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[P]
Post Napster, DeCSS/DivX

By tom0 in Media
Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:23:31 PM EST
Tags: Music (all tags)
Music

There's a lot of fuss about Napster and DeCSS, and I think zealotry and propaganda is blinding everyone- from the RIAA/MPAA to the politicians to the geeks- to many of the underlying issues.

Does the artist have rights as the creator of a work? Do you have a right to cheap (free?) copies? Are new protections needed so no one is exploited? Is technology irreversably obviating old notions about how media should work? How do we make sure we don't shoot ourselves in the foot?


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Here's my take:

The informed public is irritated because they pay $15+ for a CD, knowing that about $1 goes to media and perhaps $1 more to the artist. The artists themselves think that the RIAA/MPAA does not give them a fair shake, so they're not happy (see Hole, Smashing Pumpkins, Barenaked Ladies, to name the high profile ones). The RIAA and record companies rake in the profits from established artists, but are also promoting newcomers, fronting production costs, lobbying like mad for piracy protections, and suing people all over the place.

I know everyone here hates the RIAA (and I agree there are a lot of great reasons to), but what if Napster prevails? Suppose you can get any song, and any movie, for free online? What happens then?

"Rock star" is a highly romanticized life, but there are a lot of musicians that actually work hard, and couldn't do what they do "on the side". Personally, I worry that if my favorite artists can't make a good living making music they will stop making music. Sure, maybe now you like to say you do support the artists you like by buying some CDs if you like the MP3, but what about when sharing the ripped tracks directly is reasonable? Even if you do actually buy the albums you like, does everyone else? If not, where does the artist's income come from? It's not like this is easy to do as a hobby (or cheap, ever rent a studio?).

I'm sure that, eventually, market forces will cause the RIAA and the labels to implode. In the meantime, do we really want music to become free?

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Post Napster, DeCSS/DivX | 72 comments (69 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Holy inconsistency, Batman! (4.00 / 6) (#2)
by Inoshiro on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 03:31:57 AM EST

The Bare Naked Ladies are battling Napster by putting demoes out and telling them to buy the CD instead of just releasing everything (ala Hole, Napster, Offspring).

--
[ イノシロ ]
Re: Holy inconsistency, Batman! (3.50 / 2) (#9)
by tom0 on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 08:35:32 AM EST

Yikes! Mea culpa, you're absolutely correct.

How embarassing- I wish I could edit that out...

[ Parent ]

Re: Holy inconsistency, Batman! (3.50 / 4) (#28)
by 3than on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:08:44 PM EST

What the Barenaked Ladies are doing is what I'd like to see--the artists themselves manipulating media. This is exactly what should be happening--they should publish their work in the manner they want.
The RIAA/MPAA is a bad organization only because they are a medium which can't be manipulated by the artist. Artists have very limited choice in how their music is disseminated once they've bought in to this system. That's what has to change. I think there will be many casualties in this crossover, unfortunately. Most of them will be industry-driven bands which were created only to sell CD's, but some good musicians will be turned off.
But I think that most musicians who create viable, interesting music are driven to do so for other reasons than money. Most of the music which is really alive these days, some cutting-edge techno, rock, and some jazz, and a lot of sharp hiphop, aren't really the bread and butter of the industry anyway--they sell to much smaller crowds than your mass-culture-pop-icon types. So what I'm saying, basically, is that the industry is more or less uninvolved with the creation of good music. And does anyone think that Metallica, Dre, or the Barenaked Ladies are going to stop making their music?

[ Parent ]
Aieeeee! (1.00 / 6) (#3)
by pwhysall on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 04:08:16 AM EST

No more Napster!
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
Napster is only a stepping stone... (3.42 / 7) (#4)
by spiralx on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 04:31:11 AM EST

I don't think anyone thinks that Napster et al are the model of the future - they do solely exist for the consumers benefit rather than for the artists in their current incarnations. Whilst artists like Chuck D are in favour of new technologies as a catalyst for change, I doubt very much that they want Napster to be the future of music distribution. That would kill off a lot of artists without a doubt.

Rather, we need a model in which customers buy and the artists are directly compensated. The artists can then, if they so desire, purchase the services of things like advertising agencies, managers, producers and promoters as and when they desire rather than being tied to a single monolithic organisation that sucks up all of their profits. This will encourage competition amongst these side organisations, to the betterment of everybody IMHO.

Anyway, I voted "Didn't care" because, well, this article doesn't really say anything new or offer any suggestions or insights.


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey

Video killed the Radio star (4.14 / 7) (#5)
by IoaPetraka on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 05:27:04 AM EST

I don't think anyone thinks that Napster et al are the model of the future - they do solely exist for the consumers benefit rather than for the artists in their current incarnations....That would kill off a lot of artists without a doubt.

This is a misunderstanding of The Way Things Work. It has been demonstrated as a falsehood in the past, and if look at the present, it is being demonstrated now. The distribution of popular music into free channels has never been proven to actually hurt the artist's income, in fact, just the opposite has been observed time and time again. Where an artist has a high level of free distribution, their record sales soar. Why is this?

Think of it this way, do you feel there are too many commercials on the radio or on television? I do, but you may not realize that both of these are practically 100% commercials. When you are not getting fed information about the best laundry detergent, you are getting fed information about this and this artist, and why you should buy into this artist. Every time you hear a song on the radio or television, you are getting a 'sampler.' If you like this band, you'll want that CD pretty bad. If neither television nor radio existed, you would probably have never even heard of that band.

That is a pretty sobering truth. Now, I dare you to point out a fundamental difference between these two mediums and networked file sharing.

  • Free distribution channels means FREE MARKETING.
  • You are still getting just a 'sampler' because while you may be able to download an entire CD, the quality is not going to be there, and yes that is in fact an issue -- a big one. The aesthetic value of owning the physical music CD is not there. Having 15 songs on your harddrive is not the same as having the CD, with the cover jacket art and lyrics.
  • Record sales climb where reputation is proliferated. Many bands would never have seen the light of day without radio and television, both free sources of music for the consumer. This is why, wherever these two sources are strong, record sales scream upwards. The same goes for networked file sharing. Bands who otherwise wouldn't see the light of day get exposure. Popular bands get their free marketing, CD sales skyrocket. Don't believe it? Check the latest from the big labels. Business is better than ever.

To harp back on a previous point. I listen to the trance genre mostly. Here in the USA, Trance is not your shining example of popular music. They don't play it on radios, save but for a few rare examples in cities like New York and Chicago. Distribution is pitiful, CD stores carry a minimal supply of eletronic music (this is getting better though.) Most importantly, advertisement is almost 100% word of mouth, or luck. In other words, out of all the many electronic CDs I own before internet file sharing came about, were either recommended or a lucky guess in the CD store.

Now, enter Gnutella. I do a search for my favorite DJ, and I notice that this DJ has done a lot of work with another guy I've never heard of. I look him up, turns out he is quite popular! I download some live shows and, yes indeed, his music is very good! I headed off to the CD store and bought one of his CDs the next week.

A CD that I probably would never have bought in my life.

.:.
Ioa Aqualine Petra'ka
[ Parent ]

Re: Video killed the Radio star (3.00 / 5) (#6)
by spiralx on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 05:39:13 AM EST

This is a misunderstanding of The Way Things Work. It has been demonstrated as a falsehood in the past, and if look at the present, it is being demonstrated now. The distribution of popular music into free channels has never been proven to actually hurt the artist's income, in fact, just the opposite has been observed time and time again. Where an artist has a high level of free distribution, their record sales soar. Why is this?

I think you misunderstood my point - I was talking in terms of if Napster became the sole (or even majority) distribution channel, rather than becoming a legitimate channel alongside traditional media channels...

And as the technology improves (better compression techniques, greater bandwidth etc.) pure digital formats will eventually superceed physical media formats, in which scenario you wouldn't want Napster as your standard method of distribution.

Every time you hear a song on the radio or television, you are getting a 'sampler.' If you like this band, you'll want that CD pretty bad. If neither television nor radio existed, you would probably have never even heard of that band.

I think there have only ever been about two albums I've bought after hearing them on radio/TV. Admittedly that's more a function of the music I've liked - firstly black metal and nowadays hard/acid techno - I've bought these things from either word of mouth or simply liking the look of it in the shops.

Whilst I appreciate the potential of services like Gnutella and Napster there is the problem of needing to know what you're looking for before you look for it. Until this can be addressed, they're going to have trouble competing with things like specialised stores where you can find out about things.

Anyway, my point is that what you say is 100% true, until physical media formats become obsolete.


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

The Eventual End (4.33 / 3) (#7)
by IoaPetraka on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 06:11:01 AM EST

Whilst I appreciate the potential of services like Gnutella and Napster there is the problem of needing to know what you're looking for before you look for it.

Very true! Technology like FreeNet might help out in this area where things are uploaded with keys. Then it isn't just looking for the name of the band (Which is an impossible game if you are searching for something new) but also searching by genre, artists within the band, ect. Since you are talking about potential service here, we might as well look at potential technology. Software is not a static thing, and just because it does not cater to all of our needs now, does not mean that it will not in the future.

I think there have only ever been about two albums I've bought after hearing them on radio/TV...and nowadays hard/acid techno

You are then in the same boat that I am in. The TV/Radio examples were for the folks who actually listen to the types of music that get played there. I mention them because it is extremely relevant. We are a pretty small minority when it comes to the market scene out there. So our situation is much less of a meter to gauge trends by. I still think that it is useful to note that Gnutella/Napster/mp3.com have, for me, come to be what Radio/TV are to others.

Anyway, my point is that what you say is 100% true, until physical media formats become obsolete.

What happens then? I'm not sure, but I can give an educated guess. Somehow music survived quite well on its own for thousands of years. Somehow artists were able to perform, ect ect. Without the so called benefits the modern era has befit upon us. Now, with my musical taste, I'm a little bit critical of modern music. Oh some great stuff has come out of it, don't get me wrong. I take one look at the sheer amount of glut that gets exposure and I have to wonder.

I'm not saying that things will go back to the way they used to be. I don't think that is ever possible. I feel that by the time the physical media is obsolete, music will be something far beyond what we have now. Most likely tied directly to sensory information and such.

My point there is that it is futile for us to speculate on what will be the case in the future. We cannot divine what will change in the future, all I can be sure of is this: Music will never die. It is a part of our human nature. I know many artists who perform their songs for no fees. They refuse fees unless you offer to buy them equipment. They are here to make music, not make money. Perhaps the demise of the music distribution model we have now will weed out the chaff and do more good than bad.

.:.
Ioa Aqualine Petra'ka
[ Parent ]

Re: The Eventual End (2.66 / 3) (#8)
by spiralx on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 06:42:31 AM EST

Very true! Technology like FreeNet might help out in this area where things are uploaded with keys.

As far as I know, FreeNet as it is isn't searchable as it is constructed at the moment. But if you're talking about things like ID3 tags in which meta-data is included with digital music, then that is something which would be a help, but only to a certain extent - if I was being genre nazi I could name about 20 or 30 genres of trance or techno alone that I've heard used, but which in general mean very little. In the end, experimentation is the only way to be sure you like something.

You are then in the same boat that I am in. The TV/Radio examples were for the folks who actually listen to the types of music that get played there. I mention them because it is extremely relevant. We are a pretty small minority when it comes to the market scene out there. So our situation is much less of a meter to gauge trends by. I still think that it is useful to note that Gnutella/Napster/mp3.com have, for me, come to be what Radio/TV are to others.

Not so small a group over here in England thankfully :) If you're looking for new stuff try www.juno.co.uk, which lists all of the latest vinyl and CD releases over here and has MP3 clips for most of them. I know a few people that order most of their stuff off of juno.

What happens then? I'm not sure, but I can give an educated guess. Somehow music survived quite well on its own for thousands of years. Somehow artists were able to perform, ect ect. Without the so called benefits the modern era has befit upon us. Now, with my musical taste, I'm a little bit critical of modern music. Oh some great stuff has come out of it, don't get me wrong. I take one look at the sheer amount of glut that gets exposure and I have to wonder.

Oh yeah, even if purchase models entirely failed there'd still be people producing music for the love of it, but a lot of people would have to work instead, leaving them less or no time to produce - it takes a lot of time and effort to make music...

I doubt it'd weed out the chaff - I think it'd hit artists across the quality specrtum, leaving us with pretty much the same percentage of quality, but far less of it. Then again, I doubt it'd hit the sort of stuff we listen to quite as hard due to the (relatively) cheap costs of making it.

I'm not saying that things will go back to the way they used to be. I don't think that is ever possible. I feel that by the time the physical media is obsolete, music will be something far beyond what we have now. Most likely tied directly to sensory information and such.

If I take the right chemicals, I find that music can already be linked directly to my senses in a thoroughly enjoyable way :)


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Re: The Eventual End (3.50 / 4) (#16)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:27:08 AM EST

FreeNet doesn't really help with search problems. The trouble with Napster and Gnutella is that the search criterea available are too limited: Napster lets you search by track or by artist, Gnutella just lets you search by filename (duh, what the **** use is this ?)

FreeNet's keys don't help at all, as you need to know the entire key to retrieve the data, and there is no way to find the set of keys currently in the system. You need to get the key via some out-of-band mechanism. There might be a way to add soem kind of directory system to FreeNet, but I think this might require more coordination between nodes, and thus more knowledge about the system located at each node, than they consider acceptable.

Ultimately, you need some kind of much more general search system, either located on the web or as part of the general filesharing system, that supports queries like "show me all the new Acid Funky Techno Garage tracks released in the past week" and then lets you look for MP3s of those tracks. Noone has a handle on this yet, as far as I can see. This kind of "finding new music" problem is mainly handled by the record company promoters and radio stations, and right now the internet file sharing system are parasitising those efforts (thats not a criticism, just how I see it).

Its my view (FWIW) that this is another "search" problem, just like the one Gnutella and Napster are solving. The difference between searching for recordings of a given piece of music, and searching for new music of a given type, is not very great in terms of the technology required to support it.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Re: The Eventual End (3.00 / 1) (#33)
by trust_no_one on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:26:14 PM EST

The difference between searching for recordings of a given piece of music, and searching for new music of a given type, is not very great in terms of the technology required to support it.

I disagree. One is objective, the other very subjective. I don't believe that technology will ever solve the search problem. Musical genres are much too fuzzy and change far too often.

I think that this is the value added by record companies and media outlets. I envision a model where an artist hires a record company to promote his/her music. This isn't that different from what happens now, except that there is no transfer of ownership from the artist to the record company.
I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused
[ Parent ]

Re: Video killed the Radio star (3.40 / 5) (#11)
by tom0 on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:33:18 AM EST

Now, I dare you to point out a fundamental difference between these two mediums and networked file sharing.

How about these:

  • I'm not sure about TV, but radio stations PAY RIAA/ASCAP licensing fees to play these songs on thier stations. In fact, when you hear a song in your favorite restaurant, the licensing organization is supposed to get a fee. Wild, isn't it? The bands that "hit" on radio enter a feedback loop- more airplay leads to higher CD sales, which leads to more airplay... These fees are, albeit very indirectly, propagating to artists. With filesharing you are perhaps paying for bandwidth, but not the music.
  • FM and TV do not offer CD quality sound, or an easy way to reassemble an album. MP3 comes close to CDs but picky bastards like me would still rather have the CD. Right now, you can go out and buy a CD burner and make copies of all your CDs to share with your friends. Once lots of people have the bandwidth and big disks to do it, there's no reason for people to avoid trading uncompressed copies online (or maybe we just get a superior compressed format). You can also burn music CDs using mp3's as your source, though that just seems silly..
  • I know people who have tripled thier CD-buying rate since mp3's came around and I know people who just buy hard drives and CD-Rs. I don't think it's clear that you'll never be able to download something that that you will consider at least as good as what you can buy in the store. For lots of people, we're past that point right now.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Video killed the Radio star (4.00 / 1) (#31)
    by zavyman on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:19:21 PM EST

    That superior compression format is out there, called shorten. Many people are already trading cd's online, albeit live shows from bands like Phish and the Grateful Dead. It takes about a gig per show, making three cd's.

    The compression is claimed to get 2:1, but I usually see only a compression of 60% of the real size.

    http://www.hornig.net/shorten.html

    http://www.softsound.com/Shorten.html

    [ Parent ]

    Re: other formats (2.00 / 1) (#44)
    by inri on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 04:19:09 PM EST

    I haven't heard of shorten, but you can try Ogg Vorbis, an Open Format (i.e., unencumbered by patents, as MPEG 1, Layer III is) for audio.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: other formats (4.00 / 1) (#51)
    by zavyman on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 06:56:38 PM EST

    What makes shorten stand out from all the rest, as I should have mentioned in my post, is that it is in fact lossless, the bits you put into it are the same ones that come out. Although it cuts it in half, that is half the downloading you have to do.

    Using the shorten format, it is somewhat possible to copy cd's over the internet perfectly, where once cd is only 200 - 300mb.

    But what the RIAA hates most is that people are willing to settle with 10:1 compression, something that they had not anticipated. And I would really hate to see cd's scrapped in favor of lower quality online music. I don't know about you, but I do not see it as a viable model for selling music. Sampling music, yes, but not something you want to pay any money at all.

    As the other posters have mentioned, the music industry has to do something else to get people to buy the music, for something you own physically is something you'd pay for. I, for one, would never purchase anything less than a 16 bit 44khz stereo encoding of music. And I think many other people feel the same.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: other formats (none / 0) (#69)
    by inri on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 09:21:32 PM EST

    Actually, another thought on shorten -- don't general data compression algorithms (gzip, bzip2, pkzip) give you (on average) 2:1 compression? How is shorten an improvement on this?



    [ Parent ]
    Shorten is for audio (none / 0) (#72)
    by zavyman on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 07:28:06 PM EST

    The general compression algorithms do not compress audio files too well, because they do not recognize the general waveforms. They just compress the bits. Shorten approximates the waveforms, and achieves faster and better compression.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Video killed the Radio star (3.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Wah on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 02:47:38 AM EST

    A CD that I probably would never have bought in my life.

    I've had the same experience, with the same type of music. I just happened to run into a Mexican who liked the same stuff. I quick check on Napster and listening for a bit, and then a trip to the CD store, or the web site if they have it working.

    and I stopped listening to the radio a while back. There are more than enough good streams out there if you have the bandwidth.

    this is also the same way I ran into Phish, which I'm going to see next week for the 10(?)th time. And I doubt they've spent $1 marketing to me. Compare that with how the RIAA works and you have an entire argument for quality and how free marketing schemes encourage it. Mainly cause they aren't free, they are voluntary, and who wants to waste their time promoting something they think is crap, without being paid, of course. In this scheme you just happen to be paid in kind, as it were. ;-)
    --
    Fail to Obey?
    [ Parent ]

    Free Marketing ?!? (2.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Carnage4Life on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 03:12:35 AM EST

    Free distribution channels means FREE MARKETING.

    Free Marketing for what exactly? The product has already been given away. In a year or two when home MP3 players are commonplace, car Mp3 players become cheaper and home networking is standardized I will be able to do away completely with scratch prone CDs, exactly what is it that is being marketed to me then? Liner notes? Pieces of plastic? Overpriced CDs?

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Free Marketing ?!? (3.00 / 1) (#55)
    by IoaPetraka on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 08:38:29 AM EST

    There are always exceptions in every large crowd. The free marketing exists Now, as I explained it. Most of the people out there are going to be purchasing CD players and CDs for a long time. Just because you, an exception to the case, are going to ditch the whole system as soon as you can doesn't mean the whole world is. So the system I described above will be quite a strong force until the misty future when things finally do change.

    Look at it this way, how long did it take for Cassette tapes to finally phase out? Some might say Cassettes still are not gone. I see more and more stores that no longer carry them anymore as the years progress. Expecially mall stores that are tight on space. Despite the obvious quality and longevity benefits of audio CDs, it has taken -quite- some time to replace Cassettes. The same thing will be true of Mp3(/4) format. No matter how much -better- it gets in the future, when it does become a realistic format it will still take a long time to change. During that time, the free music source on the internet will remain free marketing.

    Mp3s are not ready to make the change yet. For one, the devices are a bit too clunky for the average user as far as uploading songs and such go. The format itself is not good enough. Maybe MP4 will change that. Right now the quality is far below CD quality, which is itself still below analog quality.

    .:.
    Ioa Aqualine Petra'ka
    [ Parent ]

    Citizen, not Consumer. (3.50 / 4) (#27)
    by mindstrm on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:03:05 PM EST

    As somsone said to me the other day..
    'Consumer' is the title that corporations give you.
    Personally, I am not a 'consumer'. I am a 'citizen'.



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Citizen, not Consumer. (3.00 / 1) (#50)
    by KindBud on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 06:13:50 PM EST

    Hear, Hear! I find the term insulting, unless they're taking about consuming food and beverages. Every time I hear the word "consumer" applied to people, I can't help but think of baby chicks with their beaks gaping, waiting for mamma bird to bring some worms to be devoured.

    --
    just roll a fatty

    [ Parent ]
    Here's my much belaboured take... (3.22 / 9) (#10)
    by _cbj on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:15:31 AM EST

    I've said this any number of times, so it's unlikely to be noticed now I'm weary:
    • The quality of music and films does not improve when money is added.
    • Good music and films will always be made they are art, not business.
    • Without the music and films that are business, not art, the remaining ones will usually be better and will suddenly have more exposure.

    It's a win-win thing. Fuck the RIAA/MPAA and the world wins.

    Re: Here's my much belaboured take... (4.66 / 6) (#21)
    by sugarman on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:04:20 PM EST

    I've said this any number of times, so it's unlikely to be noticed now I'm weary: Really? You miss the mark on every level. I'm surprised no one has set you straight.

  • The quality of music and films does not improve when money is added.
    The quality of music and film might improve when money is added. There's no getting around it, shite is shite, but a good film can be a great film, if they can get things like better equipment, more post-preduction, or the ability to do little things like say, more than one take, if they have more funds.

  • Good music and films will always be made they are art, not business.
    More true with music than films perhaps. On every level, films are a business. Without going through the business, the art won't have a chance to take place.

  • Without the music and films that are business, not art, the remaining ones will usually be better and will suddenly have more exposure.
    Without the music and films that are business, the ones that are "art" will likely not be able to be made at all. Sure, the production costs of a CD are pennies, but that is due to the volume of them being produced (and that have been produced). For every successful, multi-platinum artist, dozens die on the vine, mostly becasue their "art" is so much self-indulgent twaddle, and the cost needs to be recouped somehow.

    The same goes for films. Every blockbuster goes a long way to paying off the overindulgent, craptacular turkeys that are foisted upon the viewing public, again often in the name of "art".

    Lastly, how will the remaining films magically become "better" if the business films are removed from the picture? Thats like saying that food is better after a hunger-strike. Lack of alternatives != quality.

    I think you might need to re-evaluate you positions a bit. The issue isn't as cut and dried as you would wish it to appear.


    --sugarman--
    [ Parent ]

  • Re: Here's my much belaboured take... (3.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Wah on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 02:32:36 AM EST

    The problem with your argument is that it doesn't take into account the changing nature of both the music and film industries. You missin' out on the tech, as it were.

    Point 1 Digital cameras have solved much of the quality/price point for film. They also totally remove the "more than one take" type details. These are a very important part of the process, all these little details, and now they are removed from concern. This raises the base level of quality, leveling the playing field a bit more. Faster processors, cheaper cycles, etc. also are lowering the cost of digital effects and the computer to enact them (and the operating systems on which they run)

    Point 2 The expression of art will happen regardless, I think most everyone agrees on that. The quality seems to be the big question. I don't agree with art having to go through business, at all. There are certain aspects of business that art needs to continue (okay, allowing money transfer is the only one), but they are two different sides of society, or at least they should be.

    Point 3 First off, I don't think we'll see quite as large a downturn in the overall money that goes into support of the arts. I do think we'll see a much wider distrubution. Hopefully we've seen the last of the Waterworld's (equal to roughly 2,000 Blair Witches), but I doubt it.

    I don't think the hunger metaphor is quite right either. I think the problem comes from a type of anti-competitive art. Where excess funds are used not to create, but to limit choice and control distrubution channels. While I think this is a result of the rest of American culture (and a great example of it) I think we've also pushed the limits of the crap now widely considered to be art.

    The question is whether or not enough people can recognize a good thing when they see it, or hear it.
    --
    Fail to Obey?
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Here's my much belaboured take... (none / 0) (#65)
    by sugarman on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 05:43:50 PM EST

    The problem with your argument is that it doesn't take into account the changing nature of both the music and film industries. You missin' out on the tech, as it were.

    I get what your saying, but I don't think the tech issue necessarily disproves my arguement. Sure, an artist can record a song and post it to mp3.com, where they might not normally have gotten a record deal. What I've found is that there's a good reason they wouldn't have gotten a record deal: they really, really suck.

    As odious as the record labels may bem they do provide leveling of filtering that does separate some of the gold from the tailings. Sure, there will always be exceptions on both sides: great unsigned artists, or talentless hacks with contracts, but the filter is there.

    As for the democratiztion of media production: the high end digital-video cameras (the kind that Lucas is moving to for Ep 2) are still in the $100,000 range, and not likely to be moving down in price anytime soon. The low end, hobbyist stuff is better than it was in the past, but it still takes a lot of time and talent to produce something decent: again, we end up with a lot more crap being availble than before.

    The question is whether or not enough people can recognize a good thing when they see it, or hear it.

    And I think here you may have the defining point. If you've been forced to eat nothing but McDonald's, can you still appreciate a Prime Rib, or will that taste odd to you?

    We've been force fed a lot of crap over the years. Personally, I think it is actually getting better: programs like Oz or The Sopranos would never seen the light of day even 5-10 years ago. The explosion of alternaitves have forced some of the networks to actually get creative to survive.

    Of course, for every Oz, we get a half-dozen "who Wants to be a Millionaire" type shows, so obviously there is no escape from the crap yet. But the option of looking elsewhere still exists.


    --sugarman--
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Here's my much belaboured take... (none / 0) (#66)
    by Wah on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 06:31:52 PM EST

    A couple of things, just minor stuff.

    First, I agree completely with the "if it's crap, it's crap" point. But my hope is that widely available music samplings will allow more people to feel that they are more proficient in deciding what is good and what is not, rather than depending on a large corporation to decide for them.

    I think this is one of the fears of corporate music (and an unsaid reason why they hate Napster so much) is that the leveled playing field makes them much shorter, and defeats 50 years of tying up distro channels.

    Personally I don't think they are very good gatekeepers/filters at this point. They are looking for "marketable" music, not good stuff. Which is to say, they are looking for stuff that can be shoved down throats easiest, hence the reason you get so much blandness from your radio.

    The digital camera argument is about halfway. $100,000 for a top camera is beans compared to what it used to cost just for film. I expect to see a greater number of El Mariachi's and Blair Witch's, just because it has become something that you can max out your credit cards to achieve. The risk is greater for the individual, but so is the reward. And yes, it will lead to much more crap, but it's crap that won't be subsidized. And no camera can replace time and talent, at least not yet.

    On the quality issue, we'll have to see. Neither Oz or Sopranos (both stuff I like, although I no longer have HBO) is force-fed in any way. They are both examples of "patron" art, I think. Pay a few bucks a month for a special channel, and see what they give you. I think they strenghen the argument that such a system creates a much higher quality of programming than the ad-supported one (which encourages hosts to stretch our airplay by asking a contestant if s/he is "sure" 20 frickin' times)

    The patron system (which I'm sure has a better name) also encourages more prime rib, as you have people paying directly for a product, thus they are much more likely to have a loud voice in maintaining quality. Right now we have a music (and to some degree movie) industry that is driven by sheep, and if you've ever spent any time around sheep, you know that following them ain't the greatest path to survival. Although wolves know it is a great way to stay fat.
    --
    Fail to Obey?
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Here's my much belaboured take... (3.00 / 1) (#37)
    by DrgnDancer on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:06:26 PM EST

    The quality of music and films does not improve when money is added.

    Ever rented a studio? Trust me it takes money. So do nice guitars and other instruments. Granted one could only play live music, or record it with reasonably priced consumer equipment, but the first alternative will leave us with no recorded music to enjoy at home, and the latter with music of extremely poor quality no matter how good the band and composition. One of my favorite bands is a group of friends of mine. They've recorded several records and recently signed with an indie label. Just with the money infused by a low budget label their CD's are greaty improved. It wasn't a lack of talent that was hurting their recordings, it was the crappy equipment they could afford. I am certainly not saying that the RIAA is going about any of this in the right way, but to say that money does not improve music is silly. Don't even get me started on movies. Cameras, f/x equipment, and the salaries of the cast and crew all cost a fortune even in a low budget flick. (The Blair Witch Project as simple as it was cost in the tens of thousands of dollars, and I know several people who got physically ill from the camera work.) Leaving aside all debate on the subject of Napster, et al your premise makes no sense


    I really need to think of a better .sig
    [ Parent ]
    DivX is dead... (1.87 / 8) (#12)
    by AgentGray on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:36:43 AM EST

    ...and yes Napster and DeCSS both deal with copyright issues but it's getting old...fast.

    A misinformed, misguided national media (and local where I'm at) making Napster out to be the bad guy. You only hear minimal snippets on how the music industry has jacked up prices on CDs. (secular and religious)

    Don't mind me, though. I'm a hypocrite. I work for a corporation that owns some newspapers and television stations.

    Re: DivX is dead... (3.00 / 4) (#13)
    by tom0 on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:50:39 AM EST

    I don't mean the Circuit City/DVD DivX... The name has been co-opted for MPEG-4, the high-quality, highly compressed video format the MPAA has thier panties in a knot over.

    And, sure, I don't think the music industry is some kind of "innocent victim" in this, but I didn't think I'd need to explain thier transgressions here. I love Napster for having the cajones to do what they do and "stick it to the man", but if the model doesn't change I think maybe, in the end, they're sticking it to us and the artists, too...

    [ Parent ]

    Re: DivX is dead... (none / 0) (#40)
    by AgentGray on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 03:09:10 PM EST

    Ah, I see now.

    Agreed.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: DivX is dead... (none / 0) (#62)
    by Colonol_Panic on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 04:54:42 PM EST

    I love Napster for having the cajones to do what they do and "stick it to the man", but if the model doesn't change I think maybe, in the end, they're sticking it to us and the artists, too...

    This is why I have far greater faith in <a href="http://www.mp3.com/">Mp3.com's business model surviving. They are a cheap alternative to the record companies that allow artists to distribute their music to a vast crowd (the net) and still retain ownership of their music! They also get paid for how many times people stream or download their free offerings. We get free music to try out before we buy, and the artist gets a lot more money out of the deal than they normally would. It's win/win. (This is probably why the RIAA hates them so much :)
    Here's my DeCSS mirror. Where's Yours?
    [ Parent ]

    Re: DivX is dead... (4.50 / 2) (#48)
    by KindBud on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 05:48:26 PM EST

    A misinformed, misguided national media (and local where I'm at) making Napster out to be the bad guy. You only hear minimal snippets on how the music industry has jacked up prices on CDs. (secular and religious)

    Who do you think owns the news outlets? The very same companies that lobbied for the DMCA, the very same companies that are members of the RIAA and MPAA. Of course they will paint Napster & Co. as the bad guys. And it isn't because they are ignorant and misguided. They know exactly what their masters want, and they deliver.

    --
    just roll a fatty

    [ Parent ]

    Type O. (1.50 / 8) (#15)
    by Alorelith on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:22:20 AM EST

    Peter Steele of Type O Negative said that if his next album didn't sell well (that next album was by the way, which I thought sucked) that he was going to leave the music business and go back to being a park ranger in Brooklyn. While I'm not sure if he did go back (I don't think the album was received with great praise), the point still stands. Whatever that point was, I don't really don't know. But anyway, Napster can be cool, but it also sucks. There are better methods of obtaining music and of obtaining pretty rare music, such as Esoteric.



    ----
    Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies. -- Nietzsche

    Re: Type O. (3.50 / 2) (#36)
    by blair on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:53:47 PM EST

    well, not necessarily to imply anything about 'type o negative' itself, but there are those who make music because they are artists and there are those who make music because they are interested in the a) fame b) money c) glamourized lifestyle of the few, etc.

    those who make music for music's sake will continue to be musicians whether they have records that sell well or not. and for those that are in it for one of the other reasons, when their records don't sell well, so be it. they don't really sound like they were in it for the art of it anyways.

    blair christensen

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Type O. (2.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Alorelith on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 04:03:43 PM EST

    Yeah, I understand that, and it's partially why I said that I didn't really have a point to the whole post. I guess I just wanted to let that be known for some odd reason. And yes, I do think that Type O is in the scene not necessarily for the money but for the attention. IMO, they strayed from a decent formula on their first album (Slow, Deep, And Hard) to a pretty mediocore one.



    ----
    Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies. -- Nietzsche

    [ Parent ]
    Can't the model change? (3.62 / 8) (#17)
    by PhracturedBlue on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:43:20 AM EST

    While the question of whether it is moral/ethical/okay to share music without paying royalties can be (and has been) debated, is we make the assumption that Napster wins and music sharing becomes legal (which I really doubt will happen), then the artists will have to adapt. They will probably still be able to make money through having their music played on the radio, can certainly make money playing live concerts, and despite the hype with Napster, 90% of people who buy music won't have broadband access in their homes for several years, and will continue to buy music the old fashioned way (just as there is no evidence (that I've heard about) that Napster is hurting national record sales). I agree that the artists will have to adapt, but they are not going to be ruined overnight by these technologies.


    Re: Can't the model change? (4.20 / 5) (#18)
    by GrayMouser on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:02:47 AM EST

    I think this post gets to the jist of the situation. Regardless of the outcome, in many ways Pandora's box has been opened, and the little demon buggers ain't going back in. Intellectual property is now becoming as common as tangible property, and increasing easy to put a price on. The model is changing.

    As this relates to music, the effects will be seen fully in about 6 years. I'm thinking of the young teenager eyeing a guitar in a garage sale, or learning to play on a beat up drumset. What are they dreaming about becoming? Right now they dream about being the next big group making zillions, whether its the Backstreet Boys, the Stones, or whoever their hero is, raking in money from royalties.

    I see two ways the model can adjust. First, from the record companies side, they can add value to purchasing a CD. Add a bunch of stuff in the box. Posters, lyrics, biographies, concert tickets, whatever. Second, from the recording artists side, they can (potentially) attract a starting audience by releasing tracks online and touring their butts off. They can then use that audience as to prove their worth to get the startup money to record their own cd's or to negotiate better contracts with a label.

    Probably, some of both will happen. What is sure is that the music industry in 10 years will be very different than it is now, and both sides are already aware of that.

    [ Parent ]
    an e-mail showing this has started to happen (1.00 / 1) (#38)
    by keltor on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:19:39 PM EST

    You may have misinterpreted the email, so I thought I'd write to you to explain the deal. Marillion have signed a *distribution* deal with EMI, not a *record* deal. What this means is that Marillion are raising the money that would normally be provided by the record company themselves by pre-selling the next album. When a record label gives a band an advance, part of the contract says that the record label owns all the music, etc. associated with the album. By not taking this advance and raising the money over the internet and mail-order, Marillion will retain FULL OWNERSHIP of the music for the first time in the career. This means that we can do whatever we want with it, without being tied down. EMI is simply licensing the music FROM Marillion to distribute it world-wide. This could have been done with ANY record label or distributor, but Marillion chose EMI because of its large world-wide distribution network. In addition, Lucy Jordache, Marillion's Marketing and Communications Manager, used to work for EMI, and as such knows the staff we are dealing with, and how to get results! All promotion will be handled together, and will be approved directly by the band - in short, Marillion are in complete control. This is the first time a band has ever done this with a major label, and we hope it will break new ground and encourage other artists to take control (and ownership!) of their music. The Album 12 2CD Special Edition available for pre-order is completely independent of EMI, and will be sold, manufactured, and distributed solely by Racket Records. THIS is the way we are raising the money to record the album, and are trying to make it something special for the fans who want to help us out! This version will NOT be available in the shops, and will NOT be handled by EMI. I hope this explains things a little more, and please feel free to contact me should you have any other questions. Yes, a major label is involved, but not in the traditional way. We're changing the way the music business works, and encourage you to spread the news! Regards, Erik Nielsen Director of Operations Racket Records ---------------------------------------------------- Marillion and Racket Records http://www.marillion.com racket@marillion.com PO Box 252, Aylesbury, BUCKS, HP18 0YS, UK Fax +44 (0)1296 770 839 ---------------------------------------------------- > -----Original Message----- > From: kel@www.marillion.com > Sent: 23 August 2000 17:03 > To: marillion@marillion.com > Subject: Re: MARILLION eWeb: Marillion Sign New Deal > > Bummer guys, I'm sorry. I said I'd purchase the 2CD Set, but I'm > not buying > anything from EMI (as part of the boycott of the major labels). > (you can read > Prince's, ICE T's, or Courtney Love's diatribes on major labels > screwing the > musicians and music lovers for why). Bummer tho.
    A picture had better be worth a 1000 words-- it takes longer to download (this comment posted from a debian X-Box)
    [ Parent ]
    alternative models (4.16 / 12) (#19)
    by wildmage on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:24:11 AM EST

    I've been researching this issue for quite some time (artist compensation), and the general consensus among the enlightened is that some new model will emerge. Which model it will be is a completely different question.

    Let me list some of the alternative compensation models with an unbiased description:

    Merchandising: The artist will make money by selling things like coffee mugs, t-shirts, and other special stuff. The music is the advertising-- not the product.

    Pay-per-download: Companies will sell the privilege to download a secure or insecure digital copy of the music. There is no CD involved.

    Subscription model: A fan will pay a monthly rate for limited or unlimited access to "feels-free" music downloads or streaming. Kind of like cable access or an ISP subscription. All-you-can-eat.

    Voluntary Contributions: This is relying on the honor system. If the fan finds it easy enough, they will voluntarily send their favorite artist money to "support" them. Otherwise the music is freely available.

    Micropayments: This is a variant of all-of-the-above except payment for music is so small, its barely noticable by the consumer. This would require a lot of seamless integration.

    Compact Disc: Don't underestimate the CD. There is no sign it is disappearing any time soon. People like to hold something in their hands and feel like they "own" it. This should last for at least a couple decades.

    A combination of these is what will probably be safe to use, since not any one of these is the "best solution". If you were an enterprising artist, you wouldn't expect to get ALL of your revenue from one source. Some of these payment methods require some technological solutions or social paradigm shifts. Either way it'll be a LONG time before any one of these methods "wins". Until then, its a great time to be a budding artist, but a lousy time to be in the digital music industry.

    -------------
    Jacob Everist
    Memoirs of a Mad Scientist
    Near-Earth Asteroid Mining

    Re: alternative models (2.60 / 5) (#23)
    by btlzu2 on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:21:04 PM EST

    While I agree that most of the other options listed here are viable alternatives, I take exception to the Merchandising statement vis--vis The music is the advertising--not the product.

    While this will probably hold true for certain Music Corporation Employees--I can't call them artists with a straight face--such as Puff Daddy, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and N'Sync, I find it hard to categorize, for example, Radiohead, Rage Against The Machine, and Blur music as advertising to sell T-Shirts! (IMO)

    This doesn't relly detract from the overall points made by Jacob, but something about saying that music is advertising ruffled my feathers! It bothers me that crappy corporate music is acceptable to the public only as a means to sell items.
    "This machine will not communicate the thoughts and the strain I am under." --Radiohead/Street Spirit (Fade Out)
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Music as advertising (3.00 / 4) (#24)
    by Stargazer on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:49:37 PM EST

    I believe the statement was made somewhat poorly. It's not really wrong, per se, it just gives the wrong suggestion.

    The problem stems largely from a mindset of "If I don't make money from it, it's not a product," which temporarily snuck into the post. The artists' music will still be one of their products; however, it will be insignificant from a profit-making perspective.

    The music will serve as enticement for consumers to buy the merchandising. If you like a band pretty well, you probably wouldn't mind having a t-shirt or a coffee mug to have around. Likewise, if you don't like the band, you're not going to want their wares. It is in this way that the music serves as advertising for music. It already does this, in fact.

    In short, it would have been more accurate to say, "Music is advertising for the income." It is no less music because of this.

    -- Brett



    [ Parent ]

    Re: alternative models (2.60 / 5) (#25)
    by Happy Monkey on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:54:02 PM EST

    I think that all of these examples were from the point of view of a revenue stream for the artist. From that perspective, the music is advertising for the "products" associated with it. I think most people would agree that from an artist's and the fan's perspective, the music should never be considered an ad for T-shirts.

    Just look at what this attitude has turned Hollywood into.
    ___
    Length 17, Width 3
    [ Parent ]

    Re: alternative models (3.40 / 5) (#34)
    by wildmage on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:26:57 PM EST

    I tried to make clear that my listing was unbiased. Personally, I don't much like merchandising, but it may have serious application in larger corporate bands. It probably has zero impact in independent and "respectable" bands.

    When I said, "music is advertising, not the product", that was mainly the puritan point of view if I took merchandising as my sole source of revenue. I doubt any one will take this approach, but it still applies that music can be used as a launching point into other services and products. Of course this could require a fundamental shift in what a musician is.

    Just for fun, 2 examples of music that is used as a launching point into products and services:

    Coca-cola Theme Music I can recall a LOT of theme music over the past decade that Coca-cola has come out to promote their product. The music was pretty catchy, but lousy on theme. The music wasn't what they were trying to sell, just the launching point to get you to buy Cola. Of course you could more broadly apply this to advertising jingles in general.

    The band Kiss: I can remember from a radio interview with the lead singer that the band were more action heroes than musicians. This a good reason behind their relentless merchandising of things like action figures. Not to mention whatever else you can think of. Plus Kiss was notorious for their concert performances. I've never been to one, but I've heard a LOT about them.

    These aren't exhaustive examples of music as bait models, but rather a route that some people might take. I personally probably wouldn't like this kind of music, but I know others would.

    -------------
    Jacob Everist
    Memoirs of a Mad Scientist
    Near-Earth Asteroid Mining

    [ Parent ]

    Re: alternative models (1.50 / 4) (#30)
    by C0vardeAn0nim0 on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:17:27 PM EST

    I'll put my egs in the voluntary contibutions basket, specially if Stephen King's iniciative of releasing his new books pays off. If you like the song and wishes to contribute with the artist you send him money. Add to this the live shows income and a good artist can make his living whitout RIAA.

    http://www.comofazer.net
    [ Parent ]
    Another revenue model for musicians (3.14 / 7) (#22)
    by trust_no_one on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:07:48 PM EST

    Musicians can make their livings the old fashioned way, namely live performance. Until technology can recreate the concert going experience, there will always be a market for live music. The recordings will be promotional devices for the live shows, instead of the current system which is exactly the opposite.

    I disagree with the implication that if the potential for incredible wealth (ie. Rolling Stones type money) were removed that no kid would ever pick up a guitar. This doesn't fit with my experience at all. Most guys I know start playing cause it impresses girls, not because they think they'll get rich.

    Movies are probably a different case, but I think that there will always be a market for seeing them in a theater, on a large screen with other people. People actually do like to leave their homes once in a while. I think the entertainment industry will survive the Napster revolution. It may become smaller, less monolithic and more fragmented. But I have no doubt that there will still be new music to listen to.
    I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused

    Re: Another revenue model for musicians (2.66 / 3) (#45)
    by plastik55 on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 04:51:25 PM EST

    What about inherently studio-bound music? Hip-hop, trance, techno, ambient, New Age... all the actual musicianship goes on in the studio, and live "performances" are mostly worthless IMHO. How are these acts supposed to make money?

    (Traditionally, they make money by selling vinyl to DJs.)

    But I'm working with gdam and I think we are going to make vinyl obsolete, as if it weren't already. Advocating that musicians go back to doing live shows for money is short-sighted, and ignores several important genres of music.
    w00t!
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Another revenue model for musicians (1.50 / 2) (#49)
    by KindBud on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 06:07:59 PM EST

    What about inherently studio-bound music?

    What about it?

    Hip-hop, trance, techno, ambient, New Age... all the actual musicianship goes on in the studio, and live "performances" are mostly worthless IMHO. How are these acts supposed to make money?

    Dunno. Not my problem.

    (Traditionally, they make money by selling vinyl to DJs.)

    Oh. Cool. You can't download vinyl records. Looks like the business model for this genre can survive the age of digital downloads. I don't see many people having solitary raves in their living room with the PC blaring MP3s through the stereo.

    But I'm working with gdam and I think we are going to make vinyl obsolete, as if it weren't already.

    Come again? You just said they make their money selling vinyl to DJ's, now you say you're working to make vinyl obsolete? Doesn't seem like a sound business move to me.

    Advocating that musicians go back to doing live shows for money is short-sighted, and ignores several important genres of music.

    Those genres, like so many before them, may pass out of favor. The world doesn't owe you a living.

    --
    just roll a fatty

    [ Parent ]

    A logical approach. (3.22 / 9) (#26)
    by mindstrm on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:00:19 PM EST

    If we create a hypothetical situation, this might be easier to analyze.
    First, let's say that none of the current music industry exists at all. It's not here, never was. We can do this; it's not like saying that farms were never here, it's not critical to life.

    Next, let's say that some artists figure out 'Hey, people like listening to my music'. Okay.
    Now these artists ask themselves 'well, how can I make some money off this? Do people like my music enough to pay for it? how much will they pay? How will I do this?'

    Remember, they KNOW that digital reproductions of music are both free and easy to do with any computer. The idea of telling everyone that all their audio recording gear must suddenly 'conform' to some secure standard just so they can make a buck is absurd. They know they don't have a god-given right to sell you music. They must provide a service that is beneficial to us.

    Let's face it. Yes, online music does cut down on CD sales in some cases. Perhaps in a lot, who konws. I know I would probably buy more CDs if I didn't have a huge mp3 collection.

    I also know that a good portion of my music collection was extremely hard to find anywhere. Record companies had stuff 'out of print'. Why should I be inconvenienced because the music isn't popular enough to go through the expense of publishing anymore? The artist made it; I want to buy it.

    Well.. it's there on napster, so tough cookies guys.

    The piont is, the technology is here to stay, and won't be confined by 'industry' standards. It will always get faster and easier to copy and move digital data around; and the methods of compression will always improve. Books, Movies, Music, all amount to easy to manipulate data.

    So the distribution mechanisms traditionally in use (CD, DVD, etc) have a limited lifespan. They no longer serve a useful purpose. What the record companies have to do, if they wnat to continue to hold onto their market share, is provide services that people DO want. Show me how I can make micropayments to listen to music. Let me buy songs online, and from the time I buy it onwards, I can *always* come back to the record companies online archive and listen to it, no extra charge. Let me dig up old, out of print songs by my favourite bands.. why make them artificially rare?
    THe same can apply to movies, everything else.
    If it was convenient for me to listen to everything online, and locate good, high-quality music quickly, I woudln't have to expend the time and energy into organizing my own collection, and so would be worth some money to me.

    But if it means sitting in my computer room in my lounger, drinking some nice scotch and surfing for the music I want, versus getting out of my slippers and robe and getting dressed to go across town to HMV only to find they are 'sold out' or don't have what I want... there is no choice. The record companies don't give me a reason to give them my money anymore.


    Napster can be the RIAA's best freind... (1.70 / 10) (#29)
    by unstable on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:15:12 PM EST

    Everyone knows 3 Doors down "Kryptonite" and "Loser" well I heard those and liked them... but was not ready to pay 20 fscking bucks for 2 songs.. so i hit napster and DLed a few more tracks... I liked what I heard. That day I went and bought the album and am happy with it. napster can be some of the best advertising music can get if they embrace it instead of trying to crush it.



    Reverend Unstable
    all praise the almighty Bob
    and be filled with slack

    All these comments seem pretty rock-centric (1.66 / 9) (#32)
    by streetlawyer on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:20:29 PM EST

    Give me the name of one single hip-hop star who isn't fully aware of the consequences of not getting paid. As Biggie Smalls put it, if you ain't got a wicked jump shot, you rap or you sell crack rock. If the whole Napster thing causes music royalties to collapse, then a whole generation of stars are going to be forced to evaluate the career alternatives of -- spending their whole damn lives trying to make money off touring (for an intrinsically recorded art form) and selling merchandise (like the notoriously unprofitable Wu-Wear) -- or on the other hand going back to gangbanging and pushing a product that isn't going to be made free by the internet any time soon.

    I think we lose out both ways if that happens.

    --
    Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
    Re: All these comments seem pretty rock-centric (4.80 / 5) (#39)
    by davidduncanscott on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 03:03:41 PM EST

    There's always getting a job. Millions of African-Americans work for a living.

    [ Parent ]
    I just have to wonder, from BNL's example... (2.57 / 7) (#35)
    by teeheehee on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:26:58 PM EST


    I've tried to listen to a wide variety of music, and this is especially true for classical or trance-style musics, that the particular section of any given song that really sells the album to me happens in the middle or end of the track.

    Now Bare Naked Ladies give a snippet of the song at the beginning of their trojaned tracks, and the rest is jettisoned for their own filled-in advertising or goofing off (or whatever), and this would contend with me finding the "best" part of the song(s) which would make me rush out to a store or to a website to purchase it. For some bands' songs this simply would not work as an advertising scheme, and if a model were imposed which took a snippet (say, the first minute of a song, or maybe 10%-20% of the song); well the artists knowing that this model scheme may be hindering their sales because the "good stuff" is later on, would this all lead to a perversion of the style of some artist's music?

    In trance-like music, or classical music, the entire song (let alone the entire album) cannot be easily (or properly) summed up in the snippet model. Sales for that artist, or even perhaps in that whole genre, could plummet. True this is only valid if this model is followed, but several different outcomes of this (or other models) could, in my view, absolutely change how artists create their music (in order to compensate for the model's confinements in how to advertise/present the music to the public without releasing the entire track/album).

    What would Bach say if he was told there is an amazing new way of getting people to buy his music, and that in order to make it more appealing he had to compose his music such that (to follow the standards set) the first 10%-20% of the song has to have something absolutely emotional and catching in it, rather than the lengthy build-up that is common of the music in that era? Would, if Bach accepted, it change the music of that time? Isn't this what we might be asking the artists of today, depending on how the whole ordeal works out and the next paradigm of music presentation is begun?
    (Discordia) :: Hail Eris!
    Everything you've just read was poetry and art - no infringement!

    Money makes the world go round (3.33 / 3) (#41)
    by QuantumAbyss on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 03:24:55 PM EST

    I don't like it, but money is what makes stuff work right now. Maybe in the future that won't be true - but I'm guessing it'll be awhile.

    So that means that if I write or sing or whatever, I need to get bucks for it - somehow.

    I don't think that the system we have for giving the artists that money is so hot. It was needed, for awhile, but now it isn't. If mp3s become so popular that they actually DO cut into CD sales (and yes, this most likely will happen) then there needs to be some way for the artists to get money. But I don't think it should be the RIAA that is doing that. They are just a big old money grubbing beaucracy that isn't contributing to the process as much as it is taking out of it. That is why they are fighting so hard, cuz they know their time has come.

    So I say this - the artists need to make a move (and they are). They need to do things like setup their own sites from which people can d/l mp3s for like 10 cents a peice or something. Figure that way a person would get $1 for an album - that is about what they get now (according to the above peice, if that figure is wrong, adjust the mp3 price accordingly, keeping in mind that an mp3 isn't as good as a CD, yet).

    I can't speak for others, but I certainly would be willing to pay 10 cents to d/l a song if I knew the money was going right to artist and not to some third party that I hate.

    But since that isn't happening I'm boycotting - and I encourage anyone else who doesn't like the RIAA to do so. But that doesn't mean we should cut the artists off during this period. It would be much more significant if while boycotting the RIAA we sent money directly to artists whom we feel are doing their part to move this economic shift in the right direction.

    The end.

    Science is not the pursuit of truth, it is the quest for better approximations to a perception of reality.
    - QA
    They Wouldn't Have to Not Get Paid... (2.00 / 2) (#43)
    by Matrix on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 04:07:27 PM EST

    IMHO, the Napster lawsuit isn't about getting copyrighted music for free. Its about whether or not a service provider should be responsible for what a person does with their service. (Although I DO think that some Napster execs should be chucked in jail for encouraging copyright infringement) Also remember that copyright != ownership. Copyright is a limited monopoly on the right to reproduce a work. Thus the name. Copy rights.

    I do, however, think that the RIAA and record labels are doomed dinosaurs. Free formats like Ogg Vorbis are the future. I do happen to think that music should be available for free, and that if someone likes the music, they should pay the artist a reasonable amount so that the artist can continue devoting time to their music. Whether this is tipping, micropayments, or whatever. Although I might change my mind depending on how Steven King's (that's the right person, I hope?) new experiment works out.

    I know that I would pay money to encourage the singers I like to produce more songs. Unfortunately, I can't do that right now.


    Matrix
    "...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
    - Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett

    Re: They Wouldn't Have to Not Get Paid... (2.00 / 1) (#57)
    by erotus on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 08:55:02 AM EST

    Well.. I don't think that napster execs should be chucked in jail. I say this because Napster has set a precedent and proved to us and to some artists that the internet is a great distribution medium. New types of record companies will be formed by artists "for the artists." The future is tips and micropayments which will make the artists a hell of a lot more money than they are getting now. The RIAA is scared of Napster because of what it represents.... a world without them. They are scared of the distribution medium which artists will use instead of using their antiquated stranglehold methods.

    The RIAA has raped and pillaged the musicians and their music. The artists are no longer artists but prostitutes for the RIAA. They are not getting a fare cut and the fans are getting ripped off. Not only that, the RIAA pushes the most untalented shit bands to the forefront because they match the sound of the month and then drop them only to have a one-hit wonder song.. Sorry, this is not art, this is prostitution!!!! Truly good bands are not represented because the good artists don't want to play the RIAA's pimp game. I'm sick of having the music industry shove garbled noise in my ears and try to convince me that because they marketed it, it must be the shit!

    [ Parent ]
    new law: artist can retake rights from labels? (2.66 / 3) (#46)
    by Justinfinity on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 04:57:22 PM EST

    I just read about an repeal of an ammendment to the copyright law. the ammendment allowed the artist to re-claim rights after 35 years. the article on wired stated that the ammennment has been reversed. supports of artists right liked this, so i'm guessing that now the artists can reclaim rights at any time. if anyone know anything else about this post it up. i haven't found any more article about this yet. on topic: if artists can reclaim rights, they could conceivably take back rights for the popular stuff on napster/scour/etc, let people have it for free, then let them buy the CD for the rest, or even take back all the rights for an album and relegate the record labels to simple distributers!

    -justin
    Free market economy (5.00 / 5) (#47)
    by KindBud on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 05:39:52 PM EST

    If the cost of producing and distributing a commodity (and there is no question that recordings are a commodity) drops to near zero, a free market economy will drive the retail price down accordingly.

    This isn't working yet for recorded music because market forces have been held at bay. The US does not have a free market in recorded music. It is highly regulated, by both legal (DMCA, NET, 1976 Copyright Act, etc) and illegal (price fixing) means. If market forces were allowed to operate, then recorded music would be cheap already, and there would be little incentive to engage in infringing activities (I refuse to embrace the term "piracy" to describe downloading files. In no way can Napster, DeCSS, et. al. be compared to larceny and murder on the high seas). There would also be little incentive to place draconian protective measures on such a ubiquitous, cheap commodity.

    The member companies in the RIAA and MPAA have made their own bed, now they don't want to sleep in it. Tough. You had your chance, now the world has passed you by. This is also how a free market works. You've heard the cliche about the Internet interpreting censorship as damage, and routing around it. A free market is like that - it interprets contraband as an invitation to form black and grey markets. The management of these companies are the ones who will be responsible for the layoffs and unemployment that will surely come to visit their industry. Not Napster. Not MP3.com. Not Joe Music-lover who shares tracks with his friends.

    I wonder how this line of thinking will play with "free market Republicans"? I can imagine that - theoretically - we might have some powerful allies in that political party. Not the politicians, but the registered Republican voters, who believe that this free market stuff actually works, or that it ought to be allowed to. Look at it from a Rush Limbaugh point-of-view: the "liberal media" is leading the charge to take away our rights and undermine the forces of the free market, to assert their ownership of the cultural expression of our society. Hmmmmm... someone should call in to his radio show. ;)

    Keep in mind this is all about recorded music and motion pictures. Considering the long history of music and theatre in human cultures, recordings are a very recent development. I do not see a threat to music or theatre as components of our culture, should the market for recordings collapse completely as a result of digital downloads. They existed long before any recording device was invented, they will exist long after the market for recordings becomes whatever it will become - even if it ceases to be.

    So don't worry about the fate of artistic expression. As long as there are humans, there will be expression. You may not be able to get rich off of it, but you can't get rich selling buggy whips anymore, either.

    --
    just roll a fatty

    What happened to Fair Use? (2.00 / 3) (#56)
    by RiffRaff on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 08:53:39 AM EST

    In the case of mp3.com (or more specifically, my.mp3.com), there was no copyright infringement there. Users had to prove they owned the CD in question. Having free use access to music you've paid for is no different than making a cassette copy for the car, which is legal (still) (I think...).

    In the case of Napster, and DeCSS, those are just tools. I if I maim someone with a hammer, is the hammer manufacturer responsible? Apparently so, based on these recent judgements! Of course, that's exactly what the states are trying to do with firearm manufacturers, but that's another (BS) discussion.

    Anyway, this sort of thing, if not halted, is going to lead to a very, VERY scary precedent.

    The mere fact that copyleft.com can be subpoenaed for a SHIRT just amazes me. Makes me want to use a .jpg of the CSS code as my web site's wallpaper and devote the whole site to links to the code and banners with the code embedded in them!

    Arrrrgh....


    http://www.lp.org Enough is enough!
    Re: What happened to Fair Use? (none / 0) (#63)
    by Colonol_Panic on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 05:10:42 PM EST

    Yes, there was copyright infringment going on. There were no damages caused by it. And, if anything, mp3.com increased the value of cds by making them more useful--but what they did was technically copyright infringement. It wasn't the act of streaming the content that the RIAA took issue with, it was the compiling of the database in the first place.

    Now, if the judge had any perspective at all, the damages awarded would have been practically nil. I mean, c'mon... my.mp3.com was helping the RIAA not hurting it. But that type of courtroom stupidity is commonplace nowadays.
    Here's my DeCSS mirror. Where's Yours?
    [ Parent ]

    The street music thing all over again possibly (1.66 / 3) (#58)
    by gid on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 12:14:26 PM EST

    Information wants to be free, right? There's no stopping that with all the open format and napster/gnutella/ftp sites/irc/etc/etc... I think things will *could* eventually boil down in to the Street Musician thing again... You listen to their music, and if you like it, then you go to their web site, and give em $5 or whatever... I know I'd *personally* but a whole TON more albums if they only would cost $5, and the money was going straight to the musician.

    Re: The street music thing all over again possibly (2.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Ceebs on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 01:10:57 PM EST

    On the BBC a couple of nights ago in the UK there was a fifteen minute outline of the whole situation. told in a reasonably unbiassed way.

    One of the major musicians who is involved in fighting against the rise of new music technology said 'If people want my music for free then they should be prepared to come round and do my plumbing for nothing.

    Now to me that argument seems seriously flawed, it should be moore along the lines of why should a person who spends a couple of days writing a song get a vast pile of cash for it? after all they already have Fame, Women,the adulation of crowds, all the trappings of success, is any musician that you meet going to give up making music because they are not going to become rich enough. If you want to get rich become a Banker not a musician.

    If yougo and talk to young struggling musicians, you'll find that they are after other components of the life of a musician, not heading out to become millionaires. The only people who think that way are the people who see music as an industry and so 'create'things like boy bands

    [ Parent ]
    Another take on this (3.50 / 2) (#60)
    by jade on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 03:06:42 PM EST

    Yes, there's a lot of zealots out there, campaigning on the "music should be free" bandwagon. The whole industry of making music is pretty damn screwed if you look at it.

    A fellow grad student who's nephew is in Matchbox 20 told me that they get about $.20 per album sale in royalties, after all the fees are taken out for their record label. That's it.

    Here's a link to a long but interesting article by Charles Mann from Atlantic Monthly about digital music issues titled The Heavenly Jukebox. A couple interesting quotes:
    Last year, according to the survey firm Soundscan, just eighty-eight recordings -- only .03 percent of the compact discs on the market-accounted for a quarter of all record sales.

    As a standard practice labels demand that musicians surrender the copyright on the compact disc itself. [....] "Authors own their books and license them to publishers. When the contract runs out, writers get their books back. But record companies own our copyrights forever." (Courtney Love)

    So does the artist have rights? Sure, but they've surrendered them to their record label, who then thinks strictly about profits.

    Re: Another take on this (none / 0) (#67)
    by Fred_A on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 12:12:49 AM EST

    As a standard practice labels demand that musicians surrender the copyright on the compact disc itself. [....] "Authors own their books and license them to publishers. When the contract runs out, writers get their books back. But record companies own our copyrights forever." (Courtney Love)
    Fortunately, the law here (in France) specifies that you *can't* give your away. You can sign all the contracts in the world, it just can't be given, sold or whatever.

    I find that it makes perfect sense, unfortunately there's no telling how long that law will last since the US are pressing on Europe to drop their protective (to the author / end user) laws and switch to protective (to the corporation) laws instead...

    Fred in Paris
    [ Parent ]

    Stopnapster campaign. (2.50 / 2) (#61)
    by avel on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 04:02:36 PM EST

    People's reaction to the Napster phenomeno are very interesting. Some independent bands would also like it to go away. Check http://www.stopnapster.com.

    These guys are proposing in their campaign to spread around machines with napster cliens hooked to the Napster network, and fill them with badly recorded mp3s or mp3s with voice messages in them saying "don't copy our songs".

    My take on that? "Dear God!" :-)

    Alex

    Lawyers still rule the world. (2.33 / 3) (#64)
    by fonetik on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 05:24:30 PM EST

    "...where does the artist's income come from? It's not like this is easy to do as a hobby (or cheap, ever rent a studio?)."
    Same place it always came from: Touring.

    I've heard Beck makes his music with a computer and consumer grade stuff, no studio. No matter what you think of his music, it sounds like it was done in a studio. In fact, most of the regular artists on MP3.com sound like they were done in a studio, and most were done at home. It can be an inexpensive hobby.
    The facts are obvious in this case, and it's obvious that the RIAA is just in this to keep their money train going. The sad fact is that the lawyers do run the world, and no matter how absurd the case is, if they throw enough money at it (they will) they'll win. And, yes, we'll come up with another way to trade files. They could ban binary, we'd still be able to find mp3's. But those people that can't make gnutella work might have the songs I want. Will there be fifteen other programs I'll have to run to find it? I guess we'll just have to sit back and watch.
    A thousand compromises doesn't add up to a win. -Aimee Mann
    (4.33 / 3) (#68)
    by hazel-rah on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 01:54:29 PM EST

    there is the problem of needing to know what you're looking for before you look for it. Until this can be addressed, they're going to have trouble competing with things like specialised stores where you can find out about things.

    ...i'm not sure this is the case. i think people are just too used to letting the labels decide what to play. with napster, for example, say i am looking for a specific kind of music, but i don't know the name of band or a song in particular. what i do is share songs that are like songs i want to hear. when people download these songs from me, i look at their shared files list and more often than not, they'll have something i want, because i had something they wanted. it's that easy, and requires no effort on the part of person ripping the mp3 to index it properly beyond getting the song and band title correct. most rippers with CDDB access will do this automatically. also, you can chat... "hey, i see you're downloading XXXX by XXXX from me! i love that... what do you have like it?"

    of course the hot list function is broken right now *sigh* but it'll be back.

    also, people who are searching for music in the more hard-to-find genres generally know exactly what they're looking for, they just want to hear it first before they buy it. napster is an enormous help with this. i read up on goth/darkwave/apocalyptic folk bands on websites and mailing lists, then hunt for sample tracks on napster so i can hear them before i buy, because these releases are hard to track down and tend to cost about $25-30 each, no refunds.

    it may be beyond the financial or technical means of a band to make their own recordings available on the web, and keep the files constantly updated, but fans are more than happy to do it frequently and thoroughly. music freaks are just like that. with napster, the responsibility is distributed so no one person has to shoulder too much burden of doing it, too. it's nice to have the artist's blessing to distribute, but frankly, it's optional. the relationship between an artist and their audience has tradionally had a lot of this give-and-take... artists want to control their output, fans want to hear anything and everything the artist has done. artist asserts "this is MY art", fans assert "you're nothing without US." this used to be a comfortable grey area, now it's black and white. the fans have won this one (you could even argue they won it long before napster) and artists will adapt. not without a bit of sulking though, and rightly so.

    -fh

    Say.. (1.50 / 2) (#70)
    by CYwolf on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 11:46:57 PM EST

    Why haven't I seen any record labels offering online stores where you can buy works by any of their artists? I suppose it would take a new startup to achieve this, but if they could offer the artists a higher percentage than other record labels, wouldn't they have a good chance for success? If they aren't spending millions on lobbying the government, this shouldn't be too difficult.

    Re: Addition.. (none / 0) (#71)
    by CYwolf on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 11:50:14 PM EST

    Sorry, I meant to specify a store where you could download tracks in mp3 (or OV, or whatever) format for a lower fee than the $15-20 CD. This could also encourage artists to stick less 'filler' in their albums..

    [ Parent ]
    Post Napster, DeCSS/DivX | 72 comments (69 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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