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Some Artists "get it" When It Comes To The 'Net

By theswindle in News
Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 12:17:24 PM EST
Tags: Music (all tags)
Music

It appears that in the music industry today, two camps of artists are beginning to emerge: those who "get it", who don't fear Napster, and the general open-ness of the Internet itself, and the paradigm shift this will bring to the distribution and economics of making music, and those older, "legacy" artists who fear the present (future) of the business, and are doing everything they can to resist that change, at the expense of their own respect, eroded by their sad ignorance and unwillingness to accept the 'Net.


Case in point - while the "legacy" artists like Metallica and Dr. Dre are fighting Napster tooth and nail, and ultimately turning off more fans (read: potential revenues) who would otherwise buy physical copy of their material, than recovering the mythical "lost revenues" they fear would result from free distribution of MP3 tracks, newer, younger artists like Limp Bizkit, who, ironically enough are outselling Metallica and Dr. Dre by wide margins - openly embrace Napster and the 'Net in general, and realize that the widespread distribution of LB MP3's is their best marketing tool, leading to more sales, not less. And you can't argue with the bottom line - LB pushes a LOT more records out the door of the CD pressing plants than Metallica and Dr. Dre these days, and both of these legacy artists have recently released albums. In fact, in the example of Limp Bizkit, the band is going to team up with Napster to co-promote the band's summer tour. Now that's a bold move. And perhaps a monumental sign of things to come - it should be very interesting in a year's time to compare the sales and revenue generated by Limp Bizkit, compared to those of a "legacy" band like Metallica. I know where I'm going to place my bets.

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Some Artists "get it" When It Comes To The 'Net | 25 comments (25 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
On the one hand, this general story... (3.00 / 1) (#1)
by rusty on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 09:37:42 AM EST

rusty voted 0 on this story.

On the one hand, this general story is pretty overexposed. This is a nice summary of the basic situation, from the "free music" point of view, but unfortunately it's a bit late in the game for overview summaries.

On the other hand, the news that Limp Bizkit is actively helping to promote Napster is interesting. I personally don't agree with your assesment of lagacy bands, vs. bands who get it. I think it's more a matter of who will figure out how to recapture the dollars that aren't buying albums, because the one or two songs they want are out there for free.

____
Not the real rusty

Rounding down from +0.25 ... (1.00 / 1) (#6)
by marlowe on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 09:38:00 AM EST

marlowe voted 0 on this story.

Rounding down from +0.25
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --

Other artists that at least partial... (3.30 / 3) (#4)
by eann on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 09:39:58 AM EST

eann voted 1 on this story.

Other artists that at least partially "get it": Phish, They Might Be Giants, Tori Amos, and just about everyone that's never been signed to a major record label, and is therefore fighting for radio air time, concert tickets, and any attention they can get.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


It seems that because they are so p... (4.50 / 2) (#2)
by lachoy on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 11:07:19 AM EST

lachoy voted 1 on this story.

It seems that because they are so popular Limp Bizkit can afford to support napster. (Then again, Metallica ain't no slouch in the sales department either, I think.)

But what's always bothered me about napster and the whole mp3 thing are the smaller artists. It's really difficult for me to believe that they'll "make up" any lost revenue from CDs based on ticket sales when they get 200 people coming to a show because that's all the place will hold.

I'd like to think that smaller artists would be the ones who could best take advantage of napster and the internet, bypassing typical record company hierarchies and bureaucracies to talk to "the people" directly. But I just keep thinking that most people, when confronted with the "free lunch" that napster represents will take it, not pay for a CD or anything else and forget that someone actually worked to make that music.
M-x auto-bs-mode

Maybe it is the wind of change, I d... (none / 0) (#7)
by Camelot on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 11:43:26 AM EST

Camelot voted 1 on this story.

Maybe it is the wind of change, I don't know. But I certainly wouldn't blame Metallica for going after Napster. Current events are not going to stop me from buying their records (not that I'd buy them anyway). If it were my favorite artist doing this, I'd still buy their stuff.

It's interesting to see a 180 degre... (none / 0) (#3)
by ramses0 on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 11:57:19 AM EST

ramses0 voted 1 on this story.

It's interesting to see a 180 degree split between two types of popular artists. Metallica has some pretty good songs, so does Limp Bizkit. Both should technically "want" to prevent people from "stealing" their music, but one is suing napster, and the other is touring with napster. Waay wacky.

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]

I think that its about time someone... (none / 0) (#8)
by CmdrPinkTaco on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 12:03:52 PM EST

CmdrPinkTaco voted 1 on this story.

I think that its about time someone "got it!!!" Not that I am for or against Limp Bizkit, actually Im quite indifferent, but they have become a band with a lot of mainstream pull. I think that it will be a good influence on some of the other newer bands. Of course bands like Metaliva and artists like Dre also have a lot of mainstream pull, but Metallica and Dre have had their day. In the words of Dre himself, you can add me to the list of all those who "forgot about Dre"
--
Guess CmdrPinkTaco's .sig and win - nothing :)

Re: I think that its about time someone... (none / 0) (#9)
by pope nihil on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 01:09:07 PM EST

personally i can't stand limp bizkit, but i whole-heartedly agree with their approach. when metallica decided to sue napster, i lost any shred of hope that there might still be something worthwhile left in those guys. they used to be a pretty cool band. they started to lose touch with reality around their black album. everything since has been total crap. anyway, (trying to be on topic) the point is, limp bizkit is a new band. as a new band, they haven't been corroded by the industry quite so much yet. maybe they still have ideals. maybe they just appeal more to the new generation. metallica is an old fucking sellout loser parade. they have been losers for about the last 10 years or so. this is just the last nail in the coffin.

I voted.

[ Parent ]
Re: I think that its about time someone... (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by rusty on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 02:13:49 PM EST

Actually, while LB seems like a new band, its frontman Fred Durst practically *is* the rock music industry lately. He's a vice president at Interscope records, and generally what he says goes. They are most assuredly not a bunch of dumb kids, which makes this an even more interesting move for Fred and the band....

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: I think that its about time someone... (none / 0) (#12)
by theswindle on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 05:34:53 PM EST

Without getting myself in too deep a hole, I can speak as someone with more than a few "connections" to the inside of the beast that is the major labels in the US.

Durst is considered inside Interscope to be the brightest mind there, and his influence in the last few months has spread considerably amoung not only Interscope but sugar daddy Atlantic.

The really interesting rumours I hear are all the bad blood that's started forming in just the past few weeks inside Interscope, Atlantic, and all the other majors between those who want to tow the RIAA/Old Guard way, and those who see the kind of success Durst, LB and his associates are having in the face of record amounts of LB MP3's all over the place (do a search on Napster for LB and awe that at times almost a full 1-2 per CENT of the songs on Napsters list at any given moment are LB tracks).

Now I don't claim to know everything. I run a regional music video program and a website (theswindle.com). But I will say I've been getting gossip overload in the last few weeks. And methinks the party is just getting started.



[ Parent ]
Re: I think that its about time someone... (none / 0) (#13)
by pope nihil on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 06:13:38 PM EST

i just hope that they can convince more artists to get with the program. personally, i have bought quite a few cds because i enjoyed the mp3s so much. it would be great to see a major record label encouraging distribution through napster/gnutella. they don't even have to release an entire cd: maybe a track or two off of one or two cds. since i don't subscribe to pop music, i tend to want to listen to more than just "hit songs" from any given artist.

I voted.

[ Parent ]
Good points, but there comes a poin... (2.00 / 1) (#5)
by Ozymandias on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 12:06:43 PM EST

Ozymandias voted 1 on this story.

Good points, but there comes a point where it's break-even. If it becomes TOO easy to score high-quality tracks for free, then there's no pressure to buy music, and less incentive for artists to work. We all like and appreciate those artists that work solely for the chance to express themselves, but face it - money makes the world go 'round.
- Ozymandias

Re: Good points, but there comes a poin... (none / 0) (#24)
by cdegroot on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 04:49:34 AM EST

The business model is easy: CD tracks and websites are promotional material (maybe get some costs recovered by ads), you earn your money by doing gigs. Ok, so you won't get a multimillionaire with music, but I think that lots of bands can make a decent living of simple, plain, work. I'm quite sure that real artists will be more than happy with reaching that point.

There's no right to getting rich as a musician, you know. It's something from the last 40-or-so years. Mozart and Bach weren't rich, and they'll be played long after Metallica has been buried and forgotten...

[ Parent ]

David Bowie and Beck (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 02:33:21 PM EST

We all know that David Bowie has been online for quite some time... but recently Beck has emerged as a pro-internet musician.

In an article with Shift magazine, he states that if he was just starting out today, he'd forget about the record labels and hit the web with his material.

He also jokes that it's great that artists like him can release tracks on mp3.com under aliases so that people won't recognize them...

Makes me want to visit mp3.com a hell of a lot more, doesn't it?

-c.
www.clockworkdreams.com
chris AT clockworkdreams DOT com


Re: Some Artists "get it" When It Comes To The 'Ne (none / 0) (#14)
by najt on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 07:02:34 PM EST

I do not blame Metallica for going after Napster. I'm a big fan of theirs because of their music, not their actions in the legal world.

A while ago Metallica shut down a bunch of fan sites beacuse they had the name "Metallica" in their name and where making money (banner ads) with metallica's name. I think this was a right thing to do, beacuse if you are a fan you will run a site like intersandman.com.

Re: Some Artists "get it" When It Comes To The 'Ne (none / 0) (#15)
by fake on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 07:06:00 PM EST

It should be noted that the tour is free and therefore the accusation that this is simply a cheap way to recapture dollars doesn't work.

I don't believe that Limp Bizkit suddenly had an epiphany and will fight for internet distribution .. they're just doing what's cool right now. But hey, it's a free show for me .. can't complain.

fake
eyeP.net

I don't see the problem... (3.50 / 2) (#16)
by soulhuntre on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 08:35:43 PM EST

Opensource is a community that is defined by the power of the copyright. It is that power that defines & protects the work we do (GPL, LPL, BSD and so on).

If someone was to break the GPL, and use code in a proprietory way then start claiming how all information wants to be "free", would they be hero's? Nope.

But, it seems that when it suits the community (they can get something free) then we are happy to ignore copyrights when it doesn't suit us - and attack those who dare try and enforce their rights.

This community CANNOT have to both ways. Either we respect copyrights the way we expect ours to be respected, or we don't and accept that our own code is in jeapordy.

Ethical consistency is a useful thing :)

Ken



good point (none / 0) (#17)
by rusty on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 11:04:09 PM EST

That really is a good point. The Holy GPL is, of course, also a copyright. I really still haven't heard anyone make a good legal argument why musicians (and their Owners) shouldn't have every right to say no. I think that ultimately, it's a bad move on their part, but can we seriously condemn any musician for doing exactly what we all would if someone were to violate the GPL (*cough*Be*cough*)? I think they need to invent smarter licenses, though. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: good point (none / 0) (#19)
by captain larry on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 11:26:17 PM EST

If someone was to break the gpl, and use code in a proprietory way then start claiming how all information wants to be "free", would they be hero's? Nope.

But, it seems that when it suits the community (they can get something free) then we are happy to ignore copyrights when it doesn't suit us - and attack those who dare try and enforce their rights.

sorry, i keep hearing people make this analogy and it makes no sense to me, it doesn't compare apples to apples. if you wanted to take the analogy to it's proper conclusion you get this. the gpl prevents something which is effectively public domain (free to everyone) from being modified and removed from the public domain (made proprietry). everyone in the open source crowd would be happy to apply the gpl to music, we'll take it, and screw with it (sample it, remix it whatever), and the original author is free to take it back in it's modified form. that doesn't bother me, and i bet most others would be happy to abide by it. other public licenses (artistic and the bsd one) have basically no restrictions so your argument makes even less sense.

in the end the core of the matter is this. regardless of idealism information wants to be free, it *will* spread, and there is nothing they can do to stop it. whether this is good/bad/unfair/stupid ... it doesn't matter, it's too late. there is no way they can stop napster/gnutella/freenet so for their own good they need to stop crying over spilt milk and figure out how to make it work for them. in essence this is the same thing that happened to brick and mortar shops when online stores started, only istead of being unfair, it was a paradigm shift.

when i've listened to rms speak it seems to me that the core of his personal belief, and the part that no one quite 'gets' is that if all closed source software was removed, and everything became open source, business would continue as normal. companies would still sell their products and people would still buy them, but we would actually own what we bought, and would have rights to modify it to better suit our purposes (just like we can do to a car or a desk). i personally believe that this is true, and also believe that the same is true of the music industry. people aren't going to stop buying cd's and dvd's, they are convenient. now get on with it :-)
-- Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. - Pablo Picasso
[ Parent ]

Re: good point (none / 0) (#20)
by rusty on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 12:04:29 AM EST

Yes, you're right, and this is the long version of my final comment, that "they need smarter licenses." But the underlying structure that makes both of these legal entities tick is copyright law. Maybe theirs is wrong and yours is right (in fact, I think so) but be that as it may, both of them rely on the exact same legal framework to survive. So it is apples to apples, it's just shiny fresh apples to rotten wormy ones. If we attack or ignore the legal framework in one case, who are we to claim protection under that exact same legal system in the other?

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: good point (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by soulhuntre on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 12:54:49 AM EST

"other public licenses (artistic and the bsd one) have basically no restrictions so your argument makes even less sense."

The argument is simple... the Opensource community hinges on two things:

  1. That the copyright law allows you to restrict the usage of your works in complex ways
  2. That those restrictions should and do carry ethical and moral weight.

Thus, the Opensource community SHOULD back the rights of the artists to restrict the distribution of their data.

"in the end the core of the matter is this. regardless of idealism information wants to be free, it *will* spread, and there is nothing they can do to stop it. whether this is good/bad/unfair/stupid ... it doesn't matter, it's too late."

Then why aren't you advocating the release of all code undr a true public domain system? If you discussing the futility of the artists protection, where is the movement to discuss the futility of the GPL?

This inconsistency goes a long way to "proving" that the OSS movement is really jsut a banner for people who don't want to pay for anything claiming the protection of laws they are happy to ignore.

Ken



[ Parent ]
Re: good point (none / 0) (#23)
by captain larry on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 02:23:19 AM EST

Thus, the Opensource community SHOULD back the rights of the artists to restrict the distribution of their data.

why? the open source community not only allows others to use and distribute their software, but it allows others to bundle it up and sell it without them getting a cent for their time. the only restriction is the gpl which says you can do the above things, but you have to let me see and use your changes, ie. the information must continue to be free. i don't see that as doubletalk i see that as enforced honesty.

Then why aren't you advocating the release of all code undr a true public domain system? If you discussing the futility of the artists protection, where is the movement to discuss the futility of the GPL?

personally i do advocate the release of all code (and i kinda thought i had in the above article), if all code (or information in general) were forced to be released into the public domain it would make the bsd/artistic licenses obsolete, and since the gpl was basically created as a backlash *against* copyright law, it too would be mostly irrelevant. as for the gpl being futile, in my opinion it hasn't prooved futile and in fact has done a lot to free old, and force more new, software to be free.

This inconsistency goes a long way to "proving" that the OSS movement is really jsut a banner for people who don't want to pay for anything claiming the protection of laws they are happy to ignore.

i don' tthink that's true. it probably is for some people but there are plenty of open source advocates that are more then happy to pay for what they use. as for the developers themselves? the vast majority of them have never been paid, or certainly weren't paid when the started. they did the work out of love, peer admiration and curiosity. saying that they are motivated by greed seems silly.

now to bring this back to music. honestly i have very mixed feelings on the whole thing. i have a very strong, mostly gut, feeling that information should, and needs to, be free. however i also empathise with the people who pour their lives into their art, and can see how this would be enourmously threatening. i also think that the worst case senario is that a lot of artists would stop making art (cause they couldn't support themselves) and while that would be very sad, the death of the modern corperate music scene doesn't feel like a tragedy to me. i admit that it would hurt a lot of people that currently make their living that way (which would suck), but if music went back to being something people did out of love rather then money (and we never had to put up with another n'sync or backstreet boys) i'm not convinced i'd really be that sad. artists have produced art for thousands of years, it will still continue on without the corporations backing them.... certainly the art i produce is done for the enjoyment of the creation and the performance... though i also am a very well paid sysadmin who doesn't have wife and kids depending on me.
-- Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. - Pablo Picasso
[ Parent ]

Re: good point (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 02:04:55 AM EST

Musicians do have the legal right to say no, just like software companies have the right to produce closed-source software. Personally I think people should respect the original license, whether it is software or music. It would be nice if the programmers and musicians released it under a free license, but it will take a while for these industries to adapt. The Napster stuff is going to far though - software makers aren't suing FTP programs or search engines for piracy. They can sue the people who are actually violating their copyrights, but not the makers of the tools they use.

[ Parent ]
Re: good point (none / 0) (#25)
by otis wildflower on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 08:31:32 AM EST

I really still haven't heard anyone make a good legal argument why musicians (and their Owners) shouldn't have every right to say no.

You haven't heard it because there really isn't one. I tend to think of piracy as a form of civil disobedience, something you get when an oligopoly prices something at an unacceptable level. The point is, you can spend lots and lots of money on lawyers to prosecute infractions occurrence by occurrence, but in the end, what do you get? Bad PR and large legal bills. Wouldn't it have just been cheaper and better to provide the content for a reasonable price? It's a shame that Metallica and Dr. Dre don't seem to realize that all they're doing is putting money into their lawyer's pocket, at the expense of their fanbase, and getting very little in return..

More work needs to be done to find an equitable pricing structure for music and other media, and to reduce the middleman's take as much as possible. The internet tends to enable technology to dictate policy, and this is one of the biggies.

I don't personally pirate, more because it's too much of a PITA to find sites that aren't clogged or leech-resistant, but nowadays I don't buy much new music either unless it's used CDs or bargain-bin stuff. I went into Tower Records in Yonkers the other day and nearly passed out at the price of CDs.. $19 a pop! Haven't these guys heard of Amazon.com? Between that and having to stand in line behind 3 people, I just walked out without buying anything...
[root@usmc.mil /]# chmod a+x /bin/laden
[ Parent ]
Re: Some Artists "get it" When It Comes To The 'Ne (none / 0) (#18)
by krogoth on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 11:24:44 PM EST

I think that napster can help - i downloaded a few metallica songs and now i would buy S&M if i had the money, but they could lose a few sales to downloads. I found it pretty funny when Lars Ulrich said "It is therefore sickening to know that our art is being traded like a commodity rather than the art that it is." It's funny: he's sick of his selling his music, and yet he wants a lawsuit against napster?
--
"If you've never removed your pants and climbed into a tree to swear drunkenly at stuck-up rich kids, I highly recommend it."
:wq
Some Artists "get it" When It Comes To The 'Net | 25 comments (25 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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