *

 

Pennies from Heaven

Eben Moglen

February 19, 2001

 

The recording industry has been celebrating the supposed defeat of Napster this past week. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the grant of a preliminary injunction which may well have the effect of closing the service down completely and ending the commercial existence of Napster's parent. But despite appearances, what has happened, far from being a victory, is the beginning of the industry's end. Even for those who have no particular stake in the sharing of music on the web, there's value in understanding why the Napster ``victory'' is actually a profound and irreversible calamity. What is now happening to music will soon be happening to many other forms of ``content'' in our new information society. Seeing Napster free of the smokescreen of industry hype has much to teach us about the collapse of publishers generally, and about the liberative possibilities created by the decay of the cultural oligopolies that dominated the second half of the twentieth century.

 

The shuttering of Napster will not achieve the music industry's goals because the technology of music-sharing no longer requires the centralized registry of music offered for sharing among the network's listeners that Napster provided. Freely-available software called OpenNap allows any computer in the world to perform the task of facilitating sharing; it is already widely used and the publicity surrounding the Napster lawsuit will only advertise it further. Napster itself--as it kept pointing out to increasingly unsympathetic courts--maintained no inventory of music: it simply allowed listeners to find out what other listeners were offering to share. Almost all the various sharing programs in existence can switch from official Napster to other sharing facilitators with a single click. And when they move, the music moves with them. Now, in the publicity barrage surrounding the decision, sixty million Napster users will find out about OpenNap, which cannot be sued or prohibited. Suddenly, instead of a problem posed by one commercial entity that can be closed down or acquired, the industry will be facing the same technical threat, but there will be no one to sue but their own customers. No business can survive by suing or harassing its own market. No matter how the industry plays the next round, it is dead.

 

The music industry (by which we mean the five companies that supply roughly 90% of the world's recorded music) is dying not because of Napster, but because of an underlying economic truth. In the world of digital products that can be copied and moved at no cost, traditional distribution structures, which depend on the ownership of the content or of the right to distribute, are fatally inefficient. As John Guare's famous play has drummed into all our minds, everyone in society is divided from everyone else by at most six degrees of separation. Let's not concentrate on the precise number, but on the fact it reveals: the most efficient distribution system in the world is to let everyone give music to whomever they know who would like it. When music has passed through six hands under the current distribution system, it hasn't even reached the store. When it has passed through six hands in a system that doesn't require the distributor to buy the right to pass it along, after six exchanges it has reached several million listeners.

 

This increase in efficiency means that composers, song-writers and performers have everything to gain from making use of the system of unowned or anarchistic distribution, provided that each listener at the end of the chain still knows how to pay the artist, and feels under some obligation to do so, or will buy something else--a concert ticket, a T-shirt, a poster--as a result of the music received for free. Hundreds of potential ``business models'' remain to be explored once the proprietary distributor has disappeared, no one of which will be perfect for all artistic producers, but all of which will be the subject of experiment in decades to come, once the dinosaurs are gone.

 

Musicians, though terrified of the possible losses (which the industry is doing everything to overestimate for them) are beginning to discover the enormous potential benefits. No doubt there will be some immediate pain that will be felt by artists rather than the shareholders of music conglomerates. The greatest of celebrity musicians will naturally do fine under any system, while those who are presently waiting tables or driving a cab to support themselves have nothing to lose. For the signed recording artists just barely making it at present, on the other hand, the changes now occurring are of legitimate concern. But musicians as a whole, from the top to the bottom of the current hierarchy of success, stand to gain far more than they can lose. Their wholesale defection from the existing distribution system is about to begin, leaving the music industry--like manuscript illuminators, piano-roll manufacturers, and letterpress printers--a quaint and diminutive relic of a passé economy.

 

The industry's giants won't, indeed, disappear overnight, or perhaps at all. But because their role as owner-distributors makes no economic sense, they will have to repackage themselves as suppliers of services in the production and promotion of music. Advertising agencies, production services consultants, packagers--they will be anything but owners of the music they market to the world.

 

What is most important about this phenomenon is that it applies to much beyond music: to everything in fact that can be distributed frictionlessly as a stream of digital bits that appeal to human taste rather than to functional design. Fiction, poetry, dramatic video, journalism, self-study educational curriculum--all are examples of content that can best (and soon will be) distributed by the simple human mechanism of passing it along.

 

The result will be a transformation of the world's cultural landscape, as the inefficiencies and frictions, not to mention the crimes, perpetrated by the commercial distributors of culture vanish forever. All the human arts that can be digitally represented are about to experience a profound liberation, as the businesses that made money by excluding some from access in order to raise the price to others disappear completely. The result will be more music, poetry, photography, journalism available to a far wider audience. Artists will see a whole new world of readers, listeners and viewers; though each audience member will be paying less, the artist won't have to take the small end of a split determined by the distribution oligarchs who have cheated, swindled, and robbed them ever since Edison. For those who worry about the cultural, economic and political power of the global media companies, the dreamed-of revolution is at hand. The industry may this week be making a joyful noise unto the Lord, but it is we, not they, who are about to enter the promised land.

 

* * * * *

 

Eben Moglen is professor of law and legal history at Columbia University Law School. He serves without fee as General Counsel of the Free Software Foundation. You can read more of his writing at moglen.law.columbia.edu.

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Hmm. I doubt we're going to resolve this controversy today, but I have some teensy reservations about the Brave New World Eben Moglen is so ebulliently predicting.

 

He neatly sidesteps the question of how those millions of listeners/readers/viewers are going to be convinced that they ought to actually pay some small royalty to the content creators. Moral suasion is not much of a market force at the best of times.

 

As a content creator (i.e., musician), I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea that I'm going to have to make my money through sales of teeshirts, which he explicitly mentions as a possible revenue stream for me. Every hour I spend stocking or shipping an inventory of teeshirts is an hour lost to my music.

 

Also ... has anybody taken a look lately at all the free "art" available on the internet? Most of it is dreck. A digitally democratized distribution process only insures that we'll all be inundated in dreck. Whether or not you like Jennifer Lopez and N'Sync, the fact remains that record companies function pretty effectively as gatekeepers. When you spend your $15 on a heavily promoted CD, you're assured that the material at least meets certain minimal standards of quality. (Call it a lowest common denominator if you like.) When the gatekeeper walks off the job, it's going to be very hard to find music that even rises to the level of Jennifer Lopez and N'Sync. And that ain't a pretty picture.

 

--Jim Aikin

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Originally posted by Marvster:

Hundreds of potential "business models" remain to be explored once the proprietary distributor has disappeared, no one of which will be perfect for all artistic producers, but all of which will be the subject of experiment in decades to come, once the dinosaurs are gone.

 

This piece was written by a lawyer, not an entrepreneur. I'd be a lot more impressed if he listed even one "business model" that included a revenue stream that I could count on receiving for a recording of my original music.

 

The result will be a transformation of the world's cultural landscape, as the inefficiencies and frictions, not to mention the crimes, perpetrated by the commercial distributors of culture vanish forever. All the human arts that can be digitally represented are about to experience a profound liberation, as the businesses that made money by excluding some from access in order to raise the price to others disappear completely. The result will be more music, poetry, photography, journalism available to a far wider audience.

 

I'll bet this guy voted for Steve Forbes and the flat tax. He's off in la-la land somewhere, that's for sure. Predicting that inefficiencies, frictions, and indeed outright crimes will all pass away -- well, you know, in the '50s science fiction writers were predicting that by now electricity would be too cheap to measure, thanks to nuclear reactors you could fit in the trunk of your car. Predicting the future is for chumps.

 

Also ... can you say "cable TV"? What makes him think "the commercial distributors of culture" are going to "vanish forever"? They'll still be here, folks. Right in your living room, just like before. If the only way I can make money on my song is to sell it as underscore for a Taco Bell commercial ... well, pardon me while I faint (or suffer the indignity of some other involuntary bodily function) with delight.

 

I keep thinking about Beethoven. The guy was struggling to make a living. He had to lie and connive. He had to teach piano lessons to dunderheads. He had to conduct concerts after he went deaf, for gosh sakes! This was before international copyright law, so a British publisher would bring out an edition of Beethoven's latest piano sonatas, and Beethoven didn't earn a pfennig.

 

Somebody please explain to me how digital distribution of music via the Internet is going to be an improvement over that situation.

 

--Jim Aikin

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One of the most annoying aspects of the current Napster debate is the never-ending psuedo-prophetic intellectual blah-blah. 99% of these articles have no basis in economic or scientific reality. Napster was a cute trick, and an expensive one for its owners: maybe you folks haven't heard yet, but Napster has announced a proposed deal to pay the record labels $1 billion over the next 5 years (that moaning you hear is the sound of Shawn Fanning and Hank Barry getting sodomized by Bertelsmann and the RIAA), in addition to charging subscription fees.

 

This message has been edited by Curve Dominant on 02-20-2001 at 09:41 PM

Eric Vincent (ASCAP)

www.curvedominant.com

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Napster isn't the problem. It's the fact that mp3's make it possible to share electronic versions of music not only with friends, (like cassettes do), but with anyone who has access to the net. And when the "next free thing" comes along, that's got better quality, everyone will quickly move to that.

 

Napster is just a distribution network. A channel.

 

Does anyone think that Napster is so in control of the market for sharing mp3 files that when they CHARGE for their service, the vast number of active users won't simply move on to the next FREE distribution method.

 

Didn't we learn anything from Netscape and the browser wars? Once a decent quality FREE browser came out... Netscape's market share was forever eroded never to return.

 

I know Napster offered to pay a BILLION dollars to the record industry...

 

I just wonder how the hell they can convince the KIDS to do it.

 

guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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"Also ... has anybody taken a look lately at all the free "art" available on the internet? Most of it is dreck. A digitally democratized distribution process only insures that we'll all be inundated in dreck. Whether or not you like Jennifer Lopez and N'Sync, the fact remains that record companies function pretty effectively as gatekeepers. When you spend your $15 on a heavily promoted CD, you're assured that the material at least meets certain minimal standards of quality. (Call it a lowest common denominator if you like.) When the gatekeeper walks off the job, it's going to be very hard to find music that even rises to the level of Jennifer Lopez and N'Sync. And that ain't a pretty picture."

 

that comment is pure dreck. dreck dreck dreck dreck dreck. gatekeepers my ass, that music you mention is pure fodder for the mentally braindead. i have found hordes of great music on the internet... ha, i fart at that statement. n'suck, puhleez!? jennifer lopez? thats the kind of music you do have to FORCE people to pay for... im still puking. actually the crap on the internet that makes me wanna vomit is the same crap you mentioned but by some OTHER girl with her top unbuttoned trying to sell something.

 

and it is true, napster is the least of the industry's worries. i have not only seen new P2P's [actually older than napster] but used them and they work better than napster without the problem of a central server...

alphajerk

FATcompilation

"if god is truly just, i tremble for the fate of my country" -thomas jefferson

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A revolution that tears down the existing structures isn't of much use if no thought has been given to what will replace those structures.

 

The reality is that if an artist is to make great music, it takes time to make that music, and become proficient at one's craft. Time is indeed money; you have to have money to "buy" time. (If someone has figured out a way around this, please let me know.)

 

The only way to get money is to sell a product. That product may be your labor, like packing groceries, or your CD, or consulting, or fixing a car, or writing an ad...whatever. So, I don't see any way around the fact that if a musician wants to do music FULL TIME, which is necessary to get really good at it, then the musician has receive money. If he's going music full time, he has to be paid for doing music.

 

However, I must agree that the current way of creating a promoting music doesn't work. If it did, we wouldn't have Napster. MAny people use Napster to get music for free; that's true. But many use it to get music they can't find otherwise. Also, Napster has sent a blindingly obvious message that the record companies have managed to miss: PEOPLE LIKE SINGLES. "Now Music 5" is doing great. The collection of the Beatles' singles is doing great. CDs that have lots of hits (singles) on them are doing great.

 

My best guess (yes Jim, I'm a chump - I predict the future!) is that live performance will regain its position as one of the best ways to get music to people. I truly believe that the live performance experience beats a CD any day if the band is good and the club is intimate. I personally would love to play more live, and I see the internet as a great way to promote what I do. I wouldn't care if people steal my music - if they come and see me play live.

 

And maybe I could sell some CDs at the gig .

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<>

 

This also speaks to a much under-addressed part of the debate: How about the songwriters and publishers? At least performers *can* sell merch and tickets as replacement income.

 

Sometimes the artist does it all, sometimes not. If there isn't *any* mechanism in place (PROs, compulsory licenses, what have you) how are these people going to get paid? It's a serious stretch to suggest that voluntary payments are going to compensate artists. It's a fantasy to think that Joe Lunchpail will stop to notice the songwriter/composer and, if that party is different from the artist, also compensate them. (And no, I don't think the artist should shoulder the burden of making sure a portion of their proceeds gets to the songwriters.)

 

Marv

(Who, by the way, only posted Eben's piece because it's interesting, not because he believes it. )

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"I keep thinking about Beethoven. The guy was struggling to make a living. He had to lie and connive. He had to teach piano lessons to dunderheads. He had to conduct concerts after he went deaf, for gosh sakes!" -- Jim Aikin

 

Looking at it in context, it should be noted that Beethoven was, for most of his life, a man of fairly ill health. He also had no real business sense and was one of those creative geniuses who are masters of thier inner minds but can't order a hamburger at Wendy's. If we keep to the Romantic era and stay close to Germany we find all sorts of musicians and composers who made a good living with thier music. Schubert managed to write some 600 songs, six masses, nine symphonies, 22 operas and dramatic works, 20 string quartets, and 24 piano sonatas without having to sell insurance to pay the rent. He sold private subscriptions of one song, "Erlkonig", for well over $200 a year (This was 1815). Mendelssohn and Schumann were also very busy perfecting the song form that is the basis for most pop music today. They managed to support families as content providers. Over in France, Chopin was making a big stink with his piano performances. As a composer, Chopin went largely uncompensated, however he earned enough with his live music that he could travel all over Europe and spend most of his spare time writing instead of waiting tables at Stucky's. Cherubini, Franchomme, Liszt, Hiller, Kalkbrenner, Field, Berlioz, Clara Schumann (yes there were women back then), Meyerbeer, Herz... Not one of these composers from the Romantic period relied on publishing royalties, mechanicals, distro advances, or T-shirt sales to put food on the table and shoes on thier feet.

 

How'd they do it you ask? Maybe there's a lesson here. By and large, they attached themselves to a larger entity (a church, an opera house, a government offical, a wealthy patron) and established themselves as content providers. The best, most stable example, if we go back a little further in time has to be JS Bach. He got himself appointed to various churches in Weimar, Cothen and Leipzig, where those churches paid him to come up with a new tune every week. He was also payed to play organ and harpsicord, and took on students. He didn't give a damn that he wasn't paid for "Prelude and Fugue No.2 in c minor(BWV 847)" every time it was played. The tune was just an idea he had once. He'll have another one later. None-the-less, Bach was able to live well and raise a very large family without laying claim to any intellectual property.

 

Granted, he wasn't a "ghetto singer/songriter who only had one chance to send his kids to a good school" and he was alive when other people were being sold into slavery, so Curve can refute this with another slave-trade analogy. (I'm sorry, I just couldn't find any Romantic era, European, black, slave composers for my examples, but I don't think Bach actually owned any slaves).

 

Music distribution over the internet will end up being simmilar to retail distribution. The boys with the servers are replacing the men with the trucks. If big, centralized, and popular entities like Napster are not allowed to grow, then nobody will get paid. It would be like shutting down all the big grocery stores and forcing every one to buy from little mom and pop shops. Except imagine trying to get food from two billion splinter mom and pop shops. Where do you start? How can you know even a fraction of whats out there? Now imagine running one of those stores, pop. How do you compete?

 

Large sites will eventually supplant all the splinter sites. In order to keep popular and commercially viable, those sites are going to need new content regularly. Songwriters will find themselves fighting for contracts to specific sites, just as they do now with the Big Five. Everything old will be new again.

 

Chris

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>>How'd they do it you ask? Maybe there's a lesson here. By and large, they attached themselves to a larger entity (a church, an opera house, a government offical, a wealthy patron) and established themselves as content providers. <<

 

The patrons of the future will not be Napster or MP3.com, but Microsoft, AT&T, Nike, and other conglomerates. Get ready to learn how to write jingles...

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I'd like to state that anyone predicting futures and calamities take heed; instead of freaking out over what's to come, make things happen in your way! No one and I mean no one gains success by sticking to some old model and in doing so cannot stand out in a crowd. Be creative, work hard as hell. If you can't find a niche for yourself make one!

 

Y'all should go look at the classical and techno charts on mp3.com and see all the artists pulling in tens of thousands of dollars off of mp3 cd sales and 'pay-back for play-back'. Look at Fisher, who for whatever reason went from the internet phenominon (which they could have ridden alot further) to that band on farmclub.com. And where will they be when the hype machine runs outta money? They had the hype for free before signing to a label!

 

Personally, I love seeing giants fall. Especially when those giants are so corrupted they can't even see where their corruptions lie! You all want to earn 13% less 10 on a major label? If anyone thinks that a new distribution model will force them into selling t-shirts and touring for the rest of their lives, then go sign to a major label and see how much better you do!

 

As to the so called Dreck on the internet, the beauty of it is that you don't have to listen to it. You don't have to download it. The internet could prove the ultimate filter, where only the creme de la creme finds ultimate glory. The Dreck would still be there for those interested in hearing it. Is choice what scares you?

 

-rob

 

p.s. forgive my rant, but as one of those 'pro' idiots struggling like anyone else, i look forward to a new way. like 'peace sells' by megadeth, remember that? 'if there's a new way, i'll be the first in line. it better work this time.'

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<>

 

What a terrifying world view, Craig. To be fair to MP3.com, their Payback for Playback program at least nods toward the idea. It's not really "patronage" as much as revenue sharing, but the end result is the same: More money goes into artists' pockets. And lest we forget, *government* patronage of the arts is pitiful in the US, but is alive and well in some countries (Canada and European folks).

 

More to the point: You can't apply the patronage ethic to a market problem. Yes, there are many historical examples of it working ... and there are contemporary examples of it working. But no matter the time period, the ratio of musicians with patrons to those without is going to be small. These days in particular, there are simply too many people trying to make a living in the arts for a patronage or voluntary payment system that's not already institutionalized -- like tipping food servers in the US, for instance -- to work. And Microsoft sure ain't gonna support Joe Lunchpail. They want his money, not his music.

 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Not every musician is "owed" a living by some yet-to-be-determined system. If one out of a thousand make a living at it now, and we can increase that number to 200-300 out of a thousand while significantly reducing the overall number of artists who take it up the rear from labels, we'll have accomplished something.

 

As much as we'd like to think this is all about us, it's actually about society in the end. Copyright was never intended to create perfect and perpetual control of one's content. It was constructed to balance the needs of society with creators, and to "promote the progress of science and the useful arts." (Or something like that.)

 

Marv

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<>

 

Obviously, this is a pretty minor point in the larger context of this discussion, but the second part of the above statement is simply not true. Beethoven is widely considered to be the first major composer who was able to support himself through his own music, rather than through affiliation with a church or court (Beethoven did get a little from his friends from time to time). Even in his last years, when both his physical and mental health were rapidly deteriorating, Beethoven displayed a sharp sense of business acumen when it came to publishing his music. If you look at his letters and conversation books from the period of the late quartets, you will see that Beethoven was constantly pitting his publishers against each other, trying to obtain the highest price for works which he had barely even conceived or sketched.

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>>Granted, he wasn't a "ghetto singer/songriter who only had one chance to send his kids to a good school" and he was alive when other people were being sold into slavery, so Curve can refute this with another slave-trade analogy. (I'm sorry, I just couldn't find any Romantic era, European, black, slave composers for my examples, but I don't think Bach actually owned any slaves).<<

 

What the f*ck was that all about?

 

You got a big Klan population in Ohio Chris?

Eric Vincent (ASCAP)

www.curvedominant.com

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>>I've said it before and I'll say it again: Not every musician is "owed" a living by some yet-to-be-determined system. <<

 

At least in these threads, some of the anger directed against the "system" is because people can't find records they want to LISTEN to. I'd have to agree with that; record companies have not been good about breaking acts in a world where the rules have changed. For example, it's hard for me to find stuff from Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe at my local Spec's. I had to have a friend in France send me the Air "Moon Safari" CD, which became quite a hit over here eventually, because the US was so late picking up on it.

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posted 02-20-2001 11:57 PM               

------------------------------------------------------------------------

A revolution that tears down the existing structures isn't of much use

if no thought has been given to what will replace those structures.

The reality is that if an artist is to make great music, it takes time

to make that music, and become proficient at one's craft. Time is indeed

money; you have to have money to "buy" time. (If someone has figured out

a way around this, please let me know.)

 

The only way to get money is to sell a product. That product may be your

labor, like packing groceries, or your CD, or consulting, or fixing a

car, or writing an ad...whatever. So, I don't see any way around the

fact that if a musician wants to do music FULL TIME, which is necessary

to get really good at it, then the musician has receive money. If he's

going music full time, he has to be paid for doing music.

 

However, I must agree that the current way of creating a promoting music

doesn't work. If it did, we wouldn't have Napster. MAny people use

Napster to get music for free; that's true. But many use it to get music

they can't find otherwise. Also, Napster has sent a blindingly obvious

<<< My best guess (yes Jim, I'm a chump - I predict the future!) is that

live performance will regain its position as one of the best ways to get

music to people. I truly believe that the live performance experience

beats a CD any day if the band is good and the club is intimate. I

personally would love to play more live, and I see the internet as a

great way to promote what I do. >>>

 

I totally agree. I think that live music is the key.

 

As far as giving things away for free. There was a man in San Francisco in the 193Os. He sold pots and pans door-to-door. He wasn't having much luck so he came up with the idea of adding soap to steel wool to give away to help him get in the door. After awhile he was getting requests for his steel wool soap pads. He started producing them full-time. His wife named the product SOS for Save Our Saucepans.

 

I really think that the major labels are on the way out. I think that the beginning-of-the-end of the labels was the demise of live music and the major labels failure to push live music and not to develop a farm system for musicians to play live and to prove what they can do.

Buddy

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No body "NEEDS" music to live. It is a luxury good and it's profitablity depends on the economic condition of a country. It also depends on the perception of it's customers as to it's value. Music also depends on the copyright laws of a country to keep it alive. In reality no one actually "WANTS" to pay for anything. If people can get something free without "FEELING" like they are stealing, they will. Thats the bottom line. Their is comfort in being in the majority even if what your doing is clearly wrong(look at slavery, nazism etc.. very extreme examples but it just goes to show the power of majority). Joe bloggs thinks that "if everyone is file sharing how can it be stealing?". Mp3 sounds roughly the same as a cd and doesnt degrade if I copy it. So there is no real advantage to owing an original CD.

 

The bottom line is that with the advent of broadband, and given the way humans think, the music industry is completely fuc*ed! Their only hope is that legislation improves/altered to force people to respect the copyright because our human instinct's do no want to. I garauntee that if Napster et al continue and music is not payed for their will be NO MUSIC BUSINESS. Look at the places where copyright is non existent in the world. Hong Kong etc.. Companies wont even distribute stuff their cos no one respects copyright. How many artists of any note do you hear out of these countries? Their music industries are no way as vibrant as in the US/Uk etc cos no one wants to pay for it!

 

I am a hipporcite( i have used napster and I am a musician/producer) but I still think Napster/file sharing etc.. is the end of music the business. And without the music business, there is no way artists can be developed and supported to the level we expect nowadays. There will be no more Madonna, Matchbox 20, Dr Dre etc... There will be no more SSL desks, High end pro-tools systems etc.. The only thing that will outlast this Napster problem is dance music(vinyl based, minimal production costs) and live music.

 

I wanna get paid, F*ck Napster!!!

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Dood, get a clue!

 

The P2P file swapping thing has little to do with artists not being developed and SSL's not being purchased. Good riddance to SSL's either way. The Big 5 have billions in the banks, and just got a billion more. BILLION. Say it with me, 'BILLION'. Artist development takes only THOUSANDS, SSL's cost Half a' Million. BILLION :P Rad word!

 

So few artists, artists that would be considered commercially successful, give a rats ass about napster. Why? Because they aren't loosing anything. They aren't making money off of record sales. Only a few do. Metallica is one of them. They didn't used to make money off of record sales, but after And Justice For All (ironically), they renegotiated.

 

Remember that most artists on major labels make 2-3% of album sales. They may get nice royalty checks at the end of the year after a hit single (which will not guarantee a contract re-negotiating), but they're making dick off the actual record sales. Most artists make their money off of touring and merchandise sales. That's a fact.

 

So why then is it that Napster is in so much shit? Start by asking Metallica and Dr.Dre. The Offspring and Limp Bizkit certainly like Napster. Heck, the Offspring like every mp3 site. They're on everyone. Makin' bank!

 

Whether or not anyone believes you can be successful at the mp3/internet marketing game doesn't matter. Someone WILL crack the code and make your millions. Then everyone else will follow, as in all other things material.

 

-rob0

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Originally posted by suremann@aol.com:

Looking at it in context, it should be noted that Beethoven was, for most of his life, a man of fairly ill health. He also had no real business sense and was one of those creative geniuses who are masters of thier inner minds but can't order a hamburger at Wendy's. If we keep to the Romantic era and stay close to Germany we find all sorts of musicians and composers who made a good living with thier music. Schubert managed to write some 600 songs, six masses, nine symphonies, 22 operas and dramatic works, 20 string quartets, and 24 piano sonatas without having to sell insurance to pay the rent.

 

I'm sure it's true that other classical composers were better businesspeople than Beethoven or Mozart. But you know, there are a lot of talented artists today who aren't savvy businesspeople either. Are we willing to simply write off all these folks' potential contributions to our culture? Like, "Hey, if you can't figure out a way to make a living at music, stop whining and get a day job"? That attitude doesn't strike me as either compassionate or good for the arts.

 

For the record, I believe Schubert played a lot of coffeehouse gigs. And like Mozart, he was dead before he reached 40. Okay, health care sucked in the 19th Century, but still you have to wonder whether he would have lasted longer if he had been earning decent royalties for his chamber music.

 

Copyright law exists for a purpose: to further the contributions to society of talented creative people. If you shut down this money pipeline, which is what advocates of digital freedom seem to feel is not only inevitable but groovy, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that a lot more artists are going to have to go out and get day jobs.

 

--Jim Aikin

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Originally posted by lrbreez:

I think that live music is the key.

 

It's only the key (or a key) if your music lends itself to live performance. Live performance revenues won't help songwriters or composers of ambient electronic music, for example.

 

--Jim Aikin

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>>It's only the key (or a key) if your music lends itself to live performance. Live performance revenues won't help songwriters or composers of ambient electronic music, for example.<<

 

The songwriter compensation issue is the thorniest aspect of Napster and the "free music" mentality.

 

What I don't understand is why people aren't demanding free food, free cars, free books, free rent...but feel perfectly entitled to getting music for free. Okay, you can justify it by saying record companies are corrupt, they don't deserve it. But there's corruption involved on some level with just about anything you're going to buy, even if it's only negative environmental consequences.

 

This is not to discourage musicians from letting out free promotional tracks, as they see fit. But that's the whole point that people seem to forget:

 

It should be up to the artist to control how their work will be distributed. Can you imagine going to painters and dissing them for being in a gallery - "hey man, you should be in a museum so it's free."

 

On the other hand, libraries are the ultimate Napster, and books still sell. The difference is that libraries don't exist at home, on your computer...you have to make an effort to go to them.

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I am getting more than a bit tired about all this. Using the big companies as an excuse for stealing EVERYBODY. Bullshit. I am a music consumer, and I pay for it, the same way that I pay everyday for my lunch in the restaurant near my job. Better yet, because music is my pleasure.

 

Most people robbing other people´s music are using thousands of dollars in hardware to do it (but don´t steal their Intel based computers). They are paying to the big telcos for thir lines. They are even buying new hardware to carry their stolen files around. They are just small time thieves, selfish people who think that stealing is ok just because they can do it. Even worse, because they are in their most part spoiled kids who can afford the technology to do it, and are convinced that it is REALLY COOL to take other people´s work for free, using their brand new toys. When I was a kid, in an upper middle class school, it was cool to go shoplifting for brand name clothes. This is not any different.

 

It really makes me want to puke when these people try to hide this behind a mask of hipness, saying that the world will be better this way and that they are fighting some unjust system. But they are not stealing just big label music. They don´t care if the label is big or small. They just want music for free.

 

This is not a revolution. Revolutions should take care of the workers. Big money will run away from the music bussiness, leaving the musicians, music store employees, luthiers, and all the workers in this industry to their own fates. In the meantime, those of us who really pay will pay more and more for recordings and for whatever protection systems they use now or in the future. It´s our money too, what they are stealing.

 

I have a solution for this, and I am advocating this for the first time in my life: repression. Zero tolerance. Frame them with fake P2P´s, drag them out of their beds in the middle of the night, seize all their hardware, their computers, their Playstations, their home theater systems, ALL their toys, and sell all on eBay with their mugshots beside it. Use the money for helping elderly songwriters, teaching music, whatever. Scare them shitless.

 

They are, after all, wimps.

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zero tolerance. what an evil concept. is that what jesus would do?

 

right now christians are screaming louder than ever and it seems as if they lost what is even true to the original ideology. adolph guiliani screaming about some CARTOON of the last supper or a black [gawd forbid, but probably true] virgin mary depicted in art calling it anti christian YET HE BROKE SEVERAL of the ten commandments himself!?! lets just all pick up stones and start chucking them.

 

GREED. that is what this is ALL based upon. you dont DEMAND money, you graciously accept it from people you touch with your life.

 

im just sick, surrounded by hypocrites.

alphajerk

FATcompilation

"if god is truly just, i tremble for the fate of my country" -thomas jefferson

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'I have a solution for this, and I am advocating this for the first time in my life: repression. Zero tolerance. Frame them with fake P2P´s, drag them out of their beds in the middle of the night, seize all their hardware, their computers, their Playstations, their home theater systems, ALL their toys, and sell all on eBay with their mugshots beside it. Use the money for helping elderly songwriters, teaching music, whatever. Scare them shitless.'

 

Okay now you represent the extreme right-wing hitler approach I see. Pat Buchannon would be so proud.

 

If there need be a quick shut-em-up solution to this so-called piracy for these extremists, then let there be a normal ASCAP type royalty applied to downloaders' ISP bills. You can pay it like you would (or wouldn't, right pirates? Arr!) pay your taxes. Then that way you can fund your police raids, and have a crystal on everyone's had that lights up on their 30th b-day indicating the time for Carosel, America's favorite form of death. Oops, that's Logan's Run.

 

Crackhead.

 

-rob

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robotobon, I think u need a BASIC ECONOMICS class.

 

People need to understand that the record business is not a CHARITY.

Everybody in business is there to make as much money as possible. Thats the whole point. Price is determined where supply meets demand. When the supply of a good exceeds the demand, prices will fall. If people are aware that something is cheaper somewhere else (i.e. free on Napster etc..) the people will buy "LESS" of the music. Since it doesnt make sense to pay money for an item you have/cn obtain for "FREE". If people buy less music, there will be less money made. If less money is made, record companies will want to invest less on their artists. If an artist has less of a budget they can not afford to use/buy high end studio equipment. If there is less demand for high end studio equipment, sound production will not progress. Therefore it follows there will be less SSL's etc.. etc.. Because high end studio equipment is primarily used to make records. Less records mean less sales of high end equipment. Think about it robotobon!!

 

Dont think about what Napster is now. Modem access is too slow for the majority of users around the world. The record companies, movie companies etc... are petrified about BROADBAND access. Downloading whole DVD films in a few minutes. It's gonna put studios out of business, and it's simply because of GREED. Not the greed from the record companies but from the consumers. Trust me. This whole situation has the ability to destroy the entertainment industry. If companies think they will not get a return on their investment in any business they will not invest. No investment means no entertainment. Look at other countries where copyright is totally non-existent, do you see huge entertainment industries in those countries. NO!!!

 

People have got to understand that the popular music industry has only been around in it's present form for less than 50 yrs. That is a blip compared to the how long civilisation has been going for.Throughout history, whole industries have come and gone due to new technology. The same could easily happen to music biz. I dont understand why people cant see this. Open your eyes!!!! This is not the same as tape/vinyl. This is not the same as copying your friends cd's. This is not the same as organized bootlegging. This is MILLIONS of people being able to make a digital copy of one track from a server or someone elses machine. WHY THE FU*K ARE YOU GONNA BUY SOMETHING YOU CAN GET FOR FREE!!!!!

Someone answer me that ....

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From a Webnoize article about Napster:

 

"Other improvements to the client software include expanded searching

capability, a more stable music player and a jukebox to help users

organize their file downloads, Fanning said. The new Napster system will

be a closed, subscription system in which music files will only work

with Napster's software player, however."

 

If the second sentence is true, you'll have nothing to fear from Napster because it'll be a monumental flop. DOA. That doesn't mean that OpenNap or others won't quickly take its place, but Napster, as we've known it, is dead.

 

I don't think it would hurt, however, to allow for the possibility that a well-conceived P2P platform -- not crippled by labels tearing at each others' throats and with adequate compensation mechanisms in place -- might hold tremendous benefit for artists.

 

Marv

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Originally posted by robotobon@home.com:

Okay now you represent the extreme right-wing hitler approach I see. Pat Buchannon would be so proud.

 

If there need be a quick shut-em-up solution to this so-called piracy for these extremists, then let there be a normal ASCAP type royalty applied to downloaders' ISP bills. You can pay it like you would (or wouldn't, right pirates? Arr!) pay your taxes. Then that way you can fund your police raids, and have a crystal on everyone's had that lights up on their 30th b-day indicating the time for Carosel, America's favorite form of death. Oops, that's Logan's Run.

 

Crackhead.

 

-rob

 

 

Hehehehe...I see that my gonzo mood post touched some weak spots. :-)

 

Just a couple of things. First of all, my left wing credentials are impeccable. I will not bore you with the story of my life, but I can tell you that in the (distant) past the Military Information Service even had a political file on me. I guess they still have it, though all such files are supposed to have been destroyed. I´ve even received life threats in my own face by right wing extremists. I am a Spaniard, by the way.

 

About the current topic, if you read my post carefully you should be able to see that all the punishment I am proposing is akin to a fine. Actually, the current punishment for drunk driving in my country (most countries)is much harsher than that, and you don´t need to be REAL drunk to get into serious trouble. I said "seize all their toys", for a reason. A guy who can afford to spend a small fortune in hardware, but doesn´t want to pay for the music, would pay more than a kid with a cheap computer. I think that is pretty fair. I did not say anything about putting pleople in jail. I only said "scare them shitless", and judging by your own post it can be done easily with minimum investment.

 

Your bright idea of a royalty on downloads is, IMHO, just more beating around the bushes. Downloading a file, watching a pay-per-view show or buying a CD are esentially the same. You get something, you pay for it. If you don´t, somebody is entitled to prosecute you. This is not fascism, this is democracy as it should be, protecting the rights of its citizens.

 

Have fun (but pay your bills, or maybe one night....)

 

JoseC.

 

(ex)Acidhead.

 

P.S. ALPHA! what´s all that about christians???????

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I got to thinkin' last night after sending off my flame at jcobelas@navagalia.com that it's not the downloaders of mp3's that are to blame, it's the people who made mp3 compression to begin with. Load a gun and never shoot it?

 

For xmas sake, this whole mess over mp3's is shameful. It has NOT made a dent on the music industry ThreeSixty. You know why it hasn't? N'SYNC. They are the music industry now. Anteres Autotune is the industry now.

 

Fuck it all, I retire. This is obviously an argument for the narrow minded. If no one can see that mp3's are not going away, and that you should take advantage of it to market your own music, then so be it.

That was my whole point to begin with.

 

-rob

 

by the by, i don't download mp3's of anyone cos they sound like hell. cept i did get one of alphajerk's band's mp3s and it rocked like the melvins. i'm pretty sure that's legal.

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hell yeah, its legal. and you can give it to all your friends if you want. its called viral marketing. if people just want the mp3, then thats fine by me. i would rather they listen to it for free than not at all. if they want to buy the CD or 12" when its released, it will be available as well...

alphajerk

FATcompilation

"if god is truly just, i tremble for the fate of my country" -thomas jefferson

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