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[P]
Greene Blasts Illegal Downloads

By farmgeek in Media
Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:33:18 PM EST
Tags: Music (all tags)
Music

During his address to the audience at last night's GRAMMY Awards, Michael Greene, President/CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences bemoaned the "illegal" downloading of music via the internet.

The following is a transcript.


Good evening, and on behalf of the Academy, we hope you are enjoying the 44th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Perhaps at no other time in our history have people so passionately turned to music for comfort, solace and sweet celebration, and this year's Life Achievement and Trustees Award honorees are indelible reminders of the power of music.

You're tuned in tonight because you are passionate about music, you're fans of these great artists. That very special connection between the fan and the artist is an historically important partnership, one which enriches and entertains the public, motivating and sustaining the creator. In recent years, industry consolidation combined with the unbridled advance of the Internet has created a disturbing disconnect in our relationship, and trends say it promises to get worse.

No question the most insidious virus in our midst is the illegal downloading of music on the Net. It goes by many names and its apologists offer a myriad of excuses. This illegal file-sharing and ripping of music files is pervasive, out of control and oh so criminal. Many of the nominees here tonight, especially the new, less-established artists, are in immediate danger of being marginalized out of our business. Ripping is stealing their livelihood one digital file at a time, leaving their musical dreams haplessly snared in this World Wide Web of theft and indifference.

You've seen glimpses of kids backstage working on computers throughout the evening and are probably wondering what they're doing. Well, we asked three college-age students to spend two days with us and download as many music files as possible from easily accessible Web sites. Please say hello to Numair, Stephanie and Ed. In just a couple of days they have downloaded nearly 6,000 songs. That's three kids, folks. Now multiply that by millions of students and other computer users and the problem comes into sharp focus. Songwriters, singers, musicians, labels, publishers - the entire music food chain is at serious risk. The RIAA estimates that - now listen to this - an astounding 3.6 billion songs are illegally downloaded every month.

This problem won't be solved in short order. It's going to require education, leadership from Washington and true diligence to help our fans - that would be you - to embrace this life and death issue and support our artistic community by only downloading your music from legal Web sites. That will ensure that our artists reach even higher and, deservedly, get paid for their inspired work.


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

In response to Mr. Greene, I'd first like to say that I don't know anyone who spends three days straight looking for music to download. Even if college students seem to have more free time than the rest of us, I'm sure that they don't have quite that much free time.

Secondly, most people would be more than happy to download music from legitimate sources, provided you give us full access to that music, and allow us to use it the same way we use CDs and other media, mainly that we can play it when we want, where we want, and dispose of it how ever we wish. When the recording industry wakes up from their Orwellian dream of complete control of every fart and utterance ever recorded, then they'll realize that CD ripping and MP3 trading is a non-issue.

Finally, Mr. Greene what were record sales like before Napster? During Napster? After Napster was shut down? Doesn't it appear that MP3 trading actually helps to sell more music?

Oh, one more thing. Kudos to the guy that booed during Greene's speech. I imagine he had to miss the rest of the show...not that he missed much.

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Poll
What percentage of your music is "legal"
o 0% (Screw the RIAA) 16%
o 25% (It was on sale) 18%
o 50% (I only buy good stuff) 21%
o 75% (I like to try before I buy) 31%
o 100% (Hey, the artists have to get paid) 11%

Votes: 243
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Greene Blasts Illegal Downloads | 176 comments (160 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
The arrogance of these people (4.66 / 39) (#3)
by jayhawk88 on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 09:26:51 AM EST

"You're tuned in tonight because you are passionate about music, you're fans of these great artists. That very special connection between the fan and the artist is an historically important partnership, one which enriches and entertains the public, motivating and sustaining the creator."

However, we (the RIAA) are going to do everything in our power to make sure that you, the fans, have no way to directly purchase music from the artists themselves, as this would expose our entire industry as the middlemen frauds that we are. Rather, we are going to ensure that artists remain crushed under our oppressive heel by monopolizing radio and MTV airplay, strong-arming young, struggling artists into signing unfair contracts that monitarily bind them to us for years to come, and bribing...errr, lobbying Washington to stifle or downright ban any and all technology that threatens our monopoly on the music of America.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
spot on... (2.10 / 10) (#5)
by kimpton on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 09:40:39 AM EST

Neatly summed up jayhawk88...

[ Parent ]
<grin> (none / 0) (#100)
by vile on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:36:27 PM EST

<grin>

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
Mr. Greene, wait a minute (none / 0) (#108)
by pyramid termite on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:35:13 PM EST

"You're tuned in tonight because you are passionate about music, you're fans of these great artists."

Actually, Mr. Greene, I wasn't tuned in, I am passionate about music, and I don't consider someone a great artist just because your organization nominates them for some awards. In fact, I care so little about that, I haven't even bothered to find out who won yet.

"That very special connection between the fan and the artist is an historically important partnership, one which enriches and entertains the public, motivating and sustaining the creator."

Agreed. So when are you and your pimps and marketers going to get the hell out of our way and let us connect without screwing all of us out of money? When are you going to quit leeching off our culture and our public airwaves with your bribery and monopolistic practices and let the musicians and fans decide between themselves what the rules of our culture will be?

Like you, jawhawk88, I'm sick of Mr. Greene and what he represents. Nice post.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
I'm passionate about music (4.33 / 18) (#7)
by Dphitz on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 09:55:25 AM EST

Yet I'm not passionate about spending $18 for a CD, of which only a tiny percentage goes to the artist. This moron Greene talks about the artist's livelihood being stolen, and it is . . . by the record companies. I purchased all of one CD last year simply because I can't afford to drop that kind of cash on music, especially if it's mediocre. I hope in the future we see the artists rid themselves of the middlemen and sell directly to us via the internet. As long they insist on charging me outrageous prices for a CD, I'll continue to find ways to save myself some cash. If music was reasonably priced, you wouldn't have such a big "Napster" problem.


God, please save me . . . from your followers

I don't buy this. (3.81 / 11) (#13)
by seebs on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 11:29:15 AM EST

Music is optional. We're not talking about a subsistence commodity here. (Anyway, I haven't paid $18 for a CD in ages; I generally pay $10-15.)

Of course not all the money goes to the artist; most of it goes to the infrastructure that gets you the music, including the vast quantities of money that are spent trying to promote bands that, in the end, *don't* make money. Maybe this is a bad model, but it's a model that, at least for the moment, is providing us with an unprecedented variety of music, and still allowing most of the musicians to eat.

I don't buy the "if it were reasonably priced, people wouldn't steal it" argument. It's never been shown to be true, for one thing; discount games get pirated pretty heavily too. Keep in mind, your sense of a "fair" price is entirely based on historical observation and experience; there's no obvious correlation to an amount of your time. (With food, you can say that any amount of money you can't earn in a day is a "high" price for a meal.)

If CD's were $12, how much do you wanna bet that people who grew up with $12 CD's wouldn't call it a high price? $8? $5? Anything over $.15 or so is high for the raw cost of media; over about $1 is high for the materials.

On the other hand, these companies aren't making 1700% annual profits, so obviously, some of the intervening money is being spent. Maybe it's being spent badly, but I don't think most of us are in a good position to evaluate this.

If you're sure you know better, write up a business model, get a loan, and go into business. Your business model needs to account for money paid to retailers to give you shelf space; it needs to account for promotions. It needs to account for bands that you think could be big, who end up never being popular enough to sell through a series of albums, even though you tried to promote them.

Go ahead. Show us that you're smarter than the RIAA. I bet you'll find that it's a lot more complicated than you think.

As you say, very little of the money you pay for an album goes to the musician. How much of the money you pay for a good steak dinner goes to the farmer?


[ Parent ]
I agree the RIAA has a tough job, but..... (4.00 / 4) (#21)
by BushidoCoder on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 01:26:03 PM EST

As you say, very little of the money you pay for an album goes to the musician. How much of the money you pay for a good steak dinner goes to the farmer?

imho you're comparing apples to oranges. They're both edible and they're both fruit, but they are clearly distinct entities.

You're correct in that we evaluate prices by looking at their historical value, but we also evaluate prices by looking at the cost of substitutions. A steak, like all consumer goods, is priced based on the costs associated with the good, because if it wasn't, a competitor would offer a valid substitute for a lesser cost. As a result, the price of most consumer goods goes towards paying the cost of creating the good.

"Art" is different. It is much more difficult to find a substitute for an artistic work (Okay, yes, if the cost of Creed CDs were to rise too high, I can point you at 20 bands that sound just like Creed, but its not supposed to work like that.) As a result, since the source of the uniqueness is the artist, he or she should command a significantly larger portion of the cut.

The same analogy would work in a more typical market; If you and I both made computers, but mine had a graphics card that kicked the crap outta yours, I could charge more for mine as a result of mine being higher quality (all other things being equal). However, I would pay a larger percentage to the guy I contract to for graphics cards than you do, because they were the driving force of the uniqueness and thus marketability of my product. If I didn't, my contractor would split and go to you.

This concept works in most industries, and it works in Hollywood and the music industry in relation to the big players, but it doesn't work that way when dealing with the smaller, lesser-known, less-skilled or more niche artists. Don't ask my why.

\bc

[ Parent ]

Very good point! (3.00 / 3) (#23)
by seebs on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 01:48:29 PM EST

One of the problems is that we don't really know how much of the success of a given album depends on the artist, in general. Another is that most of what we're really buying is the "service" of finding artists, bankrolling albums, and distributing CD's.

It would be very interesting to see what would happen if some artists got together and did a record lable that *only* did established artists, paid the artists well, and charged lower prices. My guess is that, while we all like the sound of it, it would be very bad for niche artists, who have enough trouble already. If the record companies can't make enough money off the successful artists to justify the cost of experimenting on newbies, they won't experiment on newbies.

I think the main reason it doesn't work as we'd expect with lesser-known artists is that they *don't* provide most of the initial distinction in their economic success; the ad campaigns and promotional materials do. *ick*.



[ Parent ]
Hmmmm good point (none / 0) (#29)
by BushidoCoder on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 02:15:59 PM EST

It would be very interesting to see what would happen if some artists got together and did a record lable that *only* did established artists

I thought the Symbol Formerly Known as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince tried that?

It might very well be that the cost of marketing the "newbies" demands the high rates. I know that not everyone in the music industry is living large, and the music industry isn't sticking all their money into a vault somewhere so that Geffen can swim in gold coins, so I assume they're spending it someplace.

It would be interesting to see what the cost of promoting a new artist actually is. I've seen the numbers that the music industry puts out, but I take everything they say with a pound of salt.

The large cost of becoming known is actually where the internet model of music shines, because the costs are significantly lower than they are in the real world. Someone on /. argued once that its actually this point that scares the record companies, but I'm not sure if I buy that. Granted, they wouldn't be able to pick which band flies and which band falls so they would lose a bit of control, but the more successful bands there are, the more sales and revenues they would turn.

\bc

[ Parent ]

I don't think they have control now. (2.50 / 2) (#41)
by seebs on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 04:38:09 PM EST

If they had control now, they'd almost certainly want more artists to succeed. They don't really control this; all they can do is try to create the best possible environment for a given artist, but "best" in their eyes may not be anything you or I would recognize.


[ Parent ]
So, majcher, got something to say? (none / 0) (#87)
by seebs on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:38:25 PM EST

Every comment of mine on this story has gotten a 1 rating from you. Are you saying that you disagree, but have no arguments at all to offer? This is pretty systematic, and it's hard to believe that you actually have serious complaints about every last one of these comments, complaints which go beyond a vague sense that anyone who isn't all for Napster must be a tool of the music industry.


[ Parent ]
They have a fair amount of control now (4.00 / 1) (#101)
by sab39 on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:00:06 PM EST

I don't think that having more artists succeed is in the megacorps' best interests. It costs a whole lot less to hype the hell out of a single brand than it does to give a moderate amount of hype to 20 brands (and that's all an artist is to the corp, a brand). And if we assume that the amount of money consumers will spend on music is more-or-less fixed, it actually works out in their best interests to have only a few mega-successes.

Since the artists bear most (if not all) of the risk when they are signed by a corp, they can keep on signing hundreds and hundreds of bands in order to *claim* that they have to absorb this huge cost of failures, but if all those artists actually succeeded they'd be worse off.

That's just my opinion, of course.

Stuart.
--
"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

[ Parent ]
I don't believe it. (4.00 / 1) (#103)
by seebs on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:40:56 PM EST

So, if the corporation spends $5M promoting the artist, and the artist doesn't do well, the *ARTIST* pays the $5M? I don't believe that for a minute.

Furthermore, for your claim to be true, the company has to be *losing money* on the successful artists.

I don't think the music industry would really be worse off if more of the artists succeeded; they might have a harder time figuring out how to run their hype, but I still don't see the argument for their control.

The closest I've seen to an argument that the music industry has control was the "plot" of _Josie and the Pussycats_, and I wouldn't call it a serious argument.


[ Parent ]
I don't think either of us can prove this (none / 0) (#111)
by sab39 on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:22:03 PM EST

I stand by the fact that my claim is plausible, although I admit that I can't prove that it really is the case. I don't think anyone really can.

My claim is more or less that if the corporation spends $5M (or whatever) promoting an artist, the artist *will* do well, with very few exceptions. My claim is that the "unsuccessful" artists are unsuccessful largely because the corp *doesn't* spend money promoting them. The corp still shells out for the recording studio, but the artist is responsible for paying that back - regardless of whether they succeed or not.

I don't think that my claim requires that the company be losing money on successful artists. Suppose that consumers are willing to spend $10M on records (that's probably out by some orders of magnitude, but let's keep the figures simple) and suppose that to make an artist successful, the corp has to spend $1M on promotion. For the corp, if they hype just one band so that *all* the consumers just buy that band's albums, they spend $1M and get back $10M, so their net profit is $9M. If they try to hype 5 different artists, they spend $5M but still only get back $10M (with the consumers dividing their spending between the 5 artists), for a net profit of $5M. So they can be making money on each artist while still making *more* money if *fewer* are successful.

I agree about the plot of Josie and the Pussycats, btw: I thought it was rather ironic that the evil-MPAA was making a movie about the excessive levels of control held by the evil-RIAA :)

Stuart.
--
"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

[ Parent ]
Hmm. Steak, actually... (3.00 / 3) (#25)
by seebs on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 01:51:42 PM EST

Actually, now that I think of it, there was an article in the WSJ a while back. Steak is comparatively overpriced; chicken is comparatively underpriced. You can charge $30 for a "good steak", because that's the going rate. Many places make most of their money on steak and drinks, and make very little money on other foods. However, as long as all the restaurants agree that steak is expensive, it's expensive.


[ Parent ]
Awesome (3.00 / 1) (#28)
by BushidoCoder on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 02:05:02 PM EST

Really? That's awesome. I am amused.

Bad example on my part. I knew I should have used the old butter and margarine routine, but I hate that analogy.

Did the article mention whether that mindset was a large factor in the price of steak at a supermarket?

\bc

[ Parent ]

I don't remember... (1.00 / 1) (#40)
by seebs on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 04:36:51 PM EST

I didn't read the article myself, a friend of mine told me about it.


[ Parent ]
Similarly... (none / 0) (#81)
by elefantstn on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:05:06 AM EST

Sodas at fast food restaurants are WAY overpriced, to compensate for low food prices. $1.59 for a large Coke is about a $1.25 markup, but it's set there to make up for the $.99 double cheeseburger. If everyone who went to McDonald's stopped getting sodas with their burgers and fries and ordered water instead, the place would go bankrupt.

[ Parent ]
Computers / Recording (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by sgp on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 08:51:07 PM EST

Of course, the better graphics card is more expensive partly because it's taken more R&D to design and develop (and partly just because it's better, so has a higher value).

Similarly, if you've spent a long time R&D'ing your computer, you've got costs to cover (the steak you ate whilst designing), which all goes into the retail price you charge.

So the record labels have costs to cover, too.

The difference, and the opportunity, is for bands to do the A&R man's job for them (eg http://www.slidepheromone.com), a great unsigned band who have MP3s for download, and are doing their own PR. If a record company signed them, much of the work would have already been done, and in the meantime they're building their own fanbase. (Disclaimer: I used to know this band)

That approach brings the recording industry more in-line with your PC building business, since the bands (graphics card manufacturers) do their own work to hone a good product, which you elect to resell. Also, in an environment where artistic creativity is king, there is no need for the Britney Spears(TM) type artists who fork huge amounts of cash into the record industry without adding anything artistically to the world.

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

Absolutely (none / 0) (#86)
by BushidoCoder on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:59:45 AM EST

I agree completely. I understand that the record companies have incredible overhead, from marketing all their artists, sinking or swimming, to production and distribution of the physical media (which must be a nightmare) to helping pressure radio stations into picking which music gets played where, when. They've also got to pay for a fleet of lobbyists and lawyers that's probably larger than the population of Wisconsin, but that's neither here nor there.

I'm completely in favor of giving the artists control of their own works, because that solves the problem of the artist getting a small slice of the profit pie in comparison with what they should be getting. However, in the modern middle man model (wheee alliteration!), the salesmen are taking the biggest chunk and leaving crumbs for the actual artists.

The problem with the artist controlled market is that the RIAA does actually provide the artists with a useful service, even if they charge through the teeth for it. Sadly, I think if artists were in charge of the business side of what they do, there would be alot more bankrupt artists, similar to the trend in the late 90s when the market thought that programmers could handle the business side of their companies too.

Sorry if this posting had random comments in it, or if it was repetitive or irrelevant. I'm in an odd place today.

\bc

[ Parent ]

Artists Paying (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by sgp on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:07:22 PM EST

Yeah, most artists (incl. programmers) make bad businessmen/women. If the RIAA picks them up once they've promoted themselves (this being relatively cheap compared to 5-10 years ago), then the RIAA costs are lower, and the chances of the band being picked up by the RIAA are higher.

This would be more like book publishing - the publishing house do not take an untrained author and take them through the process - the author tends to approach them with an idea, outline, and the skills ready to do it. Similarly, the RIAA can provide an artist with recording facilities, producer, engineer, etc, to make a professional-quality recording.
This way, everybody win.s

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

Good point (none / 0) (#99)
by BushidoCoder on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:25:48 PM EST

Good call, I never had really thought of the music industry as how it could be similar to the book industry.

Sadly, the lack of profitability in the book industry (even though that is based on other reasons) will probably turn off music industry execs to the model. Ho hum.

\bc

[ Parent ]

F*ck the music execs (none / 0) (#162)
by sgp on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 09:53:40 PM EST

Good point - the book publishing industry is far less lucrative than the music industry. I, in turn, had not thought of that. :=)

But if somebody had the balls to join the music industry on the understanding that they'll never make the megabucks that EMI et al make, instead having a policy of "promote yourselves, then we'll be interested", they could make some money out of it, as could the band/artist, and the punter would be equally happy as if they'd got it through a bigger distributor.

Also, some (probably mainly k5 readers!) would respect that company more, and be more inclined to support it financially. I believe (so could be wrong!) that a lot of the piracy going on is related to resentment at the huge piles of dough the RIAA are raking in day after day.

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

Fair prices / contracts (4.75 / 4) (#31)
by Dphitz on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 03:03:32 PM EST

Well, yeah music is optional. That's why I don't buy much. And being optional, if it's way overpriced, people will find alternative means of getting it or just not get it. If I could pay $10 per CD I'd own a lot more music.

Also, you mis-quoted me. I didn't say, "if it were reasonably priced, people wouldn't steal it", I said you wouldn't have as big of a problem. Theft will always be a problem. It's just a bigger problem when fewer people have the means to purchase what they want. That's not justification, just a fact.

I also have a problem with the cut that the artists get. The artists are the prime source of all this profit yet they get the smallest share. Why should someone or some entity that had no share in the creation of the art get a larger percentage than the artist himself? They are at the mercy of the industry. Sure this system provides us with a variety of music, and it allows the artist to eat. But it allows the execs on the labels to live very good lives for art they didn't help to create. Artists should be able to do more than just "eat" when their music is making millions for everyone else.

Speaking of the cost of media, why is the retail cost of a CD up to %40 more than that of a cassette which is more expensive to manufacture? The justification is that we're being charged for convenience but the technology of the CD has been around for so long that it's incredibly cheap.

As far as being smarter than the RIAA? Well I realize it's complicated and I don't profess to know all the answers, but the artists are currently dealing with a system with few alternatives. The technology of the internet will hopefully allow artists more autonomy and reduce some of the middlemen. They could decrease their dependence on distributors, trying to get shelving space, CD printing costs, etc. You'd still have issues of promotion and advertising, to be sure. Beginning artists would still have to rely on someone for those things, hopefully it would be an entity created and run by artists themselves. The internet strikes fear into the big record labels and not just because of piracy, it gives artists options that eliminate those labels or at least diminish their roles. Soon we'll see more established acts moving towards this. Courtney Love considered this but the technology is niether perfected nor pervasive enough right now.


God, please save me . . . from your followers

[ Parent ]
Simple Technology (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by BackSlash on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 03:22:23 PM EST

I think the technology exists today if people would just Keep It Simple Stupid.

Instead of the 'Tip Jar', it works like this. "Pay me $10, and you can download every song I ever made. Including those really terrible bootlegs from my first live performances. I'll send you a membership card in my fan club, and maybe give you a break on a concert ticket so you can afford a $7 beer. By the way, my new album's coming out in November, here are a few rough cuts... "

It's Value Added Resellers. Yea one person could download the mp3's and put 'em on gnutella. But then you'd be missing on all the other goodies. The n0rp industry has proven that you can securly tie a login/password to a small set of IPs. You the consumer are getting your music from your favorite artist as well as all the other 'fan club' crap they throw in. Seems like a simple port to me.

No 'per use'. No watermarks. No bullshit. Pay me and you can listen to my music. And anyone else you decide to share it with. Period.

[ Parent ]

Pricing... (2.50 / 4) (#43)
by seebs on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 05:30:44 PM EST

CD's cost more than tapes because we're willing to pay more for them, because they're more useful. Duh.

Everyone seems to think this is some kind of evil, sinister thing, but that's how economies *work*. If people like CD's more, tapes aren't worth as much. If they are more expensive to produce, you will see fewer of them made - and indeed, most music stores have a lot more CD's than tapes. Eventually, they go away entirely; think 8-track.

This isn't a problem; after all, you can always decide not to buy CD's if they're too expensive. I almost never pay more than $12 or so for a CD, because I think $15 is too high unless I really want that particular CD.

But I wouldn't buy a tape for $8, because I can't play them. :)

(Actually, I think I still have a tape deck, I just haven't used it in four years.)


[ Parent ]
Business model (5.00 / 7) (#39)
by jayhawk88 on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 04:08:35 PM EST

If you're sure you know better, write up a business model, get a loan, and go into business...

The thing is, the record industry as it stands right now operates on a business model you'd be more apt to find in a Columbian drug cartel than a legitimate business. They control the means of production, distribution, and promotion.

If your an artist and you want to hit it big, you have to sign with a major label. But before the record company will do anything for you, you have to sign a contract which will in all likelyhood indebt you to them for the next 5 years of your life. They "loan" you money to record your stuff, get it produced, promote it, etc. If your good and lucky, you make enough money to cover the repayment of this loan, and perhaps a little left over for yourself. If the album isn't a hit, then your forced to start the next album that much deeper in the hole to the record company, which is ready to give you another "loan" to cover the costs of the second album. Or maybe they decide your not worth the effort anymore, and drop you penniless with a huge debt to them.

Even if your album is a huge mega-hit, and you make enough money to cover the costs of producing your next album yourself, your still on the hook to the record company for another 2-4 albums. And of course being a huge mega-hit star means huge mega promotions, production costs, etc. As your star rises, so do the costs. Only the very select few mega-stars with staying power are able to make it to the point where they can renegotiate a better contract for themselves.

Did Napster/MP3/CD-R's open up the doors for music piracy to middle America? Yes, of course it did. But what it also did was introduce a brand new way to produce and distribute your music to the masses, without necessarily having to deal with a record company at all. Although this aspect hasn't yet reached a critical mass of popularity that it would be feasible for the average music artist, it's not hard to imagine that it could have given enough time. And while the record companies will scream about piracy at every opportunity, you'd better believe it's this possibility of artists bypassing them and selling directly to the public that has them really scared.

Controlling Napster and digital music is not about controlling piracy for the record companies, it's about controlling their artists.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
[ Parent ]
F**k the RIAA (2.33 / 9) (#11)
by eyeflare on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 10:53:11 AM EST

and Greene! I'd be quite happy to pay $15-18 for good music directly to the artist, but not the evil fat cats that rule the dominant record companies.
Anyway, the subject of this article? should be buried for some time, it's been beaten to death. Sorry, -1.
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste
Great!! (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by lb008d on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 07:44:20 PM EST

I'd be quite happy to pay $15-18 for good music directly to the artist

Please come to one of my orchestra's concerts.

Good tickets are right in that price range!!!

[ Parent ]

Orchestra... (4.00 / 1) (#76)
by eyeflare on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:27:41 AM EST

... tickets I do get. Been to three Malmoe Symphony Orchestra concerts in the last four months. Tickets are $17 for the full symphony and $10 if there's a chamber concert. I also go for live club music whenever it sounds interesting. I like to give musicians money, they give me pleasure (eh!?) with their art. I LOATHE giving it to assholes like Green or any member of the RIAA. So, yes, I rip a few CDs if there's only one / two good songs, and buy when there's more good ones. Then make compilations :)

On a sidenote, seems people have begun rating down any comment that mentions -1 in the text. And there's a lot of bad articles on here regurgitating old news, such as this one about Green / RIAA.
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste
[ Parent ]
what a fucking joke (3.82 / 17) (#12)
by bankind on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 11:21:31 AM EST

No question the most insidious virus in our midst is the illegal downloading of music on the Net.

Does this mean they'll all start wearing ribbons?

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman

Most? (none / 0) (#102)
by nulbyte on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:37:47 PM EST

Gee, and all this time I thought it would be something like AIDS, which actually matters...

[ Parent ]
Question (3.33 / 9) (#24)
by Ranger Rick on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 01:50:00 PM EST

Why do you have the word, illegal, in quotes?

From what I understand, according to the way the law is currently set up, it is illegal. Whether it is right is another matter, but don't try to pretend not compensating the copyright owner when downloading their works is not illegal.

Personally, I think downloading music off the net has been a boon for artists, and I hope the labels stop thinking they're going to be able to keep people from doing it; that doesn't change the fact that it's their music and they can do whatever they want with it.


:wq!


Because I'm annoying like that (3.50 / 2) (#26)
by farmgeek on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 01:58:34 PM EST

Well actually, since he didn't specify what constitutes legal downloading of music I put illegal in quotes to signify...something.

Hell, I don't know why I did it, it just seemed the thing to do.

[ Parent ]
Sorry... (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by Ranger Rick on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 02:02:12 PM EST

I ended up sounding more bitchy than I meant to... The "why put illegal in quotes" part of the comment was just more of an intro to my point; it was completely rhetorical -- not meant to be answered. =)


:wq!


[ Parent ]
Don't worry (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by farmgeek on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 03:35:20 PM EST

I wasn't offended or anything. After you asked the question, it seemed like a good one.

I'm still not sure why I did it. Maybe to be disparaging towards the weiner.

SOrry, had a DB crash last weeks, and still am not recovered from the lack of sleep, then I was stupid enough to watch the Grammys (and too cheap to get cable), and Greene, and etc.

Hell he irritated me so much I went and looked for Illegal music to download. Evidently, his college students weren't working behind our firewall, cuz I couldn't find much (at least not much that I would listen to).

[ Parent ]
Downloading Music... (5.00 / 3) (#33)
by Parity on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 03:17:03 PM EST

Downloading music is not inherently illegal; I have a huge collection of digital music, and every bit of it is legal... either ripped directly from my own CDs, which I believe is fair use, or downloaded from web sites which offer music directly from the bands - mostly mp3.com pages, but some others as well.

The text of the speech implies without stating that all downloading and/or ripping of music is illegal. So, I think the scare quotes are legitimate even if their intent wasn't derived from my argument.

Parity None


[ Parent ]
Fair Use... (none / 0) (#38)
by Ranger Rick on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 04:02:52 PM EST

I was working within the context of the original quote, which was the context of commercial music within the bounds of RIAA and the standard "not for use for distribution or performance" bit that is printed on every one of their CDs ("All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws." and their companions related to not allowing public performance or distribution of the contents.

I write my own music, so I certainly am no stranger to musicians that explicitly allow distribution of their music. Downloading that isn't illegal, you have the copyright owner's consent. I also agree that downloading something you own should be perfectly legal. It's no different from popping the CD in.

He may imply he thinks all music download should be banned, but he has no more control over it than I do.

I have no idea where I was going with this, I had something in mind but it's left me. So I guess, uhm, never mind. But I assure you it was witty and insightful. <grin>


:wq!


[ Parent ]
Subject is tedious (3.66 / 3) (#30)
by sisyphus on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 02:38:28 PM EST

It's going to require education (propaganda), leadership from Washington(what if you're not american) and true diligence (fuck you asshole). to help our fans (to help them pay for something over-priced), yes i agree this guy is a wanker and the story is repeated.


The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.

Your obsolete industry will soon be 'marginalized' (4.44 / 9) (#34)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 03:17:54 PM EST

Let him have his day in the sun.. he realizes that his industry is losing its power over consumers. Soon the recording industry won't be able to push consumers around, due to their product being available through other, less restrictive channels.

I'm not trying to pretend that filesharing is or isn't having an impact on sales - why are you? Is it morally wrong for a new technology to cause an old industry to become obsolete? Whether it is right or wrong to download music is irrelevant. As we've seen, legality or morality doesn't stop people from doing it.

Let's stop digging our way out of this argument by saying, "I don't think it affects sales," or "They don't pay artists anyway," or "When I download music I like, I buy the CD." Morality aside, filesharing has a good chance of destroying the recording industry's current incarnation. This is a GOOD thing - Hilary Rosen and Jack Valenti would have you believe that you need giant media conglomerates in order to have quality product. They say that filesharing will result in inferior music due to lost revenue. Maybe that's true, but it will only be inferior CORPORATE music where profit is the goal and creativity is an afterthought.

Folks, there's ALWAYS been good music in the world - yes, even before it was a business. It's not suddenly going to stop, just because giant companies can't dominate it any more.

It amazes me how people can have the notion that they are entitled to anything - they've been making money selling music for a while, so anything that takes away that revenue must be illegal or immoral. People are almost convinced that we have some kind of obligation to ensure that corporations make money.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.

The unfortunate thing about this is... (4.33 / 3) (#44)
by Wah on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:24:11 PM EST

People are almost convinced that we have some kind of obligation to ensure that corporations make money.

The tough thing is that those People generally go by the name Politician. Of course, with industry profits dropping, they will have less money to lobby. Less money to lobby means less Peoplicians will like them. The crossing over point gets scary though, caged and desperate animals fight the most fiercely and in this case it means more, restrictive laws. Pray for the Supreme Court to have a burst of belief in the notion of "limited times". 'Twould be a grand victory for the (little) people over the Corporations.
--
Choas and order, flowing down the drain of time. Ain't it purdy? | SSP
[ Parent ]

The Supreme court will not save you... (none / 0) (#152)
by minra on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 04:50:36 AM EST

The God Plutonium will not save you...

in fact,

you WILL NOT BE SAVED.


[ Parent ]
someone help me (4.62 / 16) (#35)
by dr k on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 03:17:55 PM EST

I want to feel bad for the rich and famous. I really do. I want to feel sympathy for the next manufactured pop idol as she fights for artistic integrity and a legitimate percentage of the profits her music generates. I want to care, damn it!

I'll help... (4.00 / 4) (#56)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 10:05:30 PM EST

If you want to care, here's how:

  • replace the words "manufactured pop idol" with "inventor"
  • remove the words "artistic integrity and "
  • replace the word "music" with "invention".

Oh, it especially helps if you change the sentence to refer to yourself as the inventor. Suddenly, the idea of someone benefiting from your mind's work without the effort of having to even say "thank you" let alone compensate you becomes a bit repugnant. I'm supportive of sending the RIAA to hell, but if someone creates an idea that never before existed and everyone else sees it as their right to take without crediting the author or if they see it as their right to take it without the permission of the creator, well, there's only one animal in the world that does that and it's called a leech. Even if the animal being leeched isn't being sucked to the point of its death, it's still leeching.

You want good music? DON'T USE MORPHEUS! In using morpheus you are actually undermining the means of distribution for every area of the music industry. If the artist chooses to sign with a major label or is distributing music through their own site, any way that that music is created, you are taking the goods that the musician has created and are not going through the channels that the creator would have liked for you to have respected. If you use Morpheus, you're not respecting any of the artists that you download. The artist is not being compensated the way that they have elected to be compensated.

If I were in killer band, created an awesome site and had everyone come to there, it's very possible that I might not break even, in spite of all of my legitimately hard work and no matter how much people may love my music. From the first download, my work would find it's place in the internet, P2P takes over, my music could be traded daily and I may see not a single dime after the first download. This is not a value proposition, and suddenly the idea of starting a killer band isn't so killer. Fewer people will try for this route, and as a result, there isn't as much competition for your music dollars. Music will become the haven for hobbyists and weekend rockers, not for people who practice daily otherwise they may not make it big. Less competition will mean less determination to do better than the next band and music will start sucking worse than ever.

I like to be paid for my work as an artist. Artists generally hope to survive (i.e. get paid) off the success of their work. Why is it that you damn artists for wanting to get paid? Why do you hate anyone who works creatively and gives you something that you could not give to yourself without our labor?


-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
hmmmmmm (none / 0) (#73)
by dr k on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:47:44 AM EST

Well, I did what you said, and now I feel terrible about burning that David Byrne album onto a CD. But I'm still having a hard time caring about the rich music executives and the executive producers whose shirts cost more than my car, and that bitch Alicia Keys who asked her daddy to get her a Grammy(tm) this year. Oh, and now the guilt is gone again, I am once again unable to feel sorry for the rich.


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

you're damning yourself (none / 0) (#77)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:35:08 AM EST

I'm sorry if I don't understand why you sympathize with David Byrne but not Alicia Keys. How is her creativity/talent less worthy of the same degree of respect? Oh, I see, because you don't like her. But here's the dilemma you're now in: if you don't like her, you won't download her music, so you're actually showing her a degree of respect that you won't offer to the artist that you do like.

Or perhaps you meant that you like her music but don't like her personally? Why does this effect her legitimacy in selling her music the way she wants?

The American dream used to be that anyone can start from nothing, work hard, develop a talent, build a better mousetrap, and possibly become a millionaire in the process. It's amazing how far we've come that the result of the American dream is ultimately to be hated in the country that made that dream possible. Or is just schadenfreude? Either way, I want no part of either attitudes.

No matter how you look at it, you can have any attitude you want about the rich, just don't be shocked if someone wants to tear down your house someday because you have one and they do not. It doesn't matter if you've earned it, it doesn't matter if you built it with your own two hands, it doesn't matter if you planted the forest, nurtured it for 20 years for the lumber and used that to build your fantasy home. A person will come along and say something jackass like, "I'm still having a hard time caring about the rich home owners whose doors cost more than my shirt." Don't be shocked if that day comes when that jackass comment is made, because you've just made it.

Oh, and if you say that you'll do anything that you could to protect your home from that, how is that any different than what the music industry is doing right now?

And as though I weren't already in rant mode, here it comes. Wait for it... (take in deep breath)... Now:

What would we achieve if we were to decimate the music industry through technology? A moral victory? Music will improve? Bull. What we've shown is that we've developed a better lockpick, a better set of bolt-cutters, a more sound-proof way of stealing into someone's home and depriving them of the compensation that is their due as a result of their labor. That's your moral victory: the unrepentent thief who doesn't steal out of need but out of vacuous appetite. The quality of music itself likely will suffer too. Music doesn't sell itself because thousands of promotional dollars are spent. Music is bought because people like it. Surprise! People like Britney Spears, that's why she sells. That's why Pepsi wants her in their ads, so they can tie in to her huge fan base. Sure, it may be 12-16 year olds, but that's their target market and it works for them. If a recording studio could find a musician with greater appeal than Britney or Keyes or 'NSync, do you think they would turn them down?

Now, I'm not saying that music for the mass market is necessarily quality music; in some cases it is, in some cases it isn't. This is a music business and as a business, what sells to the greater number will be desirable to the executives. There's several scenarios: The quality artist who is popular benefits from the music industry as it exists since the industry has the distribution and marketing capacity (and experience) to get them to the top. The merely popular artist benefits from the music industry as it exists since the industry was selling popularity to begin with. The quality artist who lacks mass popularity is not affected by the current industry, since they would not have had the large fan base anyway. Perhaps they could benefit since someone may say, "these guys have talent, let's give them a chance." The artist who lacks both quality and popularity will disappoint even Andy Warhol and hopefully never get their fifteen minutes. Why is it so important to destroy the industry? All that you will do is make it more difficult for anyone--including the artists--from making money through music. Some people may do it because it's an art, and art is above money, but who gives a flying crap about that kind of art anyway? When was the last time you listened to John Cage? More likely, there will be fewer people making quality work because it is less likely that anyone will make it big. Why work so hard when you won't probably get paid anyway? Money is a huge motivator for excellence and improvement.

People were relatively content about the music industry before we had the ability to acquire their products without compensating them. Now, because you can get the music for free, we justify it by saying we're sticking it to the music executives and screwing the RIAA. Right. Where was your moral indignation when Bruce Springsteen lost money on the song "Born to Run"? Curiously absent, I'd say. You're outraged now. Few were outraged then. How awfully convenient for you.

Anytime I hear any form of justifcation about file sharing, it just sounds whorish. Project your feelings, desires, hatreds, and grievances on any other industry like I did when I simply did some word replacement. Suddenly, it becomes obvious how someone's scruples have been lowered because of the fleeting pleasure of the moment. This isn't food we're talking about. You don't need music so urgently. Why don't you steal food that is crtical for survival before stealing luxuries that aren't critical to survival? Rationalization, self-justification, and a whorish sense of expediency are the only answers.

And yet, in spite everything that I've ranted about, that's still missing the point. (takes in deep breath--yes, i know i'm on a tirade, it's late and i'm feeling punchy). The point is, why is it acceptable to have sympathy for one person's hard work but not another's? If you've ever complained about being given a bad review because your boss is an idiot and doesn't like you even though your work is superb, well, welcome to a world of your own creation. Meritocracy is only for those who respect merit. You, dr k, have no part in it.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Then damn me, too! (none / 0) (#90)
by unDees on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:24:48 PM EST

The American dream used to be that anyone can start from nothing, work hard, develop a talent, build a better mousetrap, and possibly become a millionaire in the process.
...
...how is that any different than what the music industry is doing right now?
Because at least in the American dream version, you're supposed to get to the top by doing honest work yourself, not by exploiting artists, slipping money under the table to radio stations, lying to the public, and so on. Not to mention that the American dream is about an individual's achieving success, not a faceless conglomerate of multinational corporations' earning a few billion more.

However, you make some excellent points: hating someone just for being richer is, well, nonproductive.

Anytime I hear any form of justifcation about file sharing, it just sounds whorish.
Well, justification or no, the technology is here. I suppose saddlemakers tried to stop the invention of the auto as well....
This isn't food we're talking about. You don't need music so urgently. Why don't you steal food that is crtical for survival before stealing luxuries that aren't critical to survival?
Speak for yourself. I've had days when music had as much to do with getting me through life as did oxygen. 'Course, screw the RIAA and screw the file-sharers; as long as I have arms, I'll pick up my own damn guitar.

Your account balance is $0.02; to continue receiving our quality opinions, please remit payment as soon as possible.
[ Parent ]
unDees, I damn thee! (5.00 / 1) (#115)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 06:22:21 PM EST

Just kidding. My argument wasn't that I have the ability to damn you, just that the actions are really going to do harm to industry, artist, and music lover alike. I'm basically proposing that everyone has been given magic rings that can make themselves invisible. They can act without consequence, and there's little that anyone can do to enforce a system where someone's work can be kept safe from theft by another. In that system, the consequences seem pretty obvious to me that everyone will lose.

Technology has given us that ring against the artists that we love. We use that technology and the consequence is that we damn ourselves.

You're right, saddlemakers may have protested automakers. I know that candle makers lobbied against electric lights. The difference is that one value was replaced by different value. It's not as though the people who made lightbulbs took the candles and gave those away for free without giving anything back. In music, the product exists to be sold before you download it. P2P basically finds a way of turning that hard work into a futile process where there's no guarantee of reward.

Right now, there's a wealth of music to steal from because the music industry has made it available in their naive trust that we wouldn't exploit or crack the CD format. If you collapse the music industry, who will mass distribute any artist without any expectation of getting paid? Not me, I've got better things to do. Not the music execs who made the recent comeback of Carlos Santana possible (it was the studio's idea to have him record with current popular artists). No, a creative mind generally is not going to willingly give away its best effort without some form of compensation. I don't. I'd suspect that you don't. Why would we want to have artists do so?

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
OK (none / 0) (#94)
by zhermit on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:11:34 PM EST

You made some interesting points, but they are, in many ways, narrow in their vision. I'd like to break them down in the following (overly) simple terms:

1. Why do you feel guilty for downloading one person's music and not another, when both could be considered legitimate artists?

2. Things like becoming a rock star, etc. etc. (not specifically a rock star, but any other comparable dream) are part of the American Dream, but, for some reason, the same people who worship that dream resent and, in fact, can't stand, those that have attained it.

3. People will steal music to curb their appetite for it.

4. People like Britney Spears, N'Sync, etc. on their own merits.

5. If the music industry goes away, there will be fewer musicians because the superstar rewards won't be there to motivate them.

6. No one cared about artist's rights before file trading became popular. Now "artist's rights" is just a buzzword excuse that music traders use to justify their actions.

7. Music isn't a basic necessity, so no one can really justify needing it so much that they have to have it without buying it.

I believe I've summed up your argument. Now, for my response. But first some background: my CD collection is edging near 500. I buy at least 3 new cd's a month these days; sometimes as many as 15. I like to believe that my musical tastes are well cultivated. My collection ranges from jazz to modern rock to classical to indie. For example, this morning I've listened to Dizzy, Magnetic Fields, John Cage and now Belle & Sebastian. That sounds like posturing, but it's not: I would never have heard of the last 3, let alone know that I would like them, without the word of mouth phenomenon that mp3s have created. And they are some of my favorite musicians. In fact, around 1997, when I'd realized I'd purchased all the music I wanted to, and getting mp3's through IRC was just utterly frustrating, I stopped buying new music. Occasionally, I'd frequent a used bin, but radio and mtv had already sunk to such new levels of blandness that I just couldn't find it in me to like enough to support.

And then Napster came along like a savior. It gave me reason to buy music again: because I could listen to a CD and decide before hand whether or not it was worth my $15 (and then $17, and now $18...). My music budget went back up, and suddenly, I cared about music again: because I realized that music was more than the mindless pap that the major labels were shoving in our faces. So now, if I want to find out what Alicia Keys sounds like, I can go to Morpheus, download some songs; if I like them, I'll download some more; and if I really like them, I'll buy the cd. But if I don't like them, I'll feel not one pang of guilt for having a copy of them. I don't see why I should, since neither the artist nor the record company lost any money: if I hadn't downloaded the tracks, I would have borrowed the cd from a friend, or just not cared and given up. And that means that they (artist, etc.) wouldn't have even had the opportunity to gain me as a customer.

See, these file trading services, despite all the negative press and bad morals they encourage, are really a blessing to artists. Well, maybe not to the bad ones, the ones who are in it just for the money, but for the ones who care. It empowers them, because suddenly the public cares about their well-being. Artist's rights is now in the limelight because music has become personal again. If the music industry suddenly evaporated, there would still be thousands of musicians out there toiling away at the dream that music can become. That dream isn't necessarily to be a rock star (see the note above about people in it for the money); but simply to be heard. There's a wealth of independent labels around this country that don't subscribe to the major's line of thinking, and they still make a profit. If the industry disappeared, any of the new generation of more artist-friendly companies already in place would replace it. I hope.

And finally, no, music isn't as vital to the physical existence as food is, but it can play a huge part in the subsistence of the soul. I agree that physical needs are more pressing, but when those demands are met, it is perfectly understandable that someone would search for something to make them emotionally fulfilled. And, for many people, myself included, that is music. These aren't the people who listen to whatever is shoved down their throats simply because it is catchy and it's had enough bribes to be played constantly on the radio and television; these are the discerning listeners. I think that most people that feel this way about music have no problem paying a reasonable amount for that music. Of course, $18 is way too much (about 3 hours on minimum wage), but that's a whole different issue. I think I covered everything. And again, I understand where you're coming from, but I think the points you made needed to be answered.

I have a sig?
[ Parent ]
You state yourself well. (3.00 / 2) (#106)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:56:57 PM EST

I only wish I could have stated my own argument as succintly as you did. Thanks! I'm glad you read through it. The only change that I would make to your bullet point isn't that the artist is legitimate, but that they were legitimately claiming that their music can be traded a given way. It's a subtle distinction, but it's like saying Britney Spears is a legitimate construction worker vs. Britney Spears can legitimately work as a construction worker. The focus is the means, not the artist. Also, I have to say that the K5 crowd rocks, especially coming from the other site!

That said, I think you'll know that I'll disagree with your arguments. The P2P system that you are supporting is one that supports theft with impunity and compensation only when the taker is moved by conscience. If we think of piracy as a form of theft (bear with me if I speak in material terms to give a concrete illustration), then it would be like you going into someone's house and taking their diary, copying it, and then some days later returning the diary with a check for $15 and a note saying, "I didn't have to give you this money but my conscience was weighing on me. Your diary really moved me. Thanks." I'd feel vulnerable knowing that I can't stop anyone from stealing my mind's work without my permission at any time that they wanted to. You weren't permitted to read the diary in the first place, just as you weren't going through the normal music distribution channels in the first place to which the artist agreed. P2P makes you a better burgler, albeit one with a conscience.

The argument that it helps music sales is a bit fallacious. The music industry does everything that it can to help you to hear new music in order to encourage you to buy it. That, more than anything else, is their business. You don't have to wonder what Alicia Keys sounds like, she's everywhere. I enjoy listening to the very obscure genre of Korean Pop, and to find new artists I can check out Music Video Heaven every Monday night on the International channel to hear the top 10, I can check out official websites, fan sites, reviews, friends, etc., and then base my desire to purchase the music from the same set-type of data that I would have used to purchase a book. The only difference between pirating a book and music is convenience: music is more ubiquitously in a digital format. Almost any album with an official webpage will have samples of the songs, usually at reduced quality, and usually for a snippet. You want the full song? You have to buy the album or the single. That's the only legitimate grounds for your coming into possession of the song. If this is narrow, I've yet to hear a good convincing argument as to the legitimacy of piracy without it resorting to an "ends justify the means" statement.

Of the MP3's you own, what percentage have you purchased even on tape, vinyl or 8-track? 90%? 99%? Until and unless it's 100%, you're still being disrespectful of some artist. You'll have a hard time convincing me of the full sincerity of your argument when it cannot be applied consistently.

Conscience is a powerful thing, and I think there's a great many people who act on it. Otherwise the P2P phenomena would have bankrupted the industry already. The only thing keeping the industry alive is that people do have consciences (or for the cynical, that they can't really run a computer anyway). If your good intentions are keeping the industry alive, what types of intentions are left that want to destroy it? During the Napster case, studies showed (from the RIAA and I do consider the source, but to me, this model makes sense) that music buying tendencies dramatically decreased within 6 months after a person was introduced to Napster. Now, this would mean that your actions and the artists you support (which totally rock, I must say) are in a system which is at the mercy of relying on your conscience. I hate to think of artists being reduced to the status of those car window washers in Tijuana, who clean your window and then hope you'll give them some change.

Oh, and that food argument of mine? That was the 5am speaking. :) Music is life for me, too. Thanks for hearing me out, friends.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
boy do you not get it, dude (5.00 / 1) (#151)
by minra on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 04:43:33 AM EST

Of the MP3's you own, what percentage have you purchased even on tape, vinyl or 8-track? 90%? 99%? Until and unless it's 100%, you're still being disrespectful of some artist. You'll have a hard time convincing me of the full sincerity of your argument when it cannot be applied consistently.

No, you're castigating him because he does not accept YOUR Socratic standards. He is applying HIS standard perfectly consistenly.

Lemme rephrase it for ya, "Socrates".

Filesharing lowers the barriers to discovering music he likes and wantz. The net effect is that he buys more music and supports the music industry MORE than without p2p.

Your "must buy 100% of your music" standard is -in reality - bunk. Maybe it applies in your little imaginary socratic world.

You know, we've made some advancements in the past 2000 years, dodo. One of them being the realization that nobody in their right mind drinks Hemlock because some corrupt state tells them to.

[ Parent ]

just because you build a better lockpick... (5.00 / 1) (#153)
by SocratesGhost on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 08:21:25 AM EST

...doesn't mean that it makes thieving right. Technology doesn't change the basic nature of what is right and wrong. We may disagree about what is right and wrong, but just waving a big ol' technology wand doesn't make murder acceptable, lying reasonable, and theft permissable. Perhaps it does, but you'd need to convince me better than say things are different now. How is that difference important? At least I backed my argument up.

Besides, you quoted me but missed the two key words. Is he showing respect for the artist whose music he downloads, listens to, but doesn't buy? I'd suggest that he does not. As a result, he's in the awkward position of being supportive in some case but not all. And that would be inconsistent.

In fairness, he did say that if he didn't like a particular song, he wouldn't buy the album, and although I neglected to say it in my original argument about not owning 100%, I was assuming that he not only kept it on his hard drive, but listened to it occasionally afterwards at his own discretion. I'm not going to fault him here for music that he retains but never listens to a second time, not because I think it's reasonable, but because I think this point I'm making now is the stronger and more important case. If he continues to make use of the file without paying the creator his due, he's not granting respect to that author. Respect may be an old-fashioned notion as evidenced by your witty "dodo" argument. Yet, his argument rests on the idea that he will honor and respect the author for works that he likes by paying for them. He and I have more in common than you and I. I don't think you're backing his argument up.

I would feel disrespected if you possessed my work without my permission and I feel that I would have wronged you if I had done the same. Purchasing some but not all of the music that you possess and use shows an inconsistent application of your respect.

Since you didn't address this, I can only feel that I hadn't clearly made my original point.

But you do raise an interesting point that (probably unsurprisingly) I have to disagree with. You say that he ends up buying more music under a P2P system and that this justifies his possessing all of the other music that he hasn't paid even if it's only one song. By extension, at your job we can pay you less for your work, so long as we pay everyone else in the company more for their work, right? Heck, we'll even hire extra staff and pay them a lot so that we increase the number of people getting paid. But your work will not be equally compensated. Doesn't seem fair, does it? Wouldn't you feel disrespected? And yet, you would advocate a system in which someone's work gets used without being paid in some cases so long as more people are getting paid. Sounds great as long as that case isn't you. Unless you are willing to be that human sacrifice, please don't expect someone else to be one, either.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
In regard to your diary analogy (5.00 / 1) (#175)
by Shajenko on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 05:21:00 PM EST

The diary analogy is false. You did not publish your diary, and you did not allow anyone onto your property. If they did as you say, they'd still be guilty of trespassing, possibly breaking and entering, and theft.

A more correct analogy would be if you lent this diary to a friend, and he allowed someone else to copy it. In that case, the exact same copyright laws would apply.



[ Parent ]
your analogy is better (5.00 / 1) (#176)
by SocratesGhost on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 11:38:21 PM EST

hehe. i probably wouldn't have realized that i had another reply had i not checked out RegisteredJustForThisComments rating system and then went back to see how much I'd been affected. Thanks, RJFTC!

Your analogy may be better, but I don't think it lessens the harm of the act. In this case, there's both the friend that you trusted and who has now betrayed you, as well as the other person who got something for nothing.


-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
money vs muse (none / 0) (#121)
by remmelt on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:43:45 PM EST

If the music industry goes away, there will be fewer musicians because the superstar rewards won't be there to motivate them.

hey thats just the point, isnt it? i am not interested in listening to some worked up overrated teenager who wants to be a rockstar.

the music industry is about making money, not music. that, in itself, is not particularly bad, but it seems to be outdated. technology is filling gaps. so what is the industry doing? the marketing? well hooo-dy! in my oh so humble opinion, that means a goodlooking person like britney s can be a superstar because she's on the cover of enough magazines. because she dresses well (or is well-dressed by others). because she is on tv a lot. not necessarily because she is talented. i am not saying she isn't, can't argue with taste, but it sure helps to be marketed well, doesn't it? in all this boo-ha around the actual thing, where's the music? where's the muse?
you cannot say: well, enough people like britney so she has a right to be on the radio and to be rewarded for doing her thing. my opinion is that she made it this far only because she was well marketed. she sells well. let me make it somewhat clearer: sex sells. she is hot. she sells. there is no music in this, just money. i know a ton of artists with more talent (again, my opinion, i'm starting to sound like the dude) who will never know such fame or money.
in using p2p programs, i am not killing any artists. no. i am not. am i stopping new artists to be discovered? perhaps. others will be discovered though.

also, if you stop and look at what is happening, stop thinking if it is "right" or "wrong" what we are doing here, sharing files or not, fact is that it's happening. it cannot be stopped. if people are going to lose money over this, so be it, they will.
if good artists will not be discoverd because of p2p, so be it. that will happen too.
i am very interested in seeing this evolve. when you stop and think, it's actually funny how the industry is screaming and shouting and bullying: "make them stop!", and the kids are sharing anyway.

my guess is that artists who are willing to work hard or are talented enough not to have to work as hard as others will get through to us anyway. granted, some will not. some don't now.
how will that look? i don't know. maybe there will be more one hit wonders. or one album wonders. it doesn't really matter.

hmmm. maybe it's a big pendulum thing, and it's swinging towards the consumers at the moment. at a time in the future, people will stop and think: "ok, this artist is good enough for me to spend money on". even with p2p. will that mean they will buy the cd? perhaps not. perhaps they will buy mp3. perhaps just see a show. perhaps something else entirely. no matter.

the entire "it's ILLEGAL" argument is moot. i thought this was supposed to be the land of freedom? something is legal/illegal only because there is a law stating so. and people make laws. yes, you. the prez is not the highest power in the democracy, it's the people. laws can be changed, is all i'm saying.

last remark: can people please go back to making music for fun? the best concerts i have seen were by bands having fun playing. usually the lesser known, no claim to fame bands. great. thanks.
sex and soup, in no particular order.
[ Parent ]
A better mousetrap... (none / 0) (#104)
by SPYvSPY on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:42:16 PM EST

A better mousetrap would have two snapping arms, so that the mouse would set the first one off, and if it didn't get the little bugger, he'd go in for the bait in the second snapping arm would get him!! Right?
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

je-sus! (3.00 / 2) (#105)
by dr k on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:44:44 PM EST

Where, o where to begin a reply to this veritable treatise on the Power & the Glory of the American Musical Dream?

Well for starters I'm going to have to dismiss your comments about John Cage. John Cage? Can't think of anyone more relevant in the New Music community these days? Don't know any other names, perhaps? If you are going to attack my music credentials you'd better be armed with something better than the things you remember from Music Appreciation 101.

Second, some people interpret the American Dream as the opportunity to be successful, which is not the same thing as being rich. But I'm not sure why the American Dream ever entered into this discussion - the insubstantial minority of pop artists who become rich and famous only exemplify the Dream of Being Rich and Famous. If I gave a piss at all about the music industry I would be more concerned about the multitudes of sound engineers and studio musicians and songwriters &c who actually work for a living. These are the people who actually live the American Dream.

Now the key issue seems to be do I care about those people? My original remark was that I have a hard time feeling sorry for the rich - that is a little different from your accusation that I don't like the rich. I have no personal feeling about the rich, positive or negative. But I certainly don't feel a need to sympathize with the rich when we share so few common interests. In fact, I think that the greedy rich - the ones that continue to accumulate wealth beyond any personal need - should be boiled in a pot and fed to the poor.

Do I care about the workaday folks in the music industry? As much as they care about the internet industry.

"People were relatively content about the music industry before we had the ability to acquire their products without compensating them."

I'll invoke the trhurler rhetorical device: bullshit. People have been shoplifting tapes and recording their friend's LPs for the past thirty years or more. The music industry has defied the laws of supply and demand for a little too long. They have lowered their manufacturing costs and increased their profit margins to the point where the consumer has started to doubt the value of the product.

As to your confusion about the short history of the commercial music industry and its right to exist -- I would recommend the book _Noise_ by Jacques Attali for some interesting notions of how music has evolved into a post-consumer form. But I don't know if you will like it, the conclusions are somewhat socialist and you appear to be one of those paranoid gun-owning neo-libertarians that crowd the back rooms of kuro5hin these days. So I'll give you the option of reading any book, and then we'll chat some more.


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

with all due respect... (none / 0) (#114)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:55:55 PM EST

dr k,

There's nothing paranoid about wanting to claim the results of what one has worked for. I mentioned nothing about guns and even have a level of ambivalence about them, but I will happily say that I am an old-school libertarian if shoving people into little boxes so you can identify them will make things easy for you. I think you and I could have some very interesting discussions. In fact, thank you for the book recommendation. I might also recommend one to you from Ayn Rand called _Atlas Shrugged_.

Ok, now to argue your points on its merits.

The John Cage reference was made to symbolize a very innovative musician who really changed music in the 20th century, and I think should have been more widely known than he actually is. In other words, an artist with a respectable following but relatively unappreciated. I think of Cage's work as "Art for Art's sake" kind of art, especially when you consider such flamboyent techniques that required listening to the silences in music. His music is thought provoking, but more importantly, it's marginalized. You did it just now. Ultimately, you may end up with people whose focus is just on the music and not the business end of things, but the common best case scenario is that of someone more famous after they are dead. I'll say it again: to many, that's not a value proposition so they won't go into music at all. Less music will come out and I think quality will decline. It was not an attack on your music credentials. I don't know you. Please read more carefully. Your whole entire argument is nonsense considering you didn't take the time to understand the context.

My definition of the American Dream can probably withstand some criticism, but not in the sense that you attack it. The American Dream was brought up because most people believe (at least I hope they believe) in a meritocracy, that there is a right to compensation to those who have something of value to offer. Everyone we talk about, from the artist to the producer is doing a job. Each one wants to get paid for their work. God willing, they have earned it. I want to say this again: people can earn every penny of their wealth. I agree that there are deserving rich and undeserving rich. I don't ask you to sympathize with the rich and give them breaks nor even to feel sorry for them. I ask you to stop hating them because they have wealth that you do not. That was your argument, after all:

I'm still having a hard time caring about the rich music executives and the executive producers whose shirts cost more than my car, and that bitch Alicia Keys who asked her daddy to get her a Grammy.

It's envy and that's just ugly and brutish. Another case in point:
fact, I think that the greedy rich - the ones that continue to accumulate wealth beyond any personal need - should be boiled in a pot and fed to the poor..

Just out of curiousity, who decides what is wealth beyond personal need? Having clothes for more than 7 days? Having a place with more than one bedroom per person? If you think that his not needing the money means he has no right to it, you should have given that $100 to the MS fund, you hypocrite.

Also, notwithstanding your insightful "bullshit" argument, the context of my argument was that people were unconcerned with the plight of artists being screwed by the music industry, and that they only bring it up now because it gives them a weak justification to steal. Back when people shoplifted tapes, there was no pretense at justification. It was theft pure and simple. You proved my point. Please read more carefully. Your whole entire argument is nonsense considering you didn't take the time to understand the context.

And your understanding about supply and demand is also false. CD's may be cheaper, but people aren't buying a container: they are buying music. The value is the music. I don't care how cheap are production costs, if I want to have something that is in high demand, it doesn't matter to me if it's sold on human flesh, I'll pay the price based on whether the value being offered is worth the money I'm exchanging it for. I'm not buying a blank CD! I can get those for a lot cheaper.

Ultimately, I think people are entitled to profits. I'd gather that you don't based on your sympathy for a book that you says has socialist leanings and your argument based on "need". I'd like to agree to disagree and continue this discussion, but since I see that you personally modded down my comments further in this thread because you disagree with them and not because they may have had anything interesting to say, it seems you don't like to argue points on the merits, but as a seething spiteful child. Have fun in your angry hateful world. At least my American Dreams have glory.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
1 ratings, final word (1.00 / 1) (#118)
by dr k on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:07:56 PM EST

My 1 rating wasn't personal in any way. I did it more as a "hello, I was here and read your comment" kind of gesture.

I say paranoid because you - in an unfortunately predictable manner for your breed - keep contriving these weird hypothetical situations where roving bands of anarchists set fire to my log cabin and rape my dog. The concept you miss in your defense of personal greed is that I don't see value in hoarding away wealth in an impenetrable compound. So long as I refuse to value the core ethic of your flimsy politic, your politic will always fail.

John Cage is dead. If he is being marginalized, it is by Brintey Spears and all the other plastic heroes you have summoned onto this battleground of popularity. But by your own politics someone who is alive and producing music deserves to make a profit. There is no crime in burying the dead.

I have said too much already. You are a confessed Randian, and I see no point in further discussion with you. You may have the last word:


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

wet paint-don't touch (3.00 / 1) (#124)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:04:09 PM EST

dr k,

If you want to give me the last word, it's just something i can't resist--like signs that say "don't touch-wet paint".

you may not want to talk to me. you've not adressed any of my arguments, and that's your prerogative. I don't see this as being a waste and if you want to reply back, that's cool. I'm all about communication especially about important things like people's livelihoods. I'll fight you tooth and nail about your arguments unless we agree. For example, I agree that what's modern tends to marginalize what's old. Sometimes that's good. Sometimes bad. My concern isn't the dead, but what they created and how the world treated them while they were alive.

Also, I apologize for being short about modding me down. That's your right, and it was wrong of me for telling you how to think. I would like to understand you better, in case I could be wrong and will happily suffer correction, or in case we find that this becomes a very interesting dialectic. That said, I don't fight with gloves on for important things like this:

Paranoid about worldviews that speak of killing the wealthy? Shall I quote you a second time? Marx did advocate a violent overthrow of the bourgeousie, so if you were just exagerrating and not reflecting his ideology, it would be helpful to have that info (as well as a spell checker, that sentence is rife with typos).

Also, anyone with wealth isn't swimming around in pools of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck. They invest it. That's what helps keep them wealthy. They put their money back to work. It goes back into the system to allow inventors/businesses/start-ups who need capital to actually try to contribute something to society, to build cures for HIV and cancer, and to solve world hunger. I'd dislike it too if people only kept their money between their mattress, but it is theirs by right and not mine.

I would like to know one thing, though, and I really do mean this. You say: "I refuse to value the core ethic of your flimsy politic". I'm not sure you can really say what is my core ethic, let alone refuse it. I have been very open over the course of my many long writings on this thread; you should have plenty of ammo. I ask you then, what do you think my core ethic is? What makes you refuse it? I ask this seriously, both as a friend and as a competitor in the marketplace of ideas.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Link to Address (4.50 / 6) (#42)
by rajivvarma on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 05:06:06 PM EST

Hey:

Since it looks like no one has posted a link to the Mr. Greene's address, here it is:
http://grammy.aol.com/features/speech.html.
Rajiv Varma
Mirror of DeCSS.

A change in attitude is needed... (3.66 / 3) (#45)
by Hal9001 on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:48:30 PM EST

The music and movie industries need to realize that they are selling services, not products. The services they are provide are
  1. A convenient storage medium for music and movies
  2. An authentication service that this is actually a recording of song A by artist B and that the recording is of acceptable quality
Speaking for myself, I download a lot of music and video, but I also see a lot of movies in the theater and buy a lot of CDs and DVDs. I use my downloading to listen to music and see if I like it, but I often end up buying CDs because
  1. I can play CDs in my car or on a portable CD player.
  2. A lot of people on file-sharing networks mislabel files so I think I'm getting song A by artist B, but when I listen to it, I realize that it's actually song C by artist D. (I've been getting into trance recently, and trying to find a specific mix on Morpheus or Gnutella can be an exercise in patience and persistence)
  3. A lot of files on file sharing networks are lower-quality than what I would prefer (>=128 kbps)
I would be willing to pay a reasonable fee ($5) for an authentic MP3 that I can do with as I please (burn to CD, copy to a laptop or MP3 player, etc.), just as I am willing to play $10 for an album than I like or $15 for a movie that I like. If the industry doesn't meet my demand, then customers, e.g. me, will resort to other channels--it's simple economics. I think a compromise between downloaders and the recording industry will only be achieved when the recording industry realizes that they are selling the service of convenience, not intellectual property.

I'm mostly with you (none / 0) (#78)
by thenerd on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:55:37 AM EST

If they continue to snooze, they will start to lose. But there's something that's worrying me about what you proposed, even if I think the record companies are horrible.

I would be willing to pay a reasonable fee ($5) for an authentic MP3 that I can do with as I please (burn to CD, copy to a laptop or MP3 player, etc.

With this authentic MP3, would you want to be able to put it on file sharing software? I'd love this service as it would be really convenient, but wouldn't it just mean that people wouldn't have to go through the bother of ripping their MP3 before they shared it? It strikes me that the record companies providing this download service would simply be 'seeding' the filesharing with high quality files which would then be shared. This would be problematic for them.

Of course, the answer is then for the record companies to turn around and be innovative - 'pay us $5 a month, and take all you want out of our back catalogue, new MP3's are added every day - sign up for a whole year for $50'. This might even increase their revenue as it would seem so attractive. With fast downloads, there would genuinely be no point in going to file sharing systems as the market would be flooded with whatever you wanted at perfect quality.

The model of 'pay for each song' strikes me as problematic if DRM isn't used. Even if the record companies were completely done away with somehow, and artists provided downloads on their site, those downloads would instantly be shared.

thenerd.

[ Parent ]

Authentic MP3s and file-sharing (none / 0) (#97)
by Hal9001 on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:25:18 PM EST

If I buy an authentic MP3 at a price that is acceptable to me, what incentive do I have to give away to complete strangers something that I have paid for?

[ Parent ]
Exactly (none / 0) (#156)
by thenerd on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 10:59:43 AM EST

If I buy an authentic MP3 at a price that is acceptable to me, what incentive do I have to give away to complete strangers something that I have paid for?

You will have no incentive at all. I'm working on the basis that the more reasonable that price is, the less incentive you will have. Thus, a small, flat, monthly fee for all the MP3's you want (thus making the price per MP3 tend to 0), gives you no incentive at all if the service you get them from is reliable.

The more you download from a flat rate service, the more value you get. This makes it a really attractive proposition. If you pay $5 for each MP3, the value you get remains the same. Ergo, you can probably get better value elsewhere through file sharing systems.

I wonder whether we'll ever find out how good all this could be!

thenerd.

[ Parent ]

Cry me a fucking river, Mr. Greene (3.66 / 3) (#46)
by revscat on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:51:05 PM EST

The evolution of the marketplace is making people like the RIAA irrelevant. They have been able to prop themsevles up through campaign contributions and their simple historical legacy, but the advent of new ditribution channels that cut them out are quite naturally making their necessity questionable.

Facts:

  • Millions of people are trading music online
  • The law enforcement effort to stop this would strain budgets to the breaking point
  • Technological solutions to this non-problem would require hardware and software changes that consumers would simply not accept, and would more than likely not work (c.f. the US government's attempts to stop the export of strong encryption software)

    It seems that the future of making money off of entertainment is somewhat rocky. As bandwidth rises, compression algorithms get better, and these technologies become ever more preavalent I just do not see anything being done to successfully stop this trend. This reminds me of the decades long War on Drugs, and the notoriously unsuccessful run that campaign has had. They have passed stringent punitive measures, inundated the population with propaganda, and done everything short of rounding up the general population and doing body cavity searches. It hasn't worked. I seriously doubt the "War on MP3s" will succeed to any greater degree.

    -Rev.

    - Rev.
    Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.

  • Hey... (4.33 / 6) (#47)
    by Mzilikazi on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:55:45 PM EST

    ...can I get an mp3 recording of his speech? ;)

    The remix possibilities... (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Kaki Nix Sain on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 11:29:38 PM EST

    ... are nice. "This problem won't be solved in short order. It's going to require education, leadership from Washington and" "kids backstage working on computers".

    Using a work to critique is still, for a while at least, fair use.



    [ Parent ]

    More Downloads, More CD Sales... go figure (4.00 / 1) (#49)
    by D Jade on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 07:57:42 PM EST

    I can't remember the exact figures, but I remember reading an article a few months ago about how the Korean Music Industry had also launched an attack. Their claim was that napster had caused a loss of something like 150 million CD sales over a 12 month period. The article was basically saying that this was an outrageous claim, because over that 12 month period, the Korean record industry reported sales increases from 29 million to 34 million.

    I think it goes something like that.

    It's examples like this, and the speech made my Mr Greene that indicate how stupid their arguments are.

    Tell me, did Mr Greene mention that many of the files downloaded from the internet are bootlegs and hard to find tunes? Did he mentioned that a large portion of the music downloaded is from fringe styles such as house or indie type stuff?

    I don't know, because I missed the speech.

    What I do know is that he wouldn't have mentioned the fact that many people buy albums for just one track, and that if you had the option to pay a price for that one tune, you would happily do so. I mean, many people who have posted on this article alone say that they would be happy to pay a fee for their MP3s.

    I guess though, the thing that bothers me the most, is that the only thing that has changed in the music sharing world, is that instead of recording a bunch of your favorite tunes onto a cassette tape and giving it to a friend, we now just log-in to a file sharer like Gnutlla or AudioGalaxy.

    So because the transparency of the delivery medium (in this case, the internet), we can be labeled as pirates for doing exactly the same things young people have been doing since recordable music became commonplace.

    I am glad that most of you K5'ers agree that it really is such a non-issue at the moment. It's such an old argument, and the powers that be still can't seem to find any REAL evidence to support their case.

    Oh yeah, and the dude that is into trance, you should look for anything by Union Jack, Terra Firma, Hallucinogen, and Cass and Slide.

    Progressive House/Trance is tha Bomb!

    You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive

    What I'd like to ask... (none / 0) (#53)
    by Danse on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 08:54:37 PM EST

    Did he mention that all the while the RIAA was whining about being ripped off, they were ripping off consumers. I'd also like to hear about how the public airwaves are being bought by the RIAA and sold by the likes of ClearChannel.






    An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
    [ Parent ]
    never will be a legitimate download source (4.33 / 3) (#50)
    by gps on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 08:16:39 PM EST

    any record industry sponsored "download" will at the very best be a secured proprietary file format that requires you to pay a recurring fee for the file to exist on your equipment and will not work on anyone elses equipment (or on your own after you upgrade).

    that can hardly be called a "download" as you'll never be able to get your fair use out of it.


    be nice if they weren't all music megalomanacs (4.00 / 1) (#58)
    by D Jade on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 10:59:39 PM EST

    That's what really sucks about this argument. Because if the recording industry had its way, it would charge us for everytime we listen to something.



    You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
    [ Parent ]
    EMusic (3.66 / 3) (#51)
    by jungleboogie on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 08:38:37 PM EST

    The "Industry" conveniently forgets EMusic and similar services in their crap propaganda. EMusic offers unlimited free full album downloads for $10/month. The "major labels" don't sign up there, but their music SUCKS ANYWAYS!!!!

    eMusic (none / 0) (#96)
    by zhermit on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:16:10 PM EST

    And, they recently picked up the entire Matador label, which is great for real music that doesn't suck. Now if they would only up the bitrate to some acceptable quality...

    I have a sig?
    [ Parent ]
    amen! (none / 0) (#154)
    by vile on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 10:03:08 AM EST

    amen!

    ~
    The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
    [ Parent ]
    Behold the Groupthink (2.00 / 4) (#54)
    by RobotSlave on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 09:43:41 PM EST

    I don't think many of you have stopped to consider the service that the Recording Industry performs, both for the Artist, and for the consumer.

    For those who find that the pro-piracy rhetoric has ossified into something that sounds a lot like propaganda, I have written an article that advances a new veiwpoint.

    Yes, it is posted at adequacy, but please do not assume it is a "troll." The article is simply too contrary to a certain "revolutionary" school of thought common at K5 to make it through the queue here, so it had to be posted elsewhere.

    Art or Service? (3.00 / 2) (#57)
    by D Jade on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 10:54:28 PM EST

    I read your article. It raises some interesting points... Unfortunately, I find that your view is a little naieve, and also quite outdated.

    The traditional delivery of music has been through live performance. This has been so since day 1, and will be so till the last.

    You seem to miss the fact that music is art in one of its richest forms.

    There is the art of the musicians and singers, who combine the words and notes to bring you a song.

    There is the art of the producer, who more often than not is forgotten. They are the people responsible for making the music sound good.

    Then there is the art of the graphic artists, they make an Album look good, also important.

    The price of renting a studio full of equipment, hiring the services of someone who knows how to use the gear, commissioning some original artwork, and manufacturing the final product, is, at the end of the day, an inconsequential fraction of the expense that the Recording Industry incurs as it attempts to get music that you like into your hands, and a living wage into the hands of the artist.

    Yes, it would cost a lot to "manufacture" a record in this way. But the package you have at the end of the process is Britney Spears or 'NSync... hardly what I would call a quality piece of music.

    in a world without the Recording Industry, you could spend sixty American dollars to buy a ticket to a concert by a popular group like Radiohead*, and listen to two hours of music performed live. With the help of the Recording Industry, however, you can spend less than sixty American dollars to own every recording by Radiohead that has ever been released, and listen to all of them whenever you want to. Which is the better value?

    What?!?!? Are you serious!!!

    I don't know about you, but I am not prone to squealling the words of my favorite songs at the top of my lungs and throwing myself around in rapture in my loungeroom... I don't think the neighbours would be too happy with that.

    Dude! You can't compare the experience of seeing your favorite band live, in the flesh all playing their songs together to the experience you get from listening to a cd. Recorded music usually gets the artists to play the different sections of the song, and then they are combined and arranged by the producer, and sold to us.

    I do agree with you that the recording industry is indispensible, without it, we wouldn't be able to hear recorded music... granted.

    But, with the constant advancement of technology, and the evolution of sound production into its own artform, we now live in a world where I am capable of producing a piece of music on my computer at home, using highly advanced, yet relitavely affordable sound production software. And, with a bit of skill and practice, I can get it sounding just as good as anything Britney could sing.

    I can design the cover art, also on my computer using Photoshop or one of the other highly advanced graphics programs.

    Hell, I can even make the labels, and burn the music onto CD myself. Sure, it won't look as purty as an album produced by one of the big four, but I could buy the hardware to produce one for as little as $3,000AU. All I need is a CD-Burner with a label printing capability, and a decent printer.

    So, I have spent maybe $1,500AU on my computer (allow another $3,000 for a better printer and burner), maybe $1,000AU on software form my computer, and I could say that a portion of my rent to house the computer would also be a cost. I'll say that my time is worth $100 an hour to produce the music, but we both know that I would be ripping you off ;)

    All up, I would be able to set up a bare bones home studio for under $10,000AU. given the shitty value of the Australian dollar at the moment, and I think you will agree that is not that much. I mean, you would probably spend that much on studio rental to produce a full album anyway...

    You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
    [ Parent ]

    Are you sure you read the whole article? (4.00 / 2) (#60)
    by RobotSlave on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 11:36:19 PM EST

    You seem to have completely, utterly, and absolutely missed just about every point I tried to make in that piece.

    First, you seem to have missed the point that a world in which the only means of distribution for music is live performance is a world in which you, the consumer, have access to far less music than you do in a world with the Recording Industry.

    You then go on to miss the point that none of the record companies linked in the article produces music anything like Britney Spears or N'Synch.

    You then, tellingly, assert that a live performance by your favorite band doesn't compare to listening to a record in your living room. How, pray tell, did this hypothetical band come to be your "favorite?" Would you be willing to shell out $60US for a band whose music you've never heard? The economic comparison I make is not only valid; it is essential.

    Finally, you go to tremendous length to show that manufacturing a record is inexpensive, all the while utterly missing my point that manufacturing cost, low or high, represents an insignificant fraction of the time and money that a record company spends on behalf of an artist.

    Would you mind reading the article again? I don't think you understood it the first time through. Your response suggests to me that you've grown accustomed to repeating the same arguments over and over again, to the point where new ideas on the issues have become hard to absorb, let alone respond to.

    [ Parent ]

    Would like to discuss further (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by D Jade on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:10:49 AM EST

    Okay, I would like to respond to your argument, because I think we could both raise some interesting points, but I need to clarify this...

    You then go on to miss the point that none of the record companies linked in the article produces music anything like Britney Spears or N'Synch.

    I don't see what point I have missed. You wrote an article about the recording industry. The recording industry is NOT the labels that you linked to your article (although they are part of it). So, I don't see how using Britney Spears and N'Sync as examples is missing the point.

    Perhaps I am ignorant... but I thought that they (Brits and N'Sunch) were relevant to a discussion about the recording industry... after all, their recorded music is high on the charts. Charts of music recorded by members in the recording industry

    Anyways, please reprimand me if I am being an ignorant know-it-all

    You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
    [ Parent ]

    This has been addressed. (none / 0) (#66)
    by RobotSlave on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:36:16 AM EST

    You don't like a couple of bands, so you haul them out as examples every time you want to discredit the Recording Industry at large. You mistake the part for the whole solely for the sake of argumentative convenience.

    The Recording Industry would still exist and thrive without the five labels or the Mass Medium that piracy advocates seem to have a problem with. There are thousands of other Record Companies, and the thousands are more representative of the industry than the five.

    If you want to criticise the Recording Industry, then you need to make your case against the smaller or "independent" record labels. That is my point. The one that you missed.

    I also suspect that you might lack the proper æsthetic to appreciate the bands you mentioned, the sort of bands that the big five sometimes "assemble." You may see little to appreciate in their composition, lyrics, or choreography, and that is fine. That's a matter of taste. But it does not mean that these bands are without any æsthetic merit; it means, rather, that you are blind to any such merit.

    You may be stuck in what I term the bourgeois reaction to bubblegum pop. Too sophisticated to directly appreciate the mass appeal of these bands, yet not sophisticated enough to appreciate the careful design of that appeal, and its sublime use of the medium of Mass Culture, the bourgeoisie finds itself unsatisfied, resentful, and angry. It forgets or doesn't notice the fact that these bands were never meant to appeal to it in the first place.

    The bourgeois rises above naïve consumption, yet does not want to relinquish its underlying naïve æsthetic; it is frustrated, and that fraction that is male and of a certain age becomes ripe for the sanctioned, prefabricated rebellion of Slipknot, Rage Against the Machine, and their ilk, presciently and masterfully produced by the very same mavens of Mass Culture.

    The true artists of the musical mass media, by which I mean the producers and A&R teams behind the likes of Britney and Fred Durst, would much rather have you hate one of their puppets than understand the true nature of their art. So long as you are angry, or experiencing any fundamentally emotional reaction to their art (ie, their manipulation of the Mass Media), rather than understanding their medium and reacting to their work at a more advanced critical level, you will continue to be their pawn, for their medium is the Mass Medium, of which you are, inescapably, a part.

    I do not mean for this to be an attack on your personal taste, of which I know little, but rather an explanation from which we can begin to extract some key distinctions.

    We must distinguish the Recording Industry from the Mass Medium if we wish to understand either. We must further distinguish each, and their respective artists, from the art of musical creation and performance, and its own artists. If you do not like Mass Culture, that is fine, but if we did not have the small or independent businesses that form the vast majority of Record Companies, businesses that rarely if ever have any contact with the Mass Medium, then the variety of high-quality music that you have access to outside of the Mass Medium would be vastly diminished.

    I find the phrase "ignorant know-it-all" interesting. I think it does, in fact, describe many of the self-styled "critics" of the Recording Industry, most of whom know next to nothing about the object of their ire.

    [ Parent ]

    I don't think anyone hates the recording industry (none / 0) (#67)
    by GhostfacedFiddlah on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:57:54 AM EST

    No one I know lashes out against the horrors of being able to record sound and play it back at a later date. Your article long-windedly states the obvious point that "recording sound is good". If you're sticking purely to the *recording* industry, I see no problem with this premise.

    My problem is with what is *called* the recording industry nowadays, but has grown into much more. They started out with a valued product (the ability to create sound reproductions that didn't suck), and watched their product sink and sink in value as technology closed the gap between their systems and home systems. My band (www.siobhan.ca) recorded and mixed our entire CD ourselves - using $2000 (Canadian) worth of equipment. What value does the "recording industry" add to that? Why are they charging $20/CD when we make that money up after our first hundred CDs? When we can let other bands we know use the equipment on our own cheap computers for free?

    But then there's the expertise - I'll give that to you. Not everyone knows someone willing to do a good job of mixing/mastering their CD. But...there are companies that will do just that.

    Everything else that you mention - calling radio stations, advertising, etc - can easily be done by a publicity company - possibly specializing in music. Without the large companies, this is probably what would happen. That way crap artists wouldn't have advertising paid for by popular bands, and all artists would have the same even playing field for their music to "make it big".

    My big problem with the "recording industry" is their apparent ownership of bands and music. Even the phrase "signing on" indicates that you're entering into a contract more significant than just using their studios. You lose rights to the music, you have certain tour obligations, etc.

    That's about it. I'm looking forward to your next article on the issue though - even if for the slightly sadistic reason of wanting to pull it apart :). Keep 'em coming.

    [ Parent ]
    There are publicity companies, yes. (none / 0) (#71)
    by RobotSlave on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:42:01 AM EST

    So, you know that publicity companies exist. That's a start. Now why do you think most unsigned bands don't use independent promoters?

    Do you know how much work and money goes into pitching a record to college radio nationwide, let alone internationally? Do you know how hard it is to convince a writer at a magazine to even listen to a record by an unknown artist, let alone review it? Do you have any idea how long it takes to build up and maintain the contacts necessary to get these things done on a regular basis? Do you have any idea how much an independent promoter costs?

    Believe me, it's a lot more than most small bands can afford. Then add in costs of advertising-- print advertising, in-store advertising or placement, so called "street marketing," etc. All your non-recoupable stuff. Lots of money.

    For recoupables, like tour support, video production, and so on, in the absence of a Record Company, you'd have to find someone willing to put up an interest-free loan against future record sales. How many banks do you know of that would take the risk even if they did charge interest?

    Would you prefer to be limited to the output of artists who are rich to begin with? Think about it. That's what you're arguing for when you say things should be handled by "publicity companies" instead of "Record Companies." Of course, a "publicity company" could choose to accept rights to the artists' work instead of cash payment, but what what would the "publicity company" be then, if not a Record Company?

    Why does every person on the internet obsess over the details of the recording process, even though I have said again and again and again that this is an insignificant component of the cost of producing a record? Is it the geek factor? I never get this kind of reaction when I talk about this in bars.

    Yes, half of my my argument is that Record Companies are primarily "publicity companies," to use your term (though with greater risks). And most people who complain about the Recording Industry have absolutely no idea of what that entails.

    You're in a band? You write music? You can't afford a promoter, or don't have the skill or contacts or time to do your own promotion? That's OK. You can keep the rights to your work if you want to. Until you give them up or sell them or trade them for something, they're yours.

    No-one is going to point a gun at your head and force you to "sign on" to a Record Company. You can take their contracts or leave them. And most artists sign on the dotted line because they understand that their chances of success as artists are much better if they agree to the terms of the contract.

    [ Parent ]

    A generic subject (none / 0) (#74)
    by GhostfacedFiddlah on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:01:05 AM EST

    First off, I'd like to retract my statement about signing on. I personally wouldn't, but it's not for me to berate the industry or artists who agree to such terms. And, like all industries, you'll have bad apples that try to abuse these contracts because they know how desperate artists can be. I realize this pretty much wraps up the debate - as your article was on how record companies are useful, and I just admitted that they serve some use.

    But how long is this publicity function going to last? A lot of bands realize they'll never hit mainstream, and therefore a lot of publicity is useless unless it's extremely well targetted. My band plays celtic music. I can only name two celtic bands that I've ever heard get appreciable airplay. This goes for a lot of genres. Also, more importantly, the internet is providing more and more of people's "first contact" with bands. And - for now, anyway - the number of links you get is generally proportional to how good you are. In addition, sites like audiogalaxy and mp3.com are making it easier to find the bands you want to listen to - so that rids us of the "filtering" function of the record companies.

    But my number one problem (yes, I used this phrase last comment, but retracted it above :) with record companies - and I suspect it's the problem with many people have - is that they're trying to legislate a solution to a free market problem. If people are copying music in droves, perhaps it's costing too much. We can argue whether this is free use or copyright infringement, but the point is that people are *doing* it. Why does music cost too much? Maybe it's this very publicity function that record companies are performing - costing them too much. Maybe they're overpaying the artists. Or maybe they're just overcharging. The CD - case, cover, and shipping included - costs less than $2 to produce. Less even than that if you own the manufacturing equipment. Yes, you've heard all these arguments before, but they're *good* arguments. People want to know why they're paying a 1000% markup on some CDs. You can talk about marketing costs and legal fees or anything else, but this *does not add value* to the CD. Why should I pay for their marketing? Is a CD worth more if 10x as much was spent advertising it and getting it radio play?

    That's just one small gripe among many though. The recording industry has gotten so used to the business plan it's enjoyed since the 50's that it's unwilling to change it.

    [ Parent ]
    How many times do I have to repeat this? (none / 0) (#79)
    by RobotSlave on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 06:37:52 AM EST

    The cost of recording and manufacture is an insignificant fraction of the cost a Record Company incurs in producing a record.

    Do you think I'm just pulling that out of my ass? Go call up some independent record labels and ask them for yourself. I've said this about five times now, and yet people here are still whining about the cost of manufacturing a record.

    Do you know how much the food you eat in a restaurant costs? Typically less than 30% of your bill, even less after you tip. But nobody is complaining that restaurant prices are too high.

    If you think that software can replace the "filtering" function of a good A&R ear, then you must have delusional ideas about the state of AI research. The sites you cite do not discover good new music-- they simply aggregate the opinions of people who have listened to music.

    If you rely on these "collaborative filtering" sites that you claim are so great, then you're going to end up listening to the bands that have the most friends. Those are the people who will vote the songs up.

    If you instead want someone to spend all their time listening to unfiltered new music, and pass along or recommend to you the small percentage that isn't complete crap, then what incentive are you prepared to provide them?

    What sort of system do you put in place to make sure that these people are in fact the ones doing at least the the first-pass filtering for you? What measures do you take to make sure that this system isn't abused? What do you do when abuse rears its head anyway?

    How long do you suppose it would take for this system to get just as complicated as any other part of the Music Industry, or even more so? Do you suppose everyone would like it? Would it not have flaws? Are you familiar with the negative connotations of the word "Utopian?"

    Is it completely inconcievable to you that perhaps people are copying music at a higher rate than before not because records are too expensive, but rather because it is now much, much easier to make copies?

    Do you not understand the significance of the fact that in order to copy a record, you don't need to have a real friend who actually owns a legitimate copy of the record anymore?

    This is not "sharing" with "friends." If you're downloading music using Morpheus or some other network, I'll bet you've never met the person you're downloading it from. This isn't "sharing." This is distribution.

    And that is why this is not a "free market" problem. The Record Companies have an exclusive right to distribute their music, and they must retain that right if they hope to realize any profit from their work.

    Distribution rights are sold on the free market (and often divided up and resold, as a brief look at international releases would show you) and anyone who usurps those rights and starts distributing music without permission is violating the very rights and respect for property that the free market is based upon.

    The problem is not that records are too expensive. The problem is that people want to own stuff without paying for it.

    As an aside, I'm getting a little sick of repeating myself. Many of the responses I've read in this thread have already been addressed in the comments attached to my original article. I know you're all busy, busy people, but I would really appreciate it if you'd look for your answers there before posting here.

    [ Parent ]

    Yes, I've been listening (none / 0) (#83)
    by GhostfacedFiddlah on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:45:18 AM EST

    The cost of recording and manufacture is an insignificant fraction of the cost a Record Company incurs in producing a record.
    I'm not denying it! I'm saying that there are required costs - recording, packaging, shipping - and there are "optional" costs - advertising, paying someone to talk to radio stations, etc. If the optional costs are 75% of the total cost, and people find these prices too expensive, what do you do? I said it last time. These expenses *add no value* to the music. They in no way make it better. Given the choice between a CD of well-marketed music at $20, and the same CD unmarketed at $5 - you get the picture. No difference in the CD. People aren't willing to pay $15 because a CD was well-marketed and sold through two middlemen. They may be willing to pay $15 for a *really good CD*.

    Do you know how much the food you eat in a restaurant costs? Typically less than 30% of your bill, even less after you tip. But nobody is complaining that restaurant prices are too high.
    Because they can make a comparable meal at home with the right resources, just as people can make a comparable product to a CD with the right resources at home. You don't see restaurants suing home users when they find and try a recipe on the internet.

    If you think that software can replace the "filtering" function of a good A&R ear, then you must have delusional ideas about the state of AI research.
    Nope - just user moderation - much like K5 - or even google (moderates with links, but still...)

    The sites you cite do not discover good new music-- they simply aggregate the opinions of people who have listened to music. Labels are not good to "discover" new music either. How do they get the word out to me? I have to listen to it on the radio (which only plays a small percentage of the signed artists). Anyway, as for the sites. They're still "primitive" right now - yahoo.com v1.0 vs modern google.com sort of thing. But - if you find even one person with the same tastes as you, you'll likely find 3-4 new bands = 30-40 new songs you'll probably like.

    If you rely on these "collaborative filtering" sites that you claim are so great, then you're going to end up listening to the bands that have the most friends. Those are the people who will vote the songs up.
    It's not votes - it's opinion. Find people who like music like yours, and find out what else they like. Like any system, there can be cheating, but it doesn't change the usefulness. This is silly anyway. The point was that an electronic medium could do as good a job as labels for filtering. I don't listen to the radio because I find few songs I like are played, but I have no problem finding new bands I like with just a cursory examination of genres I'm interested in. And with samples, it's even easier. Far easier than assuming that whatever a label puts out is good.

    Is it completely inconcievable to you that perhaps people are copying music at a higher rate than before not because records are too expensive, but rather because it is now much, much easier to make copies?
    It's just as much easier for the record companies to make copies too. As I recall, that's the main reason they came into existence in the first place is that not everyone had the equipment to make a record, and it was an expensive process. I wasn't claiming that ease of use hadn't played a large part in increased copying - that's obvious. But if copying music was as easy 50 years ago, you'd see a very different industry today. The technology is evolving, and they have to evolve too. Many people see no reason in buying a CD for 10x the price they could burn it for, knowing that a very small percentage goes to artists. A lot of people have stated they *would* buy CDs if these two facts were changed, but as you say, the record companies can't afford it - it would cut into their marketing budgets.

    Maybe the age of marketing music is dead? As you said before - how can a band possibly afford an independent promotor? They can't. Maybe they shouldn't be able to. Maybe their music should stand on its own merit rather than having to be hyped to be popular. Maybe I'm being a little idealistic ;) But unless the business model changes to reflect the fact that some people want to be able to burn their two favourite songs for $1 a piece, you'll have people illegally copying to get the products they want - products the companies don't provide.

    A bunch of stuff about filesharing and distribution rights(not trying to silence you - just save space)
    It seems to me that record companies are abusing their distribution rights if they don't give consumers what they want. How are record companies good for the consumer in this situation? Why should I have to buy 13 songs when I want 1? Why should I have to pay for cover/jewel case/shipping/etc when I could download and burn it myself? A better alternative to their distribution model has come along, and rather than emulate it, they try to squash it.
    The problem is not that records are too expensive. The problem is that people want to own stuff without paying for it.
    Free market dictates that what people will pay is what something's worth. And people *will* pay - just not the prices a lot of companies are asking.

    [ Parent ]
    So it's come to this? (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by RobotSlave on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:46:19 PM EST

    Usually, when I get to the point in a written debate where my opponent is resorting to line-by-line rebuttal, I can be fairly sure that I have exhausted any original thought that my adversary might have, and am witnessing little more than reactionary denial.

    You may or may not have run out of ideas, but your technique leaves a lot to be desired. I'd rather read an original post, rather than re-read my previous post with lots of simplistic rebuttal interspersed. I suspect the same is true for many other readers. Be considerate, OK?

    I think I am beginning to see the problem with my explanation of the costs of promotion. The problem is that people of a technical mindset tend to drasticly undervalue social assets. You return again and again to the technical aspect of selling records because you do not understand the value of popularity, or you do not understand that popularity is, for music, only minimally dependent on technical merit.

    It was stated in the article that consumer goods are sold, not bought. You do not need music (or movies, or novels, or sports, or television) to live. You do not need it. You want it. This desire is almost entirely social in nature.

    It is the job of the promoter, the advertiser, the man in the grey flannel suit, to sense that desire, and to then affix it to the products he has been trusted with. A few exceptionally talented individuals might once, at the pinnacle of their carreer, manage to alter the public desire to fit the product.

    This is not easy work. Not everyone is suited for it, or even capable of it. In fact, many people in the technical professions are so devoid of any talent for promotion that they do not understand it in others, and exhibit nothing but resentment for those who practice the craft (and occasional art) of advertising, and recieve ample compensation for it.

    So when you say promotion of music is "optional," you most likely say so because you are under the assumption that you can take a good record, stick it on a shelf in a local record store, and then sit back and wait for sales to snowball to the size that you imagine is justified by the technical merit of the music, artwork, and engineering.

    So why don't we hear about this happening all the time? Because there's some evil conspiracy of the foul Recording Industry and the Evil Advertising Overlords afoot, as the piracy apologists would have you believe? Come on. If technical merit was all that mattered, then a conspiracy wouldn't make any difference.

    Back here on Earth, a record doesn't "snowball" unless there's someone pushing that snowball, first alone, then with some help, and finally with heavy machinery. If there's a bit of a cultural slope to take advantage of, that's nice, but someone has to scout the terrain first. Someone who can read a culture. Someone who understands advertising.

    Now, I'm not saying I enjoy all advertising. I do get annoyed with it, at times. But I at least understand that most of it isn't aimed at me. I don't let that stuff distract me from that fact that the culture I do enjoy almost always lands on my plate as a result of competent promotion aimed squarely at people like me. I could put my head in the sand and pretend that everything I like has all come to me due to the sheer gravitational force of my own good taste, but that wouldn't make it so.

    I'm a social being. I accept that. I'm actually pretty happy about it. I don't mind the fact that some strangers understand me, and can sometimes get me to buy things. It warms my heart to think that a friend in a good little rock band might have his music enjoyed all over the country and abroad by all sorts of people thanks to the efforts of a couple of smart promoters and A&R people.

    The act of taking music without paying for it is deeply antisocial, and it makes me sad. No amount of verbiage can make it social-- the rhetoric of "sharing" is a profoundly empty one, and the insistence on referring to music, to artistic creations, as mere "files" is a grave insult to the artists.

    There is little I can do to convince you of the economic value of work that is primarily social in nature if you do not see it already, or if you cling to the simple-minded association of "value" with a concrete object of one sort or another.

    Promotion is an aspect of our social human nature. It has always been part of the Music Industry, and it always will be. But you don't have to believe me. Ask an ethnomusicologist some time. Promotion of music is here to stay, and no technical system you throw at it will change that.

    You think that the music industry is "abusing" their distribution rights, but you justify this with your personal tastes. If there's only one song on a record that you want, then don't buy the record, OK? I'm sure you can find other records that have a better "value ratio" for you.

    That record that you think is a "one hit wonder" is being bought by people who think the one song is worth the price, or by people who like the other songs on the record, too. You are ignoring the people around you. You are using selfish, antisocial rhetoric to justify piracy.

    The antisocial music pirates are getting away with it for now, but the day is young. I would prefer that this situation did not result in draconian legislation, but I fear we are headed in that direction. This series of essays is my small personal attempt to speak to the antisocial pirates, in hopes that they might mend their ways.

    In my day-to-day life, I am trying to bring other social pressure to bear on the problem. I gently mock anyone whose music "collection" consists largely of home-burnt copies of CDs. I refuse to listen to music through computers; I tell people whose "collection" is no more than a chimera on a hard drive that I prefer to take my time picking out music, and that a shelf full of CDs is much more intuitive, public, and conducive to browsing than any collection on disk.

    There are times when I don't even feel comfortable touching a friend's computer, for various reasons-- why should I have to go through that just to pick out some music when I'm visiting?

    The full force of social pressure has not even begun to bear down on the music priates. When (and not if) it does come to bear, the word "geek" will come to have yet another social deformity associated with it. The backlash against the "geek power" of the late nineties has only begun. Wouldn't it be best to start mitigating the effects now, rather than later?

    [ Parent ]

    You learn something new every day (none / 0) (#133)
    by pyramid termite on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:13:27 PM EST

    Back here on Earth, a record doesn't "snowball" unless there's someone pushing that snowball, first alone, then with some help, and finally with heavy machinery.

    I never knew a mirror, a gram of coke and a straw qualified as heavy machinery.

    Meow.
    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    [ Parent ]
    Huh. (none / 0) (#136)
    by RobotSlave on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:26:43 PM EST

    And I never knew a blithe insinuation of drug use qualified as argument. We have so much to learn from each other!

    [ Parent ]
    Meow (none / 0) (#138)
    by pyramid termite on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:34:45 PM EST

    We have so much to learn from each other!

    We'll start with the basics - toothpaste - cap on or off? Toilet paper - under or over? Do you snore, toots?
    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    [ Parent ]
    Wow! (none / 0) (#141)
    by RobotSlave on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 12:29:18 AM EST

    Are you asking me out on a date? All this fuss and bother was just to get my attention?

    That's adorable!

    Are you a top or a bottom? What kind of lube do you like? Do you prefer silk or leather? This is much more interesting!

    [ Parent ]

    I prefer silk ... (none / 0) (#143)
    by pyramid termite on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 01:03:04 AM EST

    ... but doubt I'll be getting it from an old sow like you. Bye!
    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    [ Parent ]
    So coy! (none / 0) (#145)
    by RobotSlave on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 01:25:46 AM EST

    You tease and you flirt, and then you pull away...

    Please touch me again, baby! I can't stand it!

    [ Parent ]

    *touch* (none / 0) (#169)
    by vile on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 02:21:14 PM EST

    touch

    ~
    The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
    [ Parent ]
    Alright - some original ideas then (none / 0) (#166)
    by GhostfacedFiddlah on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 01:30:24 PM EST

    Okay - apologies for the line-by-line. Didn't realize I was breaching any protocols. But I hope you did read the comments. Specifically that the idea that record companies serve any useful filtering purpose is ridiculous. A number of people I know have completely different "filters" than the one you mention. And more importantly, if for some reason, they disappeared overnight, people would find *plenty* of ways to fill the filtering void. Radio stations already serve this purpose - they have to listen to demo upon demo to know what local bands to play. There are music sites galore - and the beauty of MP3s is that you can try-before-you-buy. You can be your own filter for a mere 2 minutes of your time. This is hardly the world the article describes of "one to two good CDs a year"

    So from what I can see, these companies serve no benefit to the consumer. There are other "filtering" services, and as for better quality recordings, see #1, as the poor ones are already being filtered out.

    But now to the artist benefits - promotion, promotion, promotion. And that *is* great for the artist - if they're one of the 1% that actually make it. If they're not, they get their fifteen minutes of fame, and are then locked in a contract they're making no money off of. Yes, they signed the contract, and maybe knew what they were getting into, but that doesn't mean the record companies are "helping" them. The majority of signed artists get very little promotion - and definitely none of the nationwide campaigns you describe in previous posts. And while I wouldn't claim that every single band I've liked has come to me from the sheer gravitational force of my own good taste - the majority have. They've all been random mp3s (I later bought CDs), random mentions on websites, word-of-mouth, etc.

    As for advertising being "optional", two words - "Ani DiFranco". Without help of a major record label, or even a well-known small label, she has gold records. Yes, she has some promotion now - but it is completely *self-paid*. Maybe this kind of independent success doesn't happen often, but I'm inclined to believe that without the major labels crowding the market, it would happen a whole lot more. Once again, with a void in the market, other forces would act. Of course, without inter-timeline travel, it's just a theory, but makes sense to me, anyway.

    Anyway - back to the topic on hand - filesharing. You slam me for questioning how music is distributed nowadays, calling me "antisocial" because I don't want to pay $15 for a song, while I might be willing to pay $10? The record companies are *losing that money* by not offering me that option. There is an untapped market. Don't treat me as if I'm a unique individual in wanting this - everyone I know has talked about CDs they won't buy because there's only one good song. For the consumer, being able to purchase individual tracks without having to buy a whole CD is a better system. They're not forced to buy something they won't listen to, and can afford more of what they do like.

    You say that I have the choice of paying $15 for that song, or not buying the CD. Who decides these artificial alternatives, and why is that good for me? People have discovered a third option - downloading the single song. Many believe it's immoral - but less immoral than forcing people to buy products they don't want bundled with the single product they do. The record companies have a choice in this, but instead they're using the same old business model they've used for 50 years - a business model that is dying.

    People aren't copying music because they want something for free - I don't. I want to compensate the artists. I'll go to a concert, I'll buy a t-shirt, but I won't pay 10x what something is worth to me. Millions of people obviously feel the same way. Massive amounts of people breaking the law indicates a bad law, not bad people.

    The full force of social pressure has not even begun to bear down on the RIAA. When (and not if) it does come to bear, the phrase "record exec" will come to have yet another social deformity associated with it. The backlash has against the giant record labels of the late nineties has only begun. Wouldn't it be best to start mitigeting the effects now, rather than later?

    [ Parent ]
    Time to get out the old soapbox (none / 0) (#113)
    by pyramid termite on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:43:07 PM EST

    The cost of recording and manufacture is an insignificant fraction of the cost a Record Company incurs in producing a record.

    True - bribing radio stations takes a lot more, not to mention video production, in-store promotion, etc. etc. etc. But actually, that's not producing a record - it's marketing one.

    Now from your article -

    The musicians in this world are lucky to make two hundred American dollars a month from their musical efforts. They have other jobs by day, and so must sacrifice a considerable portion of their social life if they intend to put in the practice time that is necessary to play music of any quality, let alone write original music of any merit.

    According to whom? Are you really going to tell me that a person can't possibly produce a first rate piece of music unless they are actually making a living from it? Talent will find a way. Just how many poets and novelists do what they do as a full time living? Few. Does that make their work second rate?

    You go on to discuss filtering - I prefer to do my own filtering. I listen to several different radio stations, which admittedly have people filtering for me, and have explored the nooks and crannies of the net and file sharing services for stuff I'm curious about. If I hear something that's lousy, I forget about it; if I like it, I keep it in mind and often get more and buy a CD when I see one. You seem to look down on sites where the filtering process involved how many friends the band has, but I'm curious as to know how that's different than how many millions of teenagers think the band is cool. It's a difference of scale, that's all, although an argument could be made that the teenagers show somewhat hipper taste ...

    There seem to be some major assumptions behind your views - 1) that artists have to making a living from their art to make good art; 2) that it's impossible to find good art without it being filtered by people who will decide what the millions will be better off hearing (and pray tell, who filters for the A&R and why should we trust a profession that, for example, rejected the Beatles many times before George Martin heard the tape?); 3) that there are a small, limited amount of talented artists who will get drowned in a sea of swill unless a corporation sorts through all the dreck first.

    1 is just wrong. There are many great blues musicians who didn't make a living from their work. Or a very poor one. Does that make their music worthless? Was William Carlos Williams a worthless poet because he had to make his living as a doctor? (According to him, he was a *better* poet because of it.)

    As far as 2 is concerned, there have been cases where now famous bands were rejected, now famous novels were turned down, and now famous works of art were condemned as cultural atrocities. The track record of A&R men, critics, and other middlemen isn't anywhere as good as people think it is - remember that the vast majority of what the A&R people pick bombs mightily. Buy a few 25c tapes or CDs sometime from a cutout rack. You may be pleasantly surprised at the uniqueness of some of the work. You will also say of others - "Why'd they even try to work with that band? They sound just like X, and X is a lot better."

    As far as 3 is concerned, I'll readily admit that 90% of everything is crap. Which leaves us 10%. Of those we have some people who are competant journeymen - for example, I've heard quite a few 8 or 9 piece old time blues/r&b outfits who are generally good, but not real memorable. You have a fewer number who are truly original - but, and this is my point, that number is much much greater than the RIAA or the radio industry would have us believe. There's a lot of outstanding musicians out there that get little airplay at all. But, some of us are listening to them anyway.

    The distribution of music will change. The model of a few superstars defining the music of an age is over. There are many people of talent who are going to succeed on their own terms, and one of those will be that they don't have to make a living from it, or be on the Top 40. (And don't mistake me for one of those "bourgeous" types - I liked N'Sync's last single. It helps if you use top house producers ...)
    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    [ Parent ]
    Why do you hate musicians so much? (5.00 / 1) (#123)
    by RobotSlave on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:54:18 PM EST

    So you're suggesting that musicians who don't have other skills deserve to live in shacks without running water like so many blues legends?

    Are you saying that music should only be taken up by people who have already established a professional career elsewhere?

    Your vision of the Music Industry would throw us back into the Middle Ages. Maybe you're into that, but I'm not.

    OK, explain something to me. First I repeat myself over and over again when people whine about records being too expensive, and now you come along and tell me that there's great music to be had in the cut-out bin for $0.25 . So which is it? If there's great music available for $0.25, then why not just buy that and laugh at all the suckers who pay $16.99? Or is that $0.25 music maybe not quite as good as you claim it is?

    Your "era of superstars" is a straw man, of course. Thanks to the Recording Industry, the days in which a person might only be exposed to a very limited selection of music in a lifetime are long gone.

    Go chat with people in bars for a while-- you may find a few who "define" an "age" by saying "Micheal Jackson," but you'll find just as many who list Sonic Youth, the Replacements, and Squirrel Bait, together with dozens of other innovative artists who were made available by the Recording Industry during a given "age." Most people would name only one artist, or a few, only if you asked them to, well, name just one artist, or name the most popular ones in an "age." Without restrictions, people will give you long and varied lists.

    Your argument assumes consumers are stupid robots. They're not. They never have been. And if you looked closely, you'd find that some of them are even smarter than you or I, though it looks as though you'd never, ever give them credit for that.

    Commercial Radio is a very lucrative corner of the promotional system, to be sure, but it is a far cry from being the whole industry. If you don't like it, don't listen to it.

    Listen to college radio. Buy magazines that reflect your interest. Find a record store that will allow you to listen before you buy (yes, they most certainly do still exist). Listen to your friends' records. And once you find something you like, buy it.

    [ Parent ]

    MetaComment (none / 0) (#125)
    by minra on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:31:21 PM EST

    This is to comment that your comment is below comment.

    [ Parent ]
    I don't hate muscians, just critics (none / 0) (#126)
    by pyramid termite on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:43:58 PM EST

    So you're suggesting that musicians who don't have other skills deserve to live in shacks without running water like so many blues legends?

    Not unless you're suggesting that musicians are too stupid to get any other skills.

    Are you saying that music should only be taken up by people who have already established a professional career elsewhere?

    I'm suggesting that people who don't have a professional career elsewhere had better not count on the music biz to make a living - and you can't possibly tell me I'm being unrealistic about that.

    Your vision of the Music Industry would throw us back into the Middle Ages. Maybe you're into that, but I'm not.

    They had internet access and file trading in the Middle Ages?

    OK, explain something to me. First I repeat myself over and over again when people whine about records being too expensive, and now you come along and tell me that there's great music to be had in the cut-out bin for $0.25 . So which is it? If there's great music available for $0.25, then why not just buy that and laugh at all the suckers who pay $16.99?

    Indeed - why not? Let's not forget Goodwill or garage sales or the used record rack either - and if you saw my collection and had me explain where I'd gotten a lot of them, you'd know what I was saying.

    Or is that $0.25 music maybe not quite as good as you claim it is?

    Scrounge around and see what you can find - I've gotten some good stuff that way.

    Your "era of superstars" is a straw man, of course.

    It is? Then why have Grammies?

    Thanks to the Recording Industry, the days in which a person might only be exposed to a very limited selection of music in a lifetime are long gone.

    And thanks to the upcoming Internet Music Industry, that selection's even going to be less limited.

    Go chat with people in bars for a while-- you may find a few who "define" an "age" by saying "Micheal Jackson," but you'll find just as many who list Sonic Youth, the Replacements, and Squirrel Bait, together with dozens of other innovative artists who were made available by the Recording Industry during a given "age."

    How many records did Michael Jackson sell and how many did Sonic Youth, the Replacements and Squirrel Bait together sell? But you're going to tell me there's going to be as many people who say those bands defined the age as much as Michael Jackson did? Sounds like a bourgeois reaction to bubblegum pop on your part. Or theirs.

    Your argument assumes consumers are stupid robots.

    Which argument was that? Where did I even hint that? As a matter of fact, I hinted that the teenagers who listen to pop radio have better taste than the indy-rock crowd.

    And if you looked closely, you'd find that some of them are even smarter than you or I, though it looks as though you'd never, ever give them credit for that.

    Oh, I get it, you're used to arguing with those indy-rock types. Sorry, I'm not one of them. Try arguing with what I wrote.

    Commercial Radio is a very lucrative corner of the promotional system, to be sure, but it is a far cry from being the whole industry. If you don't like it, don't listen to it.

    But I DO like it. See? I actually have an appreciation for the art of pop music and commercial radio, even though it's degenerated a bit since the mid 60s when I first listened to it. There was a time, you see, when it didn't take several hundred thousand dollars to get a song played on the radio, when all it took was for a DJ in Memphis or Detroit to say what the hell, the A-side stinks, let's hear the B-side, and if the phones lit up ... There was a time when playlists were more regional, where country, soul, hard rock and pop all got played together, and where there were 40 to 50 songs in rotation, not 20 to 25. There was even a time when a lot of the most radical innovations were in hit singles. And before you tell me I'm indulging in nostalgia here, I'll go on to say that today's commercial radio reminds me a lot of that; once again, it's interesting.

    Listen to college radio. Buy magazines that reflect your interest. Find a record store that will allow you to listen before you buy (yes, they most certainly do still exist). Listen to your friends' records. And once you find something you like, buy it.

    No, no, no. Why do that when you can put three of the songs you have on your computer as wave files, load them up into a multitrack recording unit, cut and paste and dice and slide and play them all at once until you get something really different? You're not anywhere near adventurous enough for me. You think American Pop is sugary? Try Cambodian pop sometime ... sugary, but damn catchy.

    Oh, yeah, I was wondering - what about Ani DiFranco, Courtney Love and the Grateful Dead? "I know this song won't ever go AM ..."
    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    [ Parent ]
    Dear Old Sixties Radical: (none / 0) (#128)
    by RobotSlave on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:23:15 PM EST

    I think I understand now. Please start by reading my other comment, in which I explain my opinion of line-by-line rebuttals.

    Yes, you are, in fact, suffering from an acute case of nostalgia. The Recording Industry is not the same thing it was in the mid sixties. It's better. There's more variety, and the business isn't as corrupt as it was then. Things change, man. Things change.

    We have the Grammys to celebrate top-40 music. We have them for people like you, who enjoy that stuff. Everyone knows that the Grammys are not representative of the music business. Or did you not pick up on that? Things change, man.

    If you like top-40 music, then go ahead and tape off the radio. No-one is saying you shouldn't do that. Heck, go ahead and pipe the radio into your computer, and make wav files and chop and slice and dice to your heart's content, Mr. Radical DJ. Throw in the audio from the Bollywood movie in your VCR, while you're at it. Just don't distribute the finished product without permission, OK?

    Notice you don't need an internet connection at all to get the things you say you want, but you're still up in arms in favor of internet piracy. What's up with that? Do you just need the added thrill of sticking it to The Man, or something?

    I'll get to Ani Difranco, Courtney Love, and the Dead in my own sweet time. Be patient.

    [ Parent ]

    Wow, like, um, stuff changes, man ... (none / 0) (#131)
    by pyramid termite on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:00:42 PM EST

    I think I understand now. Please start by reading my other comment, in which I explain my opinion of line-by-line rebuttals.

    They make your head hurt?

    Yes, you are, in fact, suffering from an acute case of nostalgia.

    Yeah, that's why I listen to drum and bass so much - it reminds me of "Wipeout" by the Safaris.

    We have the Grammys to celebrate top-40 music. We have them for people like you, who enjoy that stuff. Everyone knows that the Grammys are not representative of the music business.

    Everyone except the millions who watched it, the artists who were there, and Mr. Greene.

    If you like top-40 music, then go ahead and tape off the radio. No-one is saying you shouldn't do that. Heck, go ahead and pipe the radio into your computer, and make wav files and chop and slice and dice to your heart's content, Mr. Radical DJ. Throw in the audio from the Bollywood movie in your VCR, while you're at it.

    Let's see - I mention Cambodian pop, and you think I'm talking about Indian movie music. Sheesh.

    Notice you don't need an internet connection at all to get the things you say you want, but you're still up in arms in favor of internet piracy. What's up with that? Do you just need the added thrill of sticking it to The Man, or something?

    I never said I was in favor of it - you assumed. Now let's see - in one directory, I've got an MP3 of Shaggy that I taped off the radio. In another I've got one that I downloaded from someone who ripped it from the CD. I followed good audio recording and processing procedures, and the person who ripped the file did it correctly. They're the same bit rate and have been edited to the same length.

    OK - quick - how do you tell the files apart? (Not by listening!) And if you can't tell them apart, how can you tell me which one's legal and which one's illegal without me telling you?

    I'll get to Ani Difranco, Courtney Love, and the Dead in my own sweet time. Be patient.

    You'd have never made it as a troll on Usenet, you don't think fast enough.

    Meow.
    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    [ Parent ]
    Oh, harsh, dude. (none / 0) (#134)
    by RobotSlave on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:19:04 PM EST

    You'd have never made it as a troll on Usenet, you don't think fast enough.

    Things change, man. Things change.

    Now go on, tell me why you need internet music piracy. You didn't answer me.

    [ Parent ]

    Bummer, man, bad trip ... (none / 0) (#137)
    by pyramid termite on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:31:36 PM EST

    Now go on, tell me why you need internet music piracy. You didn't answer me.

    Because my 401K's all stock in prison companies and I need lots of stupid laws to keep the prisons full.

    Come to think of it, you've never explained why we need a music industry, have you?
    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    [ Parent ]
    Who me? (none / 0) (#140)
    by RobotSlave on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 12:24:00 AM EST

    I guess you couldn't be bothered to read a long explanation of why we need the Recording Industry. Or maybe you've just got a short memory. That starts to happen as you get older, I hear.

    So suit yourself. If it feels good to resort to petty insults when your views face a serious challenge, then go for it. We all need to let off steam now and again.

    Feel free to let me know if you want to offer any more justifications for internet music piracy. I'm pretty patient.

    [ Parent ]

    Oh, my, my, my, he's MLPing again (none / 0) (#142)
    by pyramid termite on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 12:59:10 AM EST

    I guess you couldn't be bothered to read a long explanation of why we need the Recording Industry. Or maybe you've just got a short memory.

    Not as short as yours - I've directly quoted from the article in question.

    But there's no explanation you could possibly give as to why we "need" the Recording Industry. We don't "need" it, any more than we "need" Coca-Cola or edible underwear. Humankind, and music for that matter, survived quite nicely without it for millenia and, believe it or not, still thrives without it in many places. Now as far as why one would "want" the Recording Industry, your point of view is sadly lacking, as you define the Recording Industry as independent, small record companies and refuse to deal with the majors. That's an asinine definition; it doesn't fit with the reality of the music business and you know it.

    So suit yourself. If it feels good to resort to petty insults when your views face a serious challenge, then go for it. We all need to let off steam now and again.

    Letting off steam? No, fool, I'm toying with you. You had an opportunity to have a serious discussion with me and chose to ignore most of the points I made, mischaracterize my statements and indulge in some rather lacklustre flaming all while telling me that point by point rebuttals aggrevated your obsessive/compulsive disorder or something. (We know you don't need that.) No, you're going to play the devil's fool (you're not logical enough to be an advocate) and change your arguments, or your opponents', whenever you find them inconvenient, all the while being condensending and arrogant, due to your inability to actually come up with anything that's self-evident, or more lofty than your ego. The only serious challenge I've faced so far is not to die laughing when I think of you whacking out your turgid nonsense at 100 wpm with your pencil sized tallywacker.

    Feel free to let me know if you want to offer any more justifications for internet music piracy. I'm pretty patient.

    I'm not. You're posting like a drunken Bill Palmer. I command you to answer me with something smug and half-witted so you can sleep soundly tonight, knowing you got the last word in and won your little game.

    Hey - I should have posted this in the circumcision thread - I've just cut a dick short.
    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    [ Parent ]
    Thanks, sweetheart. (none / 0) (#144)
    by RobotSlave on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 01:19:06 AM EST

    That was a nice effort to get the last word, but it won't work.

    Now if you don't mind, I'd like it very much if you could switch from the silk whip to something a little heavier, and focus on the small of my back.

    You have no idea how hot you get me, termite.

    [ Parent ]

    Its about who takes the risk (4.00 / 2) (#82)
    by squigly on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:18:37 AM EST

    What I feel that that article, and anyone who has spoken representing the record industry has missed is the idea that the ones who should profit are those that take the greatest risk. There are two ways I see that the Record industry could work :

    1: A one-stop marketing and distribution service.

    This is how the record industry pretends to work. In this situation the company simply provides a service, and the band takes all the risk. The record industry has a fixed set of charges, for publishing (including commisioning cover art and such) at a fixed cost, marketing (including promotional tours) at a fixed cost, and a per CD charge for printing and distribution.Since we area ssuming that the record company has money and the artists do not, the record company will have to loan them the money, and may not get their money back. This can be covered by an insurance fee, which is also charged to the artist.

    The record company is entitled to recoup its expenses from the sales of the CD. It is also entitled to charge a markup to cover the risk of the band not being able to afford to repay the loan from sales, and a certain markup for profit from the manufacture of the CD. However, I see no reason that they should be entitled to long terms exclusive rights after this loan is repaid. All the risks have been taken by the band. There should be no reason that the artist couldn't choose a different publisher once all the money has been repaid.

    2: Record company produces and sells the record, and hires the artist to produce the work.

    I believe this is roughly how the book publishing industry works. In this, the the record comapny takes all the risks. The record company gets exclusive rights to the music, and future music. In return, the artist gets full royalties with no deductions after the work has been published. The only deductions are for advances. This would ensure that the artist is rewarded, and will certainly get something in return. All risk is taken by the publisher, at the expense of lower rewards and less freedom to the artist.

    The record industry tries to do it both ways. The artist is obliged to sign all rights over to the publisher. In return for this, the artist also has to take all risks of losing money.

    If there was a proper free market, then this wouldn't happen. The record industry is a cartel. The artist has little choice but to sign, since no other record company offers any better deals, so its a choice of signing or living life in obscurity.

    Its really up to those who suffer from this and those who are in a position to change this to change this state of affairs. There are a lot of succesful artists who feel they have been screwed by the industry. They have money and contacts. They also have no need to make large profits, so a simple solution would be for these succesful artists to set up a not for profit fair trade cooperative to publish with reasonable terms.

    [ Parent ]

    What are you talking about? (none / 0) (#117)
    by RobotSlave on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:06:17 PM EST

    Record Companies most certainly do take the risk that their promotional efforts will not pay off. Record Companies lose money on many more bands than they earn money on.

    Would you please make at least a little bit of effort to understand the topic before posting? The fact that you want something to be true does not make it so.

    [ Parent ]

    There is no overall risk (none / 0) (#148)
    by squigly on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 03:33:20 AM EST

    The risk is spread over all the bands. For a single given band, this may be the case. However, when the risk is spread over 100 bands, the risk that all of them will fail is very small.

    You will notice that I included risk in the calculations. This is simply a multiplier. It's how every loan works. This is why the an unsecured loan has much higher interest rates than a secured loan. This covers the bank against a bad debt.

    [ Parent ]

    An alternate theory (3.50 / 4) (#55)
    by Wateshay on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 09:54:57 PM EST

    Here's an interesting thought: maybe the record companies aren't as greedy as we accuse them of being, but are rather just stupid and incompetent.

    The WSJ had an interesting article the other day about the failures the record labels have. I don't remember the exact number, but the ratio of successful signed bands to unsuccessful ones is pretty low. Given the numbers in the WSJ article (1 in 1000 is what I'm thinking), it seems to me like the big record labels just aren't very good at figuring out what people will like.

    "If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for everyone else."


    Simply put (1.75 / 4) (#61)
    by vile on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 11:39:43 PM EST

    Ever stop to think about stopping to think about whether or not you've been coerced into listening to that song on the radio? Ever thought why? It's called marketing. This is business. Should it be? Insidious corporate vagabonds - that would be you - are the mites of society. Everything that anything pure, and good, and REAL stands for, is thwarted by money-hungry, corporate niggers - that would be you - who simply ride on the backs of artists to achieve mass fortunes at the expense of unknowing clientelle. Your ideals state that art is no longer of beauty, but slavery. How does one get to the top? Become a slave. Music is art and beauty. Music is not business. Get it right. "This problem won't be solved in short order. It's going to require education, leadership from Washington and true diligence to help our fans - that would be you - to embrace this life and death issue and support our artistic community by only downloading your music from legal Web sites. That will ensure that our artists reach even higher and, deservedly, get paid for their inspired work." It's going to require education. Of course it is! Let's indoctrinate our kids with this horse shit. Leadership from Washington.. how big is your lobbying effort now? $5m/year? More? Less? 'To embrace this life and death issue' -- life and death issue of whom? The corporate middlemen? Oh, I truly care! I'm so sorry for you. How many billion dollars have you lost now? Better question: How many billions of dollars have you made now? 'Download music from legal Web sites -- That will ensure that our artists reach even higher' -- our? you own them? I think not. 'That will ensure that our artists reach even higher and, deservedly, get paid for their inspired work.' -- So, explain the whole corporate bullshit line of artists' work and ownership. I'd like to hear it again. Think, don't assume. Your assumptions are wrong, indoctrinated beliefs.

    ~
    The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
    Corporate what? (none / 0) (#62)
    by fluffy grue on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:08:47 AM EST

    I don't see what race has to do with this.
    --
    "Is not a quine" is not a quine.
    I have a master's degree in science!

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]
    [ Parent ]

    You can make a wild guess (3.00 / 2) (#64)
    by theboz on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:14:30 AM EST

    I don't see what race has to do with this.

    Maybe he just has a problem with rap music and thinks that groups like NSync and such are really good artists. I'm sure he is also quite happy with such talented individuals as Ricky Martin and Britney Spears too.

    Stuff.
    [ Parent ]

    As you should not. (none / 0) (#98)
    by vile on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:25:18 PM EST

    'Used as a disparaging term for a member of any socially, economically, or politically deprived group of people: "Gun owners are the new niggers... of society" (John Aquilino). ' Only those to whom which race actually makes a difference one way or another, are those who would associate such a vile term as nigger to a race of an individual or individuals. So, you shouldn't see, as it does not.

    ~
    The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
    [ Parent ]
    I see (none / 0) (#119)
    by fluffy grue on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:39:12 PM EST

    2 definitions found

    From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English [gcide]:

    nigger \nig"ger\, n.
    A negro; -- in vulgar derision or depreciation. It is usually
    intended and interpreted as highly insulting and vulgar.
    [Low, deprecatory, and vulgar]
    [1913 Webster +PJC]

    From WordNet (r) 1.7 [wn]:

    nigger
    n : (ethnic slur) offensive name for Black person [syn: {spade},
    {coon}, {jigaboo}, {nigra}]

    --
    "Is not a quine" is not a quine.
    I have a master's degree in science!

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]
    [ Parent ]

    I read (none / 0) (#130)
    by vile on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:48:50 PM EST

    We're getting OT. From Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: Main Entry: nig·ger Pronunciation: 'ni-g&r Function: noun Etymology: alteration of earlier neger, from Middle French negre, from Spanish or Portuguese negro, from negro black, from Latin niger Date: 1700 1 usually offensive, see usage paragraph below : a black person 2 usually offensive, see usage paragraph below : a member of any dark-skinned race 3 : a member of a socially disadvantaged class of persons <it's time for somebody to lead all of America's niggers... all the people who feel left out of the political process -- Ron Dellums> usage Nigger in senses 1 and 2 can be found in the works of such writers of the past as Joseph Conrad, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens, but it now ranks as perhaps the most offensive and inflammatory racial slur in English. Its use by and among blacks is not always intended or taken as offensive, but, except in sense 3, it is otherwise a word expressive of racial hatred and bigotry. nig·ger Pronunciation Key (ngr) n. Offensive Slang From The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition: Used as a disparaging term for a Black person: "You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a nigger" (James Baldwin). Used as a disparaging term for a member of any dark-skinned people. Used as a disparaging term for a member of any socially, economically, or politically deprived group of people: "Gun owners are the new niggers... of society" (John Aquilino).

    ~
    The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
    [ Parent ]
    Okay (3.00 / 1) (#132)
    by fluffy grue on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:00:47 PM EST

    The closest it gets to being appropriate in your comment ("corporate niggers") would be "a member of any socially, economically, or politically deprived group of people." I don't think that those corporate types count for any of those criteria.
    --
    "Is not a quine" is not a quine.
    I have a master's degree in science!

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]
    [ Parent ]

    Okay (none / 0) (#155)
    by vile on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 10:31:58 AM EST

    I would tend to believe the opposite. If you will take a moment to read all of these comments, you will find that this group of corporate types are socially deprived. Deprived in the sense that they are lacking in advantage, opportunity, or experience within a social setting. It is clear to me that these types represent a minority in accepting the beliefs set forth by them. The rest of us tend to disagree with the laws that these types have bought. It is also clear to me that these types could care less about what we are ranting about here on K5, and could care less about how the 'fan' feels about what these types represent. Thus leaving me with the conclusion that they are not experiencing, not participating in, that they are deprived from our discussion here on K5 (and elsewhere), resulting in the label of socially deprived, corporate niggers. ;)

    ~
    The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
    [ Parent ]
    Unfortunately Not. (4.50 / 4) (#65)
    by kneelconqueso on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:09:28 AM EST

    Secondly, most people would be more than happy to download music from legitimate sources, provided you give us full access to that music, and allow us to use it the same way we use CDs and other media, mainly that we can play it when we want, where we want, and dispose of it how ever we wish. When the recording industry wakes up from their Orwellian dream of complete control of every fart and utterance ever recorded, then they'll realize that CD ripping and MP3 trading is a non-issue.

    Unfortunately this is not exactly true. EMusic.com tried this and, basically failed. Emusic offers unlimited downloads of all of its collection of thousands of songs for 10 dollars a month, and sales were so poor that they had to sell themselves to Vivendi/Universal.

    That doesn't mean, however that it is not a great service. I recommend it to anyone that has an interest in any kind of non-mainstream music. Emusic is host to the entire Lookout! Records collection, all of Epitaph, and most of the Matador collection, and that is only the tip of the iceberg. All of that without dealing with slow connections on the server, or crappy sounding files, misnamed id3 tags, etc. Just one click and you get the whole album, in a real mp3 format to fairly use as you please. All of that, and they had to sell their soul to one of the devils.

    Then there are lots of sites out there that are offering this sort of thing for free. Mp3.com (also sold its soul to Vivendi) has been offering free downloads of real mp3's for several years now. In addition, there are thousands of smaller sites like (please excuse the plug, it is relevant) mine, digitaldefection.net I am still in the process of getting my community off the ground, so don't have alot to download now, but I plan to offer a similar way for indie artists to distribute their music and get their name out, and for listeners to find and download new music, legally.



    Yes but they still exist (4.00 / 2) (#72)
    by thePositron on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:43:03 AM EST

    Yes but they (Emusic) still exist. So what he said was true, that many music lovers will pay for a service like Emusic. It's just a matter of MARKETING the service now.

    I am huge music fan and I have never heard of Emusic.com. I am also a somewhat media savvy person and I have never heard of Emusic. Maybe if they marketed the site and the product they offer a little better they would increase their revenues?

    Another thing is that we have been in a recession lately and when one has to choose between rent, food and music usually rent and food win.

    Thanks for mentioning the Emusic site and your own site though.

    peace...




    [ Parent ]
    Emusic (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by djotto on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:59:29 PM EST

    Ok, off the back of this post I went to check out Emusic, and signed up for their 14-day 50-song trial.

    Pros

    • Clean well-designed site, easy to navigate
    • Very fast downloads
    • Interesting collection of lesser-known artists
    • "You might like" suggestions work well
    • Intelligent privacy policy

    Cons

    • Not a massive collection of music
    • 128kbps, Xing-encoded files
    • 3-month minimum subscription
    • No technical information in the site

    The big problem for me are those 128k files. Also, weirdly, I think a flat $10/month may be too low. I'd rather pay a couple of dollars per album for higher-quality files, then have all my downloads billed to my credit card at the end of each month. I bet I'd spend $25 a month that way.



    [ Parent ]
    I agree... (none / 0) (#109)
    by Kaki Nix Sain on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:50:24 PM EST

    ... I'm not too keen on getting a subscription to anywhere to get music. I never had to subscribe to the CD store down the street, why should I subscribe to a site? Some months I want new music, others I couldn't care less and other things are taking up my time. A subscription forces me to think about how much I will use the service in the long run, and those maths hardly ever work in favor of getting a subscription.

    I'm more in favor of straight up buying the mp3s. A smarter site could have low quality downloads for free, a midpriced subscription for those that go for that sort of thing, and "choose your format/encoding rate" music for sale for those like me (and the parent poster, it seems) that want that type of product. IIRC it usually takes a while for a new service to tune itself so that it meets the desires of a new market. Saying that we are all lying about wanting something like EMusic.com b/c EMusic.com itself isn't doing as hot as it could was silly of the original poster.



    [ Parent ]

    MP3.com was sued by the RIAA (none / 0) (#174)
    by haflinger on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 10:21:55 AM EST

    Can't use them as a defense. The RIAA did its best to knock them out of business. It didn't quite succeed but it did manage to hurt them enough to force them to sell out.

    That's why emusic had to sell out, BTW: competition from MP3.com. They sold out before MP3.com IIRC.

    Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
    [ Parent ]

    These comments... (5.00 / 9) (#68)
    by DarkZero on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:23:16 AM EST

    Looking over the comments, I'm seeing a lot of people spouting (maybe rightfully so) the usual MP3 and P2P service defenses, such as "I rip MP3s from CDs I buy, and that's both legal and right", "But the music industry's sales have gone up since Napster", and "You can use P2P services to download independent music from artists who want their files traded". These are all fine and good, but their use sort of confuses me. For all of the ranting against the RIAA here, I haven't seen anyone bring up, "I'm sharing the things that I've bought with my friends, and my friends are sharing the things that they've bought with me, just like we used to do with actual, physical CDs". Does everyone here actually believe, despite their hatred of the RIAA, that downloading MP3s from your friends or other people on a P2P service is wrong? There are good reasons why P2P services are also called "file sharing services". They're services that let you share your files with others. When I rip a CD into a set of MP3s and share them with others, I'm not "facilitating piracy". I'm sharing with others!

    It amazes me that even within a group that vehemently hates the RIAA, they have still managed to reverse kindergarten's simple, fundamental lesson of "sharing = good". Try to compare this to your every day life, people. Especially before the dawn of MP3s and P2P services. When a friend asked if he could borrow a CD, or even if he could make a tape of it, did you think, "But he didn't BUY that CD! That's STEALING!"? I doubt that you did. With a physical CD in your hand and your friend asking to borrow it, you were able to make the simple mental connection to that fundamental kindergarten lesson of "sharing = good". But now that your friend on the internet from several hundred miles and a few national borders away wants to borrow or make a copy of your CD, you suddenly think that there is something seedy and wrong about what you're doing? Why? I honestly can't find any other reason than the propaganda and general groupthink that we're struck with from the newspapers, TV shows, nightly news broadcasts, and web sites around us that endlessly repeat whatever the RIAA and other rich industry groups say. (If there's another reason that you have, I'd like to hear it, by the way.)

    Think about your morals for a minute. Does sharing really become "theft" or "piracy" when internet technology gives sharing the same upgrade that it has given free speech and human communication in general? If you think so... then why? Why is it so different? If one person gives something that they paid for to another person without asking for any money, why isn't that sharing? This is unfortunately a question that I don't see addressed very often in P2P discussions, and I'd really, seriously like to know why so many people think that sharing becomes theft when it's done over the internet.



    Morality doesn't cease to develop in kindergarten (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by BurntHombre on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:18:22 AM EST

    So, by that logic, I should be able to type up the latest bestseller I bought off Amazon and distribute it through my website in a word doc. After all, it's just sharing, and sharing is always good.

    That "general groupthink" you blame for indicting the distribution of copy-righted material is also known as a conscience.

    [ Parent ]

    I disagree (4.00 / 1) (#107)
    by cpt kangarooski on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:24:23 PM EST

    By itself, sharing information is virtuous in the vast majority of cases. Naturally, there are exceptions for medical privacy, or what have you. But cultural information is of greatest value when it is disseminated widely throughout society.

    I find it difficult to believe that you could claim that sharing -- alone -- is a bad thing. Rather, I infer that you are claiming that failing to respect copyrights is bad, and that it is an interest that weighs against the good sharing interest.

    However, I challenge you to tell me why it is that failing to respect copyrights is a sufficiently bad thing that it would so outweigh the sharing interest. In order to do so convincingly, I'm going to have to further ask that you do so from the viewpoints of both authors (which is easy) and readers (which is harder).

    --
    All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
    [ Parent ]
    Why... (none / 0) (#110)
    by spinfire on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:51:30 PM EST

    Sharing copyrighted material is bad because the purpose of copyrights and patents in the first place is to reinforce creative thinking. Look, why should I develop the lightbulb, or a new AIDS drug, or write a new song or book?

    Copyrights in the cases of art, books, music, etc. are especially important because the artist doesn't receive much compensation otherwise. Consider a book. How does a full time author support themselves without royalties? In the case of, say, pharmaceutical companies and drug patents, the R&D costs are tremendous. If there were no drug patents, the companies would never be able to recoup that cost.

    Sorry to be US-Centric, but the US Constitution actually sums up the concept of copyrights and patents quite effectively.

    Congress shall have the power ... to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries
    Patent and copyright law is a neccessity to encourage creativity.

    Freelance Hacker. spinfire on FooNET.
    [ Parent ]
    Just about there... (none / 0) (#112)
    by cpt kangarooski on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:43:07 PM EST

    The last part of the puzzle then is -- is creativity all that we want to encourage, or is there something more after that?

    (and US-centrism is fine with me)

    --
    All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
    [ Parent ]
    Pfft. (none / 0) (#150)
    by DarkZero on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 04:13:18 AM EST

    Sharing copyrighted material is bad because the purpose of copyrights and patents in the first place is to reinforce creative thinking. Look, why should I develop the lightbulb, or a new AIDS drug, or write a new song or book?

    Oh, please. These arguements became absolute bullshit when copyrights became transferable from artists to corporate entities, when copyrights extended beyond the human lifespan, when the idea of the public domain was effectively stopped at the year 1923, and when the patent office became a free-for-all for opportunistic bastards to flood the courts with bullshit patent claims in an attempt to get a fat settlement out of rich corporations that actually developed the technology. The reasons you're talking about are from a time when copyrights were non-transferable and were released to the public domain after seven years, and when the patent office was a well regulated government organization that didn't allow multiple patents for the same object with slightly different wording, ignore prior art, and allow patent lawsuits to stretched out so far that even the most ridiculous of lawsuits warranted a large settlement from the rich defendants because a settlement costs less than a drawn out lawsuit with today's opportunistic and ridiculously over priced lawyers. They also come from a time when giving the artist their due didn't mean giving them fractions of a cent for every CD sold, leading to situations where multi-platinum music artists that aren't even overly luxurious are filing for bankruptcy protection.

    When you talk about copyrights and patents in the context of fostering creativity, giving the artist their due, and protecting the people that rightfully deserve the credit for what they have developed, you're talking about copyrights and patents in an 18th century context, not a 21st century context. I agree that copyrights and patents are a necessity, but only as those words applied in the 18th century. What copyrights and patents have become in the 21st century is a method of stifling creativity, robbing the artist blind, and protecting the people that are looting the people that rightfully deserve the credit for what they have developed. To put it simply, the words "copyrights" and "patents" in the context you're talking about only apply in the absolute vaguest sense to what they mean today. And copyrights and patents as they exist today definitely need to be changed, and in a very drastic manner.



    [ Parent ]
    Yes, the system needs reform. (none / 0) (#159)
    by spinfire on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 02:15:23 PM EST

    I agree with you completely. However, if you read the parent of my comment, Cpt. Kangarooski was asking why information should not be completely free. I answered that question with the reason. Copyright and patent laws are very important.

    As far as artist's copyrights being transferable to corporate entities, I don't see why this is a problem unless artists are forced to sign over their rights.

    Copyrights shouldn't extend beyond a lifetime. Disney actually lobbyed to change that law, because the copyright on one of their works was about to expire. Thats just about the shaddiest thing ever, and that law should never have been passed. But enough people don't respond to their legislatures or read the news, and thusly the lobbyists got it passed.

    Public Domain still exists. In fact, I have a CD released by Negativland that is explicitly placed in the public domain.

    The patent office does need reform. Another problem there is that workers reviewing patent applications are generally ill-informed to the nature of technology. Obviously something needs to be done about this.

    Personally, I think the RIAA record companies are doing a horrible job of paying the artist their rightful dues. But if thats the case, then more artists should seek alternate means of releasing their albums. Recently a band I'm a part time member of recorded an album entirely on their own, and they've released it and sold quite a few copies of it at local shows. When artists say "Fuck the RIAA", then tbey'll be forced to change or die out.

    So, yes. Reform is needed. Laws like the DMCA are horribly worded. A good part of this reason is congressmen are oblivious to the technicalities of these bills, and rely on lobbyists to explain them. Unfortunatly, those lobbyists are paid by the record companies...

    Freelance Hacker. spinfire on FooNET.
    [ Parent ]

    Sharing = good -- not necessarily. (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by jolly st nick on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:04:51 PM EST

    It amazes me that even within a group that vehemently hates the RIAA, they have still managed to reverse kindergarten's simple, fundamental lesson of "sharing = good".

    I can think of many instances where "sharing != good", high on the list is sharing things that don't belong you you.

    And that's the crux isn't it? Who owns the music, and what it means to own a song or a performance. Most people really don't think you can own a piece of IP in the way you own a piece of real property, however they do want artists to be compensated. You may argue that the recording industry does a lousy job of this, and that musicians would be better off with unfettered P2P. In fact, that's way you should be arguing.

    The simple truths of childhood don't hold up too well when they are converted to simplistic answers.



    [ Parent ]

    Re: Sharing = good -- not necessarily. (none / 0) (#147)
    by DarkZero on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 03:24:31 AM EST

    I actually just didn't cover that part because the fact that large industry groups have convinced so many people that they don't even own something they've BOUGHT (not rented, not borrowed, not lended, but BOUGHT), but instead that they have bought a license for it in the form of a physical object containing the content that they have bought a license for, is a much larger issue than what I was covering in my little post. The issue of people owning less and less of the things that they buy as consumer production laws and sane copyright laws are eroded and replaced by new, much more corporation friendly laws for a "digital millenium" is a much larger issue which the erosion of the concept of sharing is but a small part of.

    In other words, if you don't mind, just because I felt like talking about the civil war in a single country doesn't mean that I necessarily have to go on to the larger aspects of war within the world, the history of human warfare, and how this affects human beings as a race. Yes, it's a very crappy metaphor, but I think it gets the point across. I just might cover this whole damn thing in an article at some point, however...

    [ Parent ]
    I think there's a more important point in here (none / 0) (#160)
    by jolly st nick on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 02:17:29 PM EST

    Which is how the industry wants to control how we use IP. The problem is that digital copying, and digital rights management has opened a Pandora's box.

    The whole point of the public copyright bargain is to maximize the public good by making works available. Making them available but limiting their use doesn't make sense.



    [ Parent ]

    no, copying != sharing (none / 0) (#122)
    by minra on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:43:49 PM EST

    I'm pro p2p, but am surprised nobody called you out on your little (self?) deception.
    • When I lend a CD to a friend (sharing), I can't listen to it for the duration of the time he has it (sometimes for the rest of my life).
    • When I copy the CD for a friend (piracy), I am duplicating it so that we can both listen to it at the SAME TIME, and further copy it for others.

    In the case of analog media (tape) this process is limited to a few iterations. With mp3 and CDR - it is practically unlimited.

    When a popular tune gets copied this way (digitally) the spread of the music is exponential.

    This is why they are so scared. They're scared of losing *control*. To cop a quote from Hunter S. Thompson:

    "P2P filesharing makes waves... and the Big Boys at the top, they don't LIKE waves."



    [ Parent ]
    Re: no, copying != sharing (none / 0) (#149)
    by DarkZero on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 03:57:26 AM EST

    It actually wasn't a deception. I touched on this part very lightly, and I unfortunately had a feeling that this would come up, but decided not to cover it in more detail. This is where I touched on this topic:

    Think about your morals for a minute. Does sharing really become "theft" or "piracy" when internet technology gives sharing the same upgrade that it has given free speech and human communication in general?

    Basically, the gist of my feelings on this whole "copying = / != sharing" thing is that the nature of the internet has simply given sharing the same technological boost that it has given lots of other things. Human communication, for instance. Are you "stealing" when you communicate over the internet, even with your own voice, to someone in China or Thailand, if you don't pay your phone company long distance charges for it? Are you stealing when you send mail over the internet, without putting a postage stamp on it? No, you're not, or at least you don't think you are. But the phone companies and the US Postal Service haven't gone on massive campaigns in Congress, in the news, and in advertisements against these uses of the internet. The RIAA, on the other hand, has. A large chunk of their business model is being phased out and the rest of it is changing, just like the business models of the phone companies and the US Postal Service, but unlike their sane and reasonable associates, the RIAA wants legislate their right to profitability into law and campaign their right to profitability into popular morality.

    And where is this line between sharing and piracy really drawn, anyway? You claim that the key difference is that when you're sharing one piece of intellectual property on one piece of physical media, only one person can use it at a time... but who said more than one person is allowed to use it? If making a copy of it so that two people can use it at the same time transforms sharing into piracy/bootlegging/theft, then why isn't letting more than one person see it theft? After all, once your friend has borrowed and heard this piece of intellectual property, they won't need to buy the CD, even if they give it back to their friend when they're done with it. And that's really the issue here for the RIAA, isn't it? File sharing is seperated, at least semantically, from the traditional defininitions of the terms "bootlegging" and "piracy", because no amount of money switches hands between the copier of the intellectual property and the receiver of the intellectual property. Therefore, the real problem is someone that didn't pay for a song hearing it or keeping it for any period of time at all, not whether or not they get to keep it for longer than they would if they had bought it, or even if they keep it indefinitely. I'm not usually a proponent of the "slippery slope" arguement, but we've been going down that slippery slope for years. If making a copy of something that you've bought for a friend in a medium where copying is the only way to share anything (bits are copied from computer to computer, and it is incredibly difficult to make them work like physical objects) is wrong, then why isn't sharing it with them at all? Many think it would be ridiculous to completely outlaw sharing, but intellectual property groups have already tried numerous times to stop the resale of intellectual property items to others in used record stores and other "used --whatever--" stores, and the moral process there is basically the same: More people are seeing it, but only one person paid for it.

    I think I'm wandering here, but the principle remains the same: Just because sharing has undergone an upgrade doesn't mean that it is wrong. And it especially doesn't mean that it can be lumped under the terms of "bootlegging" and "piracy", in which people make large sums of money selling cheap copies of other people's works at an inflated price. P2P file sharing is SHARING, not bootlegging or piracy, but lengthy information campaigns and attempts at coercing Congress in more and more inscrupulous ways seems to have convinced people otherwise.



    [ Parent ]
    CP bit on DA, sharing, piracy (none / 0) (#161)
    by spinfire on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 02:28:50 PM EST

    All digital audio mediums such as DAT, MD, CD, have a Copy Protection bit that is off originally, and is incremented to 1 on the copy when a copy is made. With this bit set, a copy cannot be made of a copy. However, as many copies as you want can be made of the first generation recording. Of course, all pro audio gear can set these bits either way, because most sound engineers need to be able to make unlimited copies.

    This is IMHO an incredibly reasonable system. Originally, with cassettes, the first generation copy was of decent quality but subsequent copies dramatically decreased in quality. Making a copy of a first generation recording and distributing it to your friends or keeping it as a backup for yourself is perfectly reasonable. Thats sharing. However, if your friends were able to make unlimited copies and distribute them to their friends, that would be piracy.

    Freelance Hacker. spinfire on FooNET.
    [ Parent ]

    P2P filesharing IS theft (none / 0) (#163)
    by Quixato on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 12:17:22 AM EST

    Because it provides IP to consumers without them paying, which, unfortuantely, is theft. Nevermind that it may boost sales through exposure; that is not the issue at hand. The law and kindergarden lessons are two very different things.

    I believe that all these problems (lawsuits, legal disputes, DMCA) we're experiencing right now are just growing pains in a IP system that is fundamentally changing as it grows into the electronic frontier.

    Before the internet and filesharing applications, IP (be it in the form of music, books, movies, etc) was limited to a physical medium that consumers had to pay distributers to produce, thus the large overinflated corporations that exist only to put the IP of the artists into the hands of the consumers. A huge industry was developed because of our great need for entertainment and art, and all these middlemen (RIAA, record labels etc) happily fit into the great food chain to put money in their pocket, which is what everyone working in a capitalistic world wants, really. It was difficult to reproduce IP without purchasing the work (I mean who photocopied books from the library?).

    Unfortunately, (at least for the middlemen), the information revolution has never made it easier for consumers to copy and share the music, movies, books that they love. We all download music here, I'm listening to music as we speak that I would never have bought, simply because it's easier then going out and buying a CD, and possibly because I would rather not have to pay for this great music.. :) Whether or not I would buy CD's if I had money, that's a different issue, and not one worth debating. The point is that we have in our means to download any music that suits our fancy, without paying for it, which is, of course, driving the middlemen insane, because as they see it, that's money out of their pocket. Thus all the lawsuits, the shutting down of napster, DMCA, etc. These middlemen are doing everything in their power to resist change to the system on which they've based their livelyhood.

    The problem is that they've got to change. The system upon which we have IP from Artists, authors, etc delivered to us, the consumers, is due for an overhall in this digital millenium. The system that the middlemen are desperately trying to keep stable SIMPLY WILL NOT WORK in an electronic world. Its just too easy for us, the consumers, to steal IP from the artists. So a new system is needed. Unfortunately, we're never going to get everyone to say, "yep, we need a new system X, as Y is out of date. We'll all change over on Z date". The change must come gradually, and at the benefit of the performers and artists. Why? Because they're the ones who are creating all this great music that we're stealing in the first place! I'm pretty sure that if a method of IP delivery came that benefited the artists, while at the same time was easy and conscionable to the consumers, everybody would be happy to switch. But what system? Ah, that is the question. I don't think technologically we're at the right spot to provide that system. Ideally we would want a system (using the music industry as an example) that would allow us to pay a small fee (say $.50 per song, or $5 for a traditional CD) that is ours and ours alone. We'd have to some kindof unique consumer ID that is ours alone, and able to unlock songs keyed to our ID. The ID's would be stored on our computers and stereos, and songs would be unencrypted right away. If we get rid of the physical medium alltogether, then we can lower prices, and give more money directly to the artists (and perhaps producers). At the same time, we can dispense with the middlemen, who exist solely to distribute the physical medium. I don't know, I just came up with that off the top of my head - I'm open to other suggestions.

    The point is that in our current IP Delivery system, we are stealing, but we're stealing from people who shouldn't own it in the first place!

    "People are like smarties - all different colours on the outside, but exactly the same on the inside." - Me
    "Learn to question, question to learn." - Sl8r
    [ Parent ]

    wording (warning: pedantry ahead) (none / 0) (#165)
    by mikpos on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 01:26:06 PM EST

    Of course the wording doesn't really matter (a rose by any other name and all that crap), but what you're describing is NOT theft. It is criminal, but it is NOT theft. In NO legislation will you hear it described as theft; by NO respected laywer will you hear it described as theft. It is NOT theft; it's copyright infringement.

    I suspect that once the general public started hearing being called "intellectual property", they made the fallacious connection between the word "property" and "theft". However, the law (at least not in any legal jurisdiction I'm aware of) does not agree with them.

    [ Parent ]

    Question for the record companies... (5.00 / 5) (#69)
    by DeadBaby on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:31:53 AM EST

    How does it feel for your consumers to be as greedy as your industry is? Not very good huh?


    "Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
    Lyrics.ch (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by alfadir on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:34:30 AM EST

    I never used Napster and I don't use the current distributed filesharing programs either. But, the one service online that made me buy CD:s was also shut down.

    lyrics.ch was a free searchengine for lyrics. People submitted the lyrics of their favorite band and you could find all kind of strange bands in a "searchengine" as clean as google. Another big plus was that I improved my showersinging ability, having a site where I could quick and easy find the lyrics for a song I was listening to. (English is my second language)

    It was shut down and replaced by a horrible java solution where you no longer could copy & paste or scroll the lyrics on your own. Also alot of the lyrics were missing.

    Maybe the buissness of selling lyrics is thriving or that the musicmakers must protect their lyrics to not loose the right to them. I am not sure. This was however one of the most stupid mistakes form the musicindustry.

    After hearing the partial lyrics of a Leonard Cohen song and some words form the awsome ballad "Lord of the Rings" from Blind Guardian (German hardrockband that sings songs with themes from J.R.R. Tolkiens books) I have bought several albums of both. I found them thanks to the lyrics.ch

    I hope a simular service can come online again. It is only when it is managed by "the people" it can contain all kinds of music. Not only the latest Brittney Spears CD + tons of ads.



    seeking music (4.00 / 1) (#75)
    by boomi on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:23:53 AM EST

    I own an mp3-player with 20gig harddisk built-in.
    Now, I can hook up this thing to any decent computer with USB.
    No need for internet bandwith, no searching necessary. Just some geek friends with big disks, and swapping music is almost too easy.

    Where did these 20-gigs of music come from?
    25% My own 'legal' bought cd's
    10% 'Legal' and 'illegal' downloads
    65% 'Legal' and 'illegal' copied from friends

    What I want to show you?
    How do you learn of 'good' music? Through MTV? Radio? Internet? Friends?
    I'd vote for 'Friends'.

    Just lend your 20-gig player to a friend, he copies the stuff he wants or what I especially recommended and puts the stuff he likes on the player.
    I learnt about great artists mostly this way, using the random feature of my player.

    Do you buy a CD from a band you never heard of?
    AFAIK, I never did!

    I don't need, want or trust the recording industry to show me what I should buy, just make the stuff available, man!

    Basically, I'm talking about a structural problem here. How can I find 'good' music without violating copyright law?
    - Go to concerts
    - Collect recommendations, buy it if you happen to find it.
    - Buy random shit, hoping that SOME will be 'good' (being able to listen before you buy helps _somewhat_)
    - Listen to music that other people bought or 'pirated'.

    Only the last option is a viable solution to me, my player 'industrializes' this ;)

    Personally, I don't care for the recording industry as long as they release good stuff. Their distribution sheme is quite old dated by now.
    If they are replaced by a P2P-service, so be it!

    What about the artists then? Um, I wouldn't know. All I know is, that I can't support my favourite artists by just generally supporting the recording industry, voting against P2P.



    A telling quote (4.00 / 3) (#80)
    by JackStraw on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:33:03 AM EST

    Songwriters, singers, musicians, labels, publishers - the entire music food chain is at serious risk.
    Can you guess who's at the bottom of the food chain?


    -The bus came by, I got on... that's when it all began.

    This was a great thing to watch live. (none / 0) (#84)
    by BurntHombre on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:07:46 AM EST

    If anyone else watched the Grammy awards, you'll know what I'm talking about. Several times during the speech, there were spontaneous eruptions of cheers and boos by people in the audience -- of course, the cheers and boos all came at the *wrong* points in the speech, at least in Greene's opinion, I'm sure.

    For example:

    "This illegal file-sharing and ripping of music files is pervasive, out of control and oh so criminal." *booooo, hisssss!*

    "In just a couple of days they have downloaded nearly 6,000 songs." *hurray, wahoo!*

    The funniest thing was when Green introduced the three college students who downloaded the 6000 mp3s -- Numair, Stephanie and Ed. The camera panned to them, and I never saw three people with more sheepish looks on their faces (understandable, considering the amount of booing that had erupted from the audience by this point).

    I'm certainly no big defender of the right to unlimited downloads of copyrighted material, but this speech made me realize how TOTALLY out of touch the record industry is with its consumers. Calling them "criminals," trying to take the upper hand against downloaders who are "stealing [the] livelihood" of poor starving artists -- what nerve!

    Consumers are the recording industry (4.00 / 1) (#89)
    by jet_silver on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:02:56 PM EST

    All the industries that record things are unnecessary once people have the ability to do their own recording. This is why the MPAA, RIAA, and NARAS are desperate.

    The industries that record things spend lots of money to do the recording, and there was a time when the needed equipment was too expensive for consumer use. Those days are over.

    What concerns me now is the recording industries are seeking to create a new monopoly based on the fact they had one recently. This is what the SSSCA appears to be for. I fear the SSSCA will be a means of restricting who can assert copyright.

    Consumers no longer need the recording industry. When talent ceases to need (or feel they need) the recording industry, it's dead.
    "What they really fear is machine-gunning politicians becoming a popular sport, like skate-boarding." -Nicolas Freeling
    Dear Mr. Greene: (4.00 / 1) (#91)
    by quartz on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:01:34 PM EST

    Let me tell you why I never download what you call "illegal" music. Not because it's illegal. Not because artists have some sort of "right" over the intellectual "property" they create (which they don't anyway, since even the make-believe "copyright" society has made up for them is readily transfered to record labels). The reason why I don't download "illegal" music is simply because the so-called "artists" who get up in arms when people share their music disgust me to the point where I don't want to listen to their creations anyway. I only listen to, download, and buy music created by true artists who have enough respect for their art and their audience to realize that art is meant to be shared, not sold. Have a nice day.

    Oh yeah, and tell Washington I said they can take their leadership and shove it up their collective ass.



    --
    Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
    Right on Brother! (none / 0) (#173)
    by DanMcKinnon on Wed Mar 06, 2002 at 04:39:55 AM EST

    This is what I like to hear! I am an artists in four bands, and I say that everyone must cease to recognize the existance of the big recording companies. I don't make a living off of my recordings, but local patrons (at concerts) are willing to give me a buck or two for our CDs. Ignore RIAA, Ignore Washington, Ignore the Justice System, Live your life like the good people you are and nobody gets hurt. Together we can make things work.

    [ Parent ]
    "Criminal" (4.00 / 1) (#95)
    by QuantumG on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:12:26 PM EST

    It should be criminal to claim something is "criminal" that isn't.

    Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
    I think the real problem with the music industry.. (3.50 / 2) (#116)
    by Johnny Smash on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 06:34:35 PM EST

    ...is the prices they charge for CDs. There's no reason why a CD should cost $18. Considering the mass production, they could charge $9.99 a CD and still make a tidy profit. The reason why so many kids download music instead of paying for it is that they can't afford to pay $20 for a CD. They have a lot of free time and if they have the Internet access, why wouldn't they download instead of buying? If the CD's were marketed at a more attractive, reasonable price, and if they included cool multimedia addons that aren't available online, then there would be a reason to buy the CD.
    Life's a bitch and I'm her pimp.
    I saw part of his speech, unfortunately. (3.00 / 1) (#120)
    by Kasreyn on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:42:36 PM EST

    The place I work at, someone turned on the TV because they actually wanted to watch the Grammys (shudder). So I was subjected to pop dreck and teens who've deluded themselves into thinking they're artists breaking their arms patting themselves on the back. (and trying, as an amusing aside, to tally how many of them thanked "God", and how many of them babbled out some patriotic thing about 9-11) As far as I can tell I'm the only one who got any WORK done that night.

    Anyway, the high point was surely when Mr. Greene came on and excreted the most snivelling, whining, snide, self-serving little batch of puling drivel it has ever been my extreme misfortune to be unable to kill myself to avoid hearing. I mean, it just took my breath away. The recording industries are literally living in a dream world. They think that the normal laws of capitalism don't apply to them; they think it's their right to just set as ridiculous a price as they want, and deliver as crappy a product as they want, and that if the consumers stop buying it, they must be criminals! Any artist who can't see this after that revolting mouthfart of Mr. Greene's must be blind as a bat.

    And frankly, had I been there, I'd have booed too. But I have better things to do than go to the Grammys (or Oscars for that matter, same thing), like, say, ripping my eyes out with a fork dipped in battery acid.


    -Kasreyn


    "Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
    We never asked to be born in the first place."

    R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
    Laws and enforcement. (4.33 / 3) (#129)
    by mindstrm on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:48:46 PM EST

    I am a fan of enforcing laws. I really am.

    If downloading pirated music off the internet is illegal, then the individuals doing it should be brought up on charges. We have a DUTY to bring them up no charges.
    We sould not be trying to make even more laws to curb this behavior if we can't even enforce the basic laws.

    Offshore gambling. Why lobby banks to stop accepting payments and transactions from offshore gambling organisations? Why not just charge those who are actually doing the gambling?


    My point is.. if the law is not enforceable, it should not be there in the first place.


    You have a point (none / 0) (#135)
    by pyramid termite on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:24:54 PM EST

    If downloading pirated music off the internet is illegal, then the individuals doing it should be brought up on charges. We have a DUTY to bring them up no charges.

    And then there's the people who use illegal drugs, who speed, and who tear the tags off of their mattresses.

    There's only one solution - we'll lock up all the law abiding citizens and let everyone else run loose. It'd be much easier.

    My point is.. if the law is not enforceable, it should not be there in the first place.

    I agree. I just wish the idiots in Congress would think of that once in awhile.
    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    [ Parent ]
    mattress tags (none / 0) (#158)
    by stfrn on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 01:40:02 PM EST

    ripping mp3 is compareable to ripping tags on mattress;
    you can do it to your own only. mattress have that rule so that the consumer knows what the mat is made out of.

    on an idealistic note, the idea of sperating out law abiding people could actually work- don't put them in jails, give them the best jobs and places to live basicly.

    "Man, I'm going to bed. I can't even insult people properly tonight." - Imperfect
    What would you recomend to someone who doesn't like SPAM?
    [ Parent ]

    This is how they plan on enforcing it. (none / 0) (#157)
    by Amesha Spentas on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 11:37:31 AM EST

    http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,46655,00.html

    Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
    [ Parent ]

    The real deal (4.00 / 4) (#139)
    by fanatic on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:38:25 PM EST

    This illegal file-sharing and ripping of music files is pervasive, out of control and oh so criminal.

    So here's the real central issue, because ripping a CD I ALREADY paid for and own, for my own use, is - or used to be - fair use. The real point is to make illegal ANY use that the big corporations don't permit - because the next thing after that is that you pay $20 for the CD and THEN pay for each time you listen to each song, too.

    Sure, you can own your house, don't mind us, we're just improving the lock with this coin mechanism, only $2 per entry/exit - this is where DMCA leads. And SSSCA is even worse.

    Well, yes and no (none / 0) (#164)
    by buck on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 12:43:43 AM EST

    So here's the real central issue, because ripping a CD I ALREADY paid for and own, for my own use, is - or used to be - fair use.
    "Aye, there's the rub." You only bought the CD, NOT the music; the recording industry still owns that, and that's the crux of their argument. If you buy Microsoft Windows, or a PC with Windows installed, you actually just get a license to run it on a PC. You don't actually buy the OS itself. Not trying to be an apologist for the RIAA, but, technically, it's still their property.

    Sure, you can own your house, don't mind us, we're just improving the lock with this coin mechanism, only $2 per entry/exit
    This is not really a good analogy, because it really IS your house. Your bank or mortgage company may have a lien against it in case you don't make your mortgage payments, but it's still your property. Otherwise, the bank would be paying the property taxes on it

    That being said, in light of the leglislation you mentioned, perhaps it's time for a GNU Project for music; a Free Music Foundation, if you will.


    ---

    -----
    “You, on the other hand, just spew forth your mental phlegmwads all over the place and don't have the goddamned courtesy to throw us a tissue afterwards.” -- kitten
    [ Parent ]
    greene, downloads (1.00 / 1) (#146)
    by stpna5 on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 02:53:34 AM EST

    The personal use/fair use of prerecorded music doesn't include making copies to send to others. Just like with books, paintings, photos, poetry collections, albums and journals --- knockoffs of designs and ripoffs of the work of others is protected and governed by international copyright laws. Why should a third-world nation's lack of worker safety protections, environmental safeguards, civil rights or due process be emulated any less than modeling of the same notions regarding the copyrighted works of artists. Their rights over those created works exist prior to and exclusive of the marketing, licensing and/or distribution of those works by record/film/tv and other media conglomerates. Tianenmen Square is not something multinational corporations want you to remember, let alone comprehend.

    Fair use (none / 0) (#170)
    by Rhinobird on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 06:29:00 AM EST

    But if I make a copy of a CD I own so I can lock it in a safe and not worry about getting scratched and whatnot. That's fair. But if I lend out a copy to friend who has a history of not returning the crap I let him borrow then BAM I'm a pirate. And I am a criminal because I because I took that step to protect myself from theft. How odd.

    That said, Napster and it's kind are havens for piracy, and was rightly stopped. What I didn't like about the RIAA argument was they were protecting the artists. No they weren't, they were looking after their profits. Too many popular artists have gone bankrupt in the current system before the internet was widely available for them to start claiming best interests of artists now. It was a situation of the pot calling the kettle black when they started tht whole theft from the artists' mouths bull-pucky


    "If Mr. Edison had thought more about what he was doing, he wouldn't sweat as much." --Nikola Tesla
    [ Parent ]
    Joy of Tech comic about this (none / 0) (#167)
    by Snaggy on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 02:03:25 PM EST

    Nitrozac and I couldn't believe how bad his speech was, so, in case you missed it, we did a Joy of Tech comic about it. EnJoy.

    Oops, wrong url (none / 0) (#168)
    by Snaggy on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 02:09:46 PM EST

    Here's the correct URL, sorry about that Chief.

    Michael Green comic

    [ Parent ]

    3.6 Billion? (none / 0) (#171)
    by The Stainless Steel Cat on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 08:28:11 AM EST

    From a quick websearch, I find an estimate that there are thought to be around 370 million Internet users.

    So according to the RIAA, on average, every single Internet user is downloading 10 songs every month, not counting songs made freely available by their artists/publishers, ie legal downloads.

    Given that a large proportion of Internet users are within corporate sites with - I imagine - a "No Recreational Use" policy, that figure of 10 per user per month leaps up to something I won't begin to guess. I would bet, however, that it's a ridiculous number.

    As for the figure of 6000 downloads by three students in three days; if I tried hard, I might be able to match their 650 or so downloads per day, but when would I listen to them?

    I think Mr Greene is talking out of his hat.

    Goodbye Michael Greene (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by Rahyl on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 02:45:41 PM EST

    Hey gang, it's been a while (almost a year) but I'm back, and I'm pissed. It seems the Rev Michael Greene has condemned us all to Hell for downloading music files. His words are the last, pathetic screams of a dying breed. You see, Mr Greene, your industry is on it's way into oblivion. Yes, you heard me right, OBLIVION. There will soon be no place for the likes of you and the rest of your business of music distribution. The internet has brought you and your business to an end.

    There have been many times in our history where technological innovation has brought about major changes in what we do as people. The invention of the automobile caused a downshift in the raising of horses. Gunpowder put many archers out of work. The television made waves in the radio industry. Perhaps none of these is more highly studied than that of the impact made by the printing press in the 15th century.

    Back in the day, books were all written by hand. If you knew how to read and write, you were among the few, the talented. Although during that time period (pre-15th century) being illiterate wasn't the handicap that it is now, being able to read and write made you very employable indeed. By the time the printing press was invented, the scribe's guild had its own agenda, and it did not very much like this idea of printing books with machines. Acts of sabotage were not uncommon toward businesses running presses but in the end, technology won and the scribe's guild had to live with the end result.

    Well, here we have two new actors playing these well known roles all over again. Perhaps Mr Greene should take a history lesson and come to grips with the inevitability of his industry's demise. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, he's just going to have to find himself another place among the musicians he's claiming to defend for you see, the artists aren't the ones who are going to suffer.

    Let's go back to the scribes vs the printing press. Those scribes that realized the end was near had a choice to make: you can fight (and lose) or you can join the new way. Since it was no longer practical to earn a living writing books, many chose to learn how to operate presses. Many decided to learn about inks and papers. There were other ways to earn a living for those creative enough to look for them. This is what will happen for musicians who decide to embrace the internet as a distribution channel.

    There are a few ways the artists actually make money doing what they do. Among them, CD sales, live performances, and merchandise. Let's see, which of these items would be impacted the most? CD sales. This leaves ticket sales and band merchandise completely intact (all things held constant). What will happen if the bands themselves decide to use the internet to distribute their music, free of charge? Well, they wouldn't have to pay people like Mr Greene to distribute their products for them. Now that your music is available to everyone for free, the amount of effort it takes for you to gain `critical mass' exposure is now greatly reduced. No more struggling with distributors and record labels.

    Now we see why Mr Greene is so concerned. The record labels are about to be cut out of the picture and (surprise) all this talk about the bands being `marginalized' out of existence is a complete lie. We're looking at the beginning of a new era in creativity. We're entering a time where the bands with skill are able to make money selling concert tickets and merchandise and the idea of marketing a CD is a waste of time. Once the bands realize this and adjust their profit models accordingly, there will be no looking back.

    Goodbye Michael Greene. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.


    Greene Blasts Illegal Downloads | 176 comments (160 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
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