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The Truth About File-Sharing 322

Posted by JonKatz
from the -not-thieves-but-consumers- dept.
A series of new studies of Napster users suggests everything you've been reading about music file-sharing systems is baloney. You're not thieves and pirates, it turns out, but marketing pioneers and music lovers quite willing to pay for music. These new stats suggest that file-sharing could have enormous implications for the selling of content, culture and information online, none grasped by dunder-headed corporations like the record labels. They are also a reminder not always to believe what you read. (Read more).

According to the January issue of American Demographics, a magazine which hardly supports radical copyright-infringers, music sites like Napster have created "powerful new opportunities for music marketeers." Despite the best efforts of the greedy record companies and a few recording stars -- Metallica and Dr. Dre come readily to mind -- to alienate a new generation of music lovers, recent figures prove that file-sharing services actually generate sales and put more money in artists' pockets.

This has enormous implications for those making movies, publishing books, or creating any kind of saleable entertainment. It suggests that the Net may work best as a three-step process: first connecting customers with culture, then generating interest in cultural and informational offerings, then keeping track of their tastes through sophisticated new digital marketing research. Theoretically, file-sharing approaches could go beyond shopping to stimulate interest in education, business, even politics, if the music experience is any indicator. And it sure ought to be.

The relationship between new decentralized software programs -- Napster, Freenet, Gnutella, P2P -- and such issues as copyright infringement, artists rights and conventional retailing is complicated. Legal, political, educational and other institutions haven't begun to sort through them. But clearly the music industry's panicky and greedy overreaction will prove one of the most dunder-headed, short-sighted responses in recent business history. The industry couldn't have been more off-base, dishonest or greedy.

Nearly 75 percent of college students have downloaded music from the Net, 58 percent of them using Napster, according to a recent study by Greenfield Online, a Connecticut research firm, and YouthStream Media Networks. Nearly two-thirds of the 1,135 college students surveyed say they download music as a way to sample music before buying it. The proliferation of online music is introducing consumes to artists they don't know, in almost precisely the same way department stores offer samples of food, perfume and other retail items. A survey by Yankelovich Partners for the Digital Media Association found that about half the music fans in the U.S. turn to look for artists they can't or don't hear in other venues, like radio. Nearly two-thirds of those who downloaded music from the Web say that their search ended in a music purchase. Music labels should have been donating money to Napster users, not threatening to sue them and chase the site off of college campuses.

And the much-libeled Napster users are dedicated music buyers, quick to reach for their wallets. Jupiter Research says it found that 45 per cent of online music fans are more likely to have increased their music purchases than online fans who don't use Napster. The Jupiter study of Napster users found that 71 percent of users say they're willing to pay to download an entire album.

Interestingly, reports American Demographics, the Jupiter Study of Napster users found that 71 percent of those who use the site said they were willing to pay to download an entire album. But in a Greenfield Online survey of 5,200 online music shoppers, nearly 70 per cent say that they have not paid -- and will not pay -- for digital music downloads. This suggests that subscription-based services may be more likely and successful than a per-song fee system.

This potentially revolutionary model for marketing culture is about to be dismantled by the new partnership between Napster and Bertelsmann, which is giving the file-sharing site more than $50 million to develop software that will charge users for music. Bertelsmann says it will keep a part of Napster "free," but watch for yourself to see how quickly it shrinks.

These figures, remarkably, demonstrate that almost every assumption about the free music movement, reported in most media outlets and used as justification for a wave of new legislation and legal action like the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, is dead wrong:

  • Most music downloaders aren't thieves or pirates but music lovers willing to pay for music.
  • Artists have made more money from this new generation of music lovers than they would have without them.
  • The true significance of file-sharing wasn't an end to intellectual property, but an exciting new way to develop markets.
  • Record companies and other corporations should be supporting file-sharing sites ratherthan hiring lobbyists and lawyers to intimidate, sue and enrage new and eager customers. College students have nearly universal access to broadband, and are tomorrow's mainstream consumers. The more information and culture they have access to, the likelier it is that they'll sample new venues, products and information.
  • Evidently, file-sharing isn't a dangerous menace but an effective new method of disseminating -- and selling -- content, and culture. Aside from these new findings, the Napster experience also suggests that when it comes to dealing with the Net, businesses often have no idea what's good for them.

And oh, yeah. Don't believe what you read about yourself.

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The Truth About File-Sharing

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    This might have some meaning in today'w world, where the most popular format has an inferior quality and the bandwidth is generally low, but what happens in a world of near-infinite bandwidth and perfect reproduction? Why bother buying any music if there is a cable into the back of your stereo that allows you to play any song anytime?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hi. I'd like to point out a feature of your post some may have missed: "increased record sales would tend to argue to the contrary." Information about you is anecdotal and irrelevent.

    Correlation does not imply causation. This study tried to prove causation, but without it as a valid statistical benchmark (debatable), your argument is bunk. All we have to support this claim are anecdotes, this dubious survey, and increased record sales without a clear explanation why.

    -z129
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "we're all pirate..."

    Speak for yourself, asswipe. I happen to use Napster a lot *and* buy an awful lot of CDs because of it. Just because you are a spineless, half-wit, cheapskate hypocrite doesn't mean we all are.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Record Labels dont want to change their distribution model. End of story. They will take anyone and everyone to court so they don't have to.

    Its an old business model, and no one in the Recording Industry can figure out a way to make MORE money than the current model.

    *cry*
  • by Anonymous Coward
    is the stock signing bonus for any band on a major label contract. After all, this is technically a loan from the Label Heads. What does it cover? Limo rides for the Million Dollar Producer to the studio to turn a few knobs and make bands sound good. It covers the first part of tour support for some acts (note: I said first part, of about 100 parts). It covers the pressings that will end up in the stores and all of the merch that's needed (posters, handbills, etc). The list goes on, and it's rather tiring.

    What does the band get out of $250,000? Well, some would say fame and fortune. Not true. After paying back a $250,000 loan from a recording contract, then and only then, if the band is smart, will they begin to actually make money. This is only after the supposed, or in many cases: hopeful success of the release. By the way, a band is most likely going to receive only about 8% of your $16 that you spent an the CD. The rest goes back to the GODS.

    Why are record companies and Some bands against file sharing. It's a direct middle finger to the entire empire that has been built about making money for themselves off of my art. I'll refer back to $250,000 one more time. What does each member receive for a paycheck out of that? Roughly $2000 (that's on a rough yearly salary). This depends of course on how many members are in the band. You think "Yeah right, these guys are signed, they're rich" Bullshit. Do you know how many nbands go broke in a year trying to pay that 1/4 $million back? It's a loan, not a gift.

    File Sharing undermines the ultimate goal of most record companies. It's allowing the bands to recognize a little success as an independent venture and not be a part of a conglomerate. As for the signed bands doing well? The ones who get pissed about open sharing of music files I refuse to listen to any more. They are in it for the money, not the music.

    I'm a devout sayer of free files for all. Listen to the stuff. If you like it and want to buy it to have for your very own, then I'll point you to where you can buy hard copies of it. It's simple. Bands like Metallica (have been listening to them since about 1985) I refuse to support any more. I have helped them get rich. Filthy rich. And they turn around and tell me to screw myself? No screw them, see if EVER buy another album ever again. Not to mention, their music really hasn't been any thing earth shattering in the last ten years any way. Thank You. Buh Bye.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    > What matters is that Napster has removed the artist's say in what happens to their music

    This would only be true if they actually had any say in what happens to 'their' music. Since in 99% of all cases they sign over all rights to a recording company, they have no say in what happens to their music anyway.
  • Does he insist on paying the distributor or the artist? If the latter, he could use fairtunes [fairtunes.com]. Doesn't act as a legal defense, but if it's Doing The Right Thing he's concerned about...
  • "- copyright exists to ensure musicians get paid."

    "This is a very common misconception, perhaps born of IP-industry disinformation and propoganda. But copyright -IP as a whole, actually- exists not for the benefit of the artist/inventor, but for the *benefit of society*."

    Actually, the statements that copyright exists to ensure that artists get paid and that copyright exists to benefit society are *both* true. By allowing artists to make a living from their music, artists have an incentive and opportunity to make more music, and the music is supposed to benefit society. It would be fairly accurate to say that the intended end of copyright is to benefit society, and the means to that end is providing a way for artists to get paid.
  • Instead of bashing Napster, Metallica should have been using it to market to the users. They could have emailed an offer to buy their CDs to every Napster user that downloads their music. I bet they could sell millions of CDs that way.

    Some people send instant messages to people that download from them advertising their product or service - I think it is a great way to advertise.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The technology culture of Columbine is media. The media culture of Columbine is technology and culture media media culture Columbine. Media. The culture of media and Columbine technology media media culture media. Media. Culture.
  • Let's skip the bit about giant corporations (how charming to define 'music' as 'that which is controlled by the giant corporations' and disenfranchise anyone else's music) and get to the meat of the question: where is the line drawn, _what_ exactly do they own?

    Do they own the physical media in the stores you haven't bought?
    Do they own the physical media after you've bought it?
    Do they own the 'recipe' for the music: publishing, music, lyrics, the same tune done by a different artist?
    Do they own that recipe if you cover the tune only to test out your recorder or something and don't try to distribute?
    Do they own the pattern of bits encoded in PCM 44.1K 16 bit encoding?
    Do they own the pattern of _sound_ as presented on CD?
    Do they own the pattern of sound in the event of your making crude copies (audiocassette, mp3) and selling them as bootlegs?
    Do they own the pattern of sound in the event of your making crude copies (audiocassette, mp3) and giving them to your Mom, or your friends?
    Do they own the pattern of sound in the event of your making crude copies (audiocassette, mp3) and giving them to strangers on request?
    Do they own the pattern of sound if you hum it walking down the street? Do they own the pattern of sound if you sing it at a Girl Scout campfire gathering? Do they own the pattern of sound if you hum it or sing it to yourself? Do they own your _thinking_ of the music to yourself and 'playing' it within the confines of your own head? (thinks of Metallica's 'Sad But True' by way of example. There- if you've heard it and remember it, I have just conspired to make _you_ think the song, without paying the record company >:) )

    Many of these situations have been tested in court and found to be fair use. If you side with the record companies unthinkingly, you're just stupid: they push the limits, that is what being a money-grubbing corporation is all about, and you cannot simply take their claims at face value. In the event that they manage to pass laws that forbid you thinking their music without paying per thought, I daresay just about anyone would see it as a moral obligation to resist the situation and deny them that 'right'. How is it so difficult to see that copying degraded versions of the music noncommercially without stealing one single CD of physical product off store shelves is equally a natural sort of fair use? Ask me whether shoplifting CDs is theft, you'll get a different answer. Ask me whether making bit for bit clones and SELLING THEM AS BOOTLEGS is piracy and you'll get no argument.

    However, if one person wants to borrow a cheap dub of some commercial music from someone else without money changing hands, it's none of the record companies' business- and if technology has moved music into the 'Star Trek Replicator' era where that person just goes 'poof' and another copy exists without depriving the original owner of his copy, well... that says very obvious things about scarcity and value, and we're seeing the results. You'll notice that the swappers are not GETTING physical media. You'll notice that physical media is not suffering financial losses- business is as good as ever!

    You're a fool to take the record industry lawyer side of things. Period. Because you're not making sensible arguments, you're making arguments based on ignoring economic and social realities. It's not a smart position to take.

  • Nice debating tactics, but a bit overblown.

    Wasn't it Hatch who made a point of formally stating that the Clinton administration's take on Napster (their very negative amicus brief) did NOT represent Congress's viewpoint?

    Call me what you like (I'm not primarily a computer geek- I'm a musician- and clearly oh such a criminal in putting my music out as mp3s) but I'm not impressed by your abuse, nor do I find it very persuasive. I think I know what fair use is better than you, regardless of whether you are a RIAA lawyer or usenet troll or whatever explanation you have for your oddly familiar, take-no-prisoners-concede-no-losses rhetoric.

    To put it simply, I see a qualitative difference in the new technology, very similar to 'Star Trek' concepts. People sometimes discuss what would happen to economics when 'replicators' are invented for physical objects. What does that do to the proposition of value? Well, in the music business we have exactly that: it's called digital copying, and we even have quick cheapo copies called mp3s that aren't as good as the real thing but even easier to copy and transmit.

    Like it or not (for you, I'd guess it's 'not'), this changes everything. I for one am not willing to stand in the path of progress: it is entirely obvious that this form of property is made absurd when you can download innumerable copies of the 'product' at no cost without depriving the original owner of their copy.

    Yet what is the product? You don't get the physical media- did you want that? How much will you pay? Your downloading a thing will not make it hit Top 40 radio- how much value is in that? Your downloading it doesn't necessarily mean you get to make the soundtrack of your film out of it and charge money to see it- that is a more traditional form of copyright, like repackaging, and there's an argument for controlling that, such as Lucas is making against Dr. Dre for ripping the THX sound and _using_ it to open his album.

    All these things are forms of value entirely independent from the proposition that music's value is derived from control of the sounds themselves. Anyone with _any_ experience in the business knows the sound is almost irrelevant- it hardly _matters_ what the sound is. The important thing in the business is distribution channels, the independent promotion network (not 'indie labels', the payola stuff for radio), doing tonnage on physical media and getting it to the stores and saturating media with your promotional message. Nothing done on Napster can affect this.

    How old are you, "FatHogByTheAss" (cute), and what are your credentials? Hell, never mind credentials: tell me three books on the music industry that you have read that qualify you to have even half a clue here. I will be happy to give you a list of titles if that will help. The problem here is that you're spazzing out with wild accusations in a very pedantic way and being no help at all with the very real problem of figuring out where the industry is heading- now that 'replicating' music is trivially easy and costless. That's a really big change! Sticking your head in the sand is a really stupid way to react to it.

    Me? I'm going off right now to upload still more music to besonic.com/chrisj [besonic.com]: latest album is fretless guitar Frippertronics ambient music with a very rich deep reverb sound probably beyond anything you'll ever hear off the major labels. Then I'm going to leave the files uploading, and go get the makings for tacos, and make myself a delicious taco dinner. I wish you a good dinner as well- if the acidic churnings of your worry-racked gut will allow it, what with all the criminals and all, who aren't even ashamed. I'm not worried though I am busy- I may never make money off my music directly (actually I've made hundreds of dollars, but you know what I mean), but I build equipment as well, and I have many people encouraging me to go into business with this. The technological changes that have radically altered the music business have evened the playing field for me as a designer- now I can encode mp3s with example sounds and put them up on my website, use my music as further demonstrations (like Tom Scholz did with the Rockman and the Boston albums), and appreciate REAL 'network marketing': not clowns trying to rope their friends into flogging cheap junk, but the ability to (through mp3, eBay, the net) promote stuff _purely_ by people discovering it on their own with no ad budget or spamming or mass media coverage, and (through UPS, the post office, etc) ship directly to customers without having to maintain brick and mortar storefronts.

    It's a pretty exciting time to be in this business.

    So, I have very little sympathy for your position. I hope _more_ people become 'thieves' by your definition. They are establishing habits of information exchange that will serve them well in future years, and will make for more of a free market, because the information they're exchanging and picking up is not centrally controlled anymore. This means it has the potential to build support for areas of the market that were being stifled- for instance, classical and jazz. I can't tell you whether this type of networking will lead to new genuine classical recordings being made with real orchestras- unlike chamber or jazz music, some classical costs a lot to produce. However, it's dying off anyhow because the controlled market doesn't have a place for it, so how could a digital underground hurt matters? In this area the situation for years has been 'we cannot get the labels to _put_ _out_ what we want. Plus they're destroying 10,000 irreplacable jazz and classical master tapes to make way for new Britney Spears'. I'm not making this up.

    To paraphrase Darwin (and you should be thinking about what the straight Darwinistic view of this Napster development would be), "I unhesitatingly affirm my preference for the thieves."

  • #1: money doesn't change hands. The law is based on theft being monetary loss, and/or the taking of tangible stuff. If you are so certain that depriving the record company of a _potential_ sale by costlessly duplicating a degenerate copy is a criminal act, shouldn't you be just as tough on other types of deprivation, such as bad PR? Here, have an opinion: "Metallica's new albums are not as good as the old ones and you should not buy the new ones". I have (possibly) deprived Metallica of a potential sale. Arrest me.

    #2: the artists making that 'more money' ARE THE FREAKING BIG-LABEL ARTISTS, thank you. What gives you the idea that they are not? Do you seriously think sales are hurting? You're wrong. In addition to that, the little indie acts are NOT making more money than they used to- they are just not having to SPEND as much for exposure.

    Take me for instance, I've made money off mp3s. I was at mp3.com until they did nasty things to my contract with a fork and I left. (Now I'm at besonic.com/chrisj [besonic.com], still doing noncommercial stuff with very commercial production and engineering.) I made hundreds of dollars which is chicken feed compared to the big label machinery- but unlike the days when I duplicated cassette tapes and printed up J-cards, this time I did not SPEND as much for that level of distribution! That is really the key. It's not even about raking in lots of money as an indie artist- never happened, never will.

    Indie is sort of a trial balloon for the REAL value of distributed music. The value of mass media marketing and fads and heavy brick and mortar distribution... is different. Hell, almost half of a CD's list price goes to independent promotion- you might know it as payola, and the record labels don't like being dependent on it one bit, but they tried to kill the independent promoter network in the 80s and totally failed. My chances of cracking that independent promoter network are approximately 2,000,000 percent less than nil, so no matter how much copying goes on, the big labels DO at least have an absolute lock on traditional media. I think they should be grateful for that instead of whining when alternate media turns up.

    Oh- and is anyone _ever_ going to do a little tiny bit of homework and clue that noncommercial copying and distribution was formally legalized under the Home Recording Act for the benefit of tape cassette users, and taxation put in place to compensate the RIAA directly? I'm sorry, but 'crime' is not 'that which I think is bad', 'crime' is what's spelled out in the law books, and our government SPECIFICALLY LEGALISED noncommercial copying and exchange when the Philips compact cassette became popular. I just wish, I really wish that people would confine their arguments to reality or stick to emotional squawks. Noncommercial copying and exchange is legal. Period. _Digital_ versions of that are subject to the DMCA and even that has fair use provisions- they just suck, and the guy who put through the DMCA, Orrin Hatch, is very unhappy with what's happened to fair use, and we haven't seen the end of this.

    But the bottom line is: crime is what the law says it is. _Morality_ is different, and you may feel it is immoral to copy major label music at no cost and take no money for exchanging it. However, your feelings are _your_ problem because the law does not support you.

  • You are a silly man (or perhaps a silly hog?)

    First of all, you yourself cite the bit of US Code that specifies purpose and character of the use is to be taken into account: the _first_ concern is whether the use is commercial. That means 'is the exchange being done for money, or for nothing?'. That is the _first_ concern: or if you like, loophole.

    More importantly, I can't help but think you intentionally ignore Sec. 1008 of title 17 (you're not the only non-lawyer computer dweeb that can use Google to look up genuine US Code to back his position):

    No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.

    I say Napster is distribution of a digital audio recording medium based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of that medium, and it's on you to explain away the law. Please explain how swapping music on Napster is a commercial act.

    I am aware that there are amicus briefs desperately trying to argue that mp3 is not a digital recording medium. I give in, I concede: mp3s are a cassette tape. No, wait, that too is protected! Let me rephrase that: mp3s are a ham sandwich. If you'd like to join me in insisting that mp3s are not a digital recording medium, but a ham sandwich, together we can explain away sec. 1008. On the other hand if you're not a gibbering psychotic you might be more inclined to take the natural view that mp3s are precisely a digital recording medium.

    Failing that you may wish to skip over this bit of the argument and lean on another poor bit of argument- that sec 1008 does not make infringing use into non-infringing use: it just permanently exempts that class of users from prosecution or harassment. Which would mean that although you may feel Napster users are thieves, all you _can_ do is taunt them about it, as you are barred from filing suit against them.

    Which is just what you're doing, isn't it? I'm glad we understand each other, and no wonder you're upset. Call me a thief some more, maybe it will soothe you despite being an entirely impotent act- and despite the fact that when I talk about putting mp3s on the web I'm talking about my freaking music [besonic.com], which does not even have samples in it.

    Honestly, I'd think you'd give up at some point. I can tell you why I don't: what happens to the concept of intellectual property in the music and entertainment industries is of direct interest to me. What's your excuse? Personally, I would like to see intellectual property abolished outright, and for the content creators to fall back on protection against simple fraud and loss of credit: rather than it being illegal to (costlessly, trivially) copy the actual content, it should simply be illegal to claim the content as your own, because that would constitute fraud. I daresay there is considerable justification for prohibiting dilution: I would consider it a violation for someone to take a musical piece of mine, overdub singing munchkins and use it in an advertisement, because that seriously dilutes the recognizability and integrity of my original piece. However, people swapping and checking out my stuff? Sure, not a problem. If there's a black market for people copying and _selling_ my stuff parallel to my own sales, that simply means I'm not competing effectively with their distribution channels.

    We can go on like this for weeks: why don't you just give up? You're not winning, you're just pounding the table and referring only to the parts of the US Code you like. That's dishonest. Not that I would expect someone siding noisily with the RIAA of _dishonesty_ :P

  • by Danse (1026)

    This is why we should be able to simply purchase songs individually, or have cds custom-burned for us by the record label, retailer, or whomever.

  • by Danse (1026)

    They have these stores called "Tower Records" (among others) where you can actually listen to the entire CD before you choose to buy it!

    Those stores are a pain in the ass. We have a few chains in town that do that. It sucks. Assuming you can actually find an employee to get off his ass and put a cd in the player for you to listen to, you also have to worry about whether they actually have what you're looking for, and God forbid you actually want to listen to several CDs. They'll be looking to throw you out of the store. Not the kind of experience I enjoy. I'll stick to Napster and the rest.

    If you don't think the 2 good songs on the CD are worth $15, you don't have to buy it!

    Exactly. I can just download the 2 songs I like. If the record companies think they can maximise their profits by marketing the hell out of a couple good songs and filling the rest of the album with crap, I'd like to encourage them to rethink this tactic. I really don't believe that downloading a copy of a couple songs that I like is any worse than paying lobbyists and buying off congresscritters to pass the legislation you want. In fact, I think I'm quite a bit higher on the ethics scale than they are.

  • by Danse (1026)

    Your argument is the intellectual equivalent of "I don't think that beach house in Malibu is worth $1 million and I don't want to pay that bastard that much money for it so I'll just squat there".

    And that argument is just silly since "intellectual property" is not at all the same as physical property. IP owners just like to portray it that way to dodge the real issues.

    Paying lobbyists off is scumbaggery but so is what you're doing.

    Maybe, but my scumbaggery is a result of their scumbaggery. Think of it as scumbaggery in self-defense. They have the money and power and are willing to use it unscroupulously to get money from me. I have my relative anonymity and the ability to get the music I want from them without paying their extortionist fees. They decided what the rules would be for this game. Anything goes.

  • It would be fairly accurate to say that the intended end of copyright is to benefit society, and the means to that end is providing a way for artists to get paid.

    Quote from the Constitution:

    "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;"

    Now musicians can't really do anything with the rights they are granted because distribution is tightly controlled by a few corporations. If they want to make any money, they have to sell the rights to a corporation that has the ability to distribute their work. These corporations all work together and all give similar terms that allow them to keep the vast majority of profits as well as ownership of the work. It's hard to decide whether to laugh or cry when these companies claim that they're defending the artists' ability to profit from their creation. Its their own profit that they're concerned with, since their profits greatly outweigh anything that the artist will ever see.

    Additionally, the original term of copyright was 14 years, and has been extended several times since its inception. This is mainly due to lobbying by the publishing industry. They pay a bunch of lobbyists and make large campaign contributions in order to get what they want from Congress. Now, there was originally a balance between the public and the artists. That balance has been thrown out of whack and now we have the publishers playing the artists against the public and vice versa while they rake in the vast majority of the profits.

    The original copyright term was reasonable. 14 years is a pretty fair amount of time to give someone a monopoly over a piece of information that they create. The government would enforce this monopoly for the term of the copyright and then it would be made freely available to all. This seems like an equitable way to ensure that people keep creating new things and that the public will have complete access to the artistic works and information. Now the balance has shifted, not towards the artist or the people, but on a completely different axis, towards the publishers and distributors (often one and the same). Copyrights now last for the life of the artist plus 70 years. If it's a corporate-created copyright, it lasts for 90 years. It was even extended retroactively, which makes absolutely NO sense given the intent of copyright. The public sees no benefit from copyright anymore. Nothing goes into the public domain anymore. Is it any wonder that people are rapidly losing respect for copyrighted works?

    What we need is a reform of copyright laws to bring back the balance. We need to drastically roll back the length of the copyright term. I believe we should restore it to the original 14 years. That's plenty of time for someone to make a profit if the work is good. We also need to either repeal or fix the DMCA. That law is terrible and definitely goes too far.

  • Fanzines, books, tshirts - this goes against the beliefs of bands that are trying to convince people that mass consumption of needless/useless items is bad.

    Obviously other people don't find these things needless/useless. Tshirts are great. You can wear them just like real clothes! If they have a nice picture or something on them, often band-related, all the better! What's useless about a tshirt? Should we all just wear white tshirts, khaki pants and sensible shoes? Fanzines are another issue. If people derive enjoyment from creating these things, well.. isn't that what life is about? Enjoying yourself and sharing with others? Fugazi seems to be going a tad overboard. Sure, perhaps these things aren't strictly "necessary," but I'm pretty sure I don't want to live in a world where all I can have are the necessities.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't like the environmental impacts of such consumption, but I think that can be addressed without actively prohibiting or even discouraging such consumption. Basically if you require that corporations not destroy the environment (or require that they repair any damage they cause or face severe penalties) costs of the merchandise will go up, and production and consumption will go down. The makers can still turn a profit, they just won't be producing or selling on such a large scale.

    Actually there's another scenario that would say that instead of production costs just rising, corporations would seek better ways of producing the product without harming the environment (and therefore incurring no cost to repair it, not facing penalties, and not having to reduce production). This could create more incentives for us to come up with better, more environmentally friendly ways of creating the products we want. These methods will probably be more expensive at first, but they always get much cheaper over time.

  • Why do you think it is illegal? The copyright laws aren't actually what the RIAA make them out to be. It's *very* possible that what you are doing actually falls under fair use.

    --

  • You're *definitely* not a thief. Copyright violation (if that even occured) is *NOT* theft, either morally or legally.

    --

  • by dentin (2175)
    I'm pretty close to being a college student, and I download tons of songs and burn mixes...

    But I gotta say, there are actually quite a few albums that contain all hit songs. I've found a number of them recently - vnv nation, in flames, dimmu borgir, children of bodom - and its the bands like that that napster helps me find. I've been so impressed by bands like this that I actually have paid full retail price for their work. Maybe you just aren't looking hard enough.

    I consider it survival of the fittest - those artists with only 2-3 good songs really -aren't- that good. 2-3 songs isn't good enough to justify buying the album. I expect more, and I expect better, especially if I'm going to be paying fifteen dollars per cd.

    I see a couple of possibilities for this - perhaps there will be differential pricing, where one hit wonder cds are much cheaper than truly good cds, or perhaps the music industry will be forced to focus more on talent than marketing. Either possibility would be an improvement, IMO.

    (As a side note, I have had quite a bit of difficulty actually purchasing cds and artwork from some of these bands. As most of them are not on major labels, availability is spotty at best. It does appear to be yet another price to pay for quality.)

    -dentin
  • My father who until about 6 months ago HATED computers uses Napster. But I did not tell him about it, he heard it on the news...I have talked to him about it and he said IF he could he would pay for the songs that he has downloaded...
  • Will you be at the book-signing I want to schedule for my streetside book vendor? We're selling photocopies of all your books now.
  • Napster is the greastest thing to happen to the music industry (and it is an industry not an art form) since recorded music. Since Napster I have purchased at least 2x as much product than before for the simple reason that I can now sample it and I now know WTF I'm getting for 17 bucks. Whereas before I probably wouldn't have purchased something word of mouth now I can pull a few tracks and decide.

    All this money-to-the-artist bullshit is a smoke screen. Artists don't get paid now and changing the distribtion scheme isn't going to change that fact.
  • Ok so the analogy is strained. But for the sake of abstract philosphical purity I guess we sometimes have to climb those mountains.

    You continue to miss the point. Consider it a loss leader. Consider it an incentive to buy. Consider that if I sample an mp3 I'm not bloody likely to listen to it in my car. No, to do that I have go buy a CD which would have never occured had I been unable to know what I was buying. This is not a complex abstract philosophical construct. It's a simple fact. Napster allows me to preview. Preview. Get it? W/o a preview my buying behavior is much more risk adverse. W/o a preview I simply buy less. LESS.

    W/O Napster I simply buy less. LESS. LESS. Not more. LESS.

    Now for the sake of purity you may wish to only benefit from FEWER pure dollars in lieu of a greater number of somehow corrupt tainted dollars but that's a matter between YOU and YOUR values.
  • The Underground Railroad for example. Ok by the letter of the law which says "if you do this, this and that then you are stealing" then you are stealing.

    But the structure of the industry which does not pay artists trumps that. The fact that the mechanism that distributes the product to the consumer this way or that way and costs less, marginally less or is free will not alter that one fact. If CD's were say $40 each would artists all be wealthy?

    Even the movies show coming attractions.
  • by garcia (6573)
    honestly, I know of just about NO college students that "try before they buy". We use Napster, download tons of songs and burn mixes. Everyone knows that there are very few albums that contain all hit songs...

    Take a look at a college student's playlist. That will tell you what they are doing, not what they are saying. Most of the people I know (and myself included) have many 2-3 songs from one artist in a collection of over 1000 mp3's. It's the variety and the fact that we don't have to buy a 1000 disc changer that you put on random to get the song selections you want.

    I have bought albums of only the bands I like and I don't need to worry about sampling them online illegally before I buy, they all support the free exchange of their live stuff. SCI, WSP, GD, Hookah, etc...

    Oh and how many people were "trying before they buy" when they were leeching Warez from their local BBS or FTP site?

    Just my worthless .02
  • As Oscar Wilde said, "I can resis anything but temptation" - if someone /can/ dup a work for a needy friend, they will, it makes the 'supplier' a real nice guy ("Hey, I didn't have enough to buy SO-n-So's latest, but Fred ripped me a copy on his new computer! Gee, Fred's a real great guy!"), nobody will find out, etc. So there MUST be some kind of technical barrier to easy copying, to at lease foil the casual PC pirate, even if the expurt can always break it. I'm sorry, but that's the way it's going to work. Trust you? In business, you trust nobody. In God we trust, all others pay cash.
  • It took a study from a think tank to figure that one out?

    Still, I'm thinking that this new information isn't going to make much difference in the way that the major music companies, and their pet pit bull -- the RIAA, deal with the phenomena? They (the major labels) have the expertise in PR that they can deploy to label file-sharing folk as criminals. How much media attention will be paid to this study? Just think of the potential royalties that could be going back to the musicians if the music labels weren't funding these smear campaigns? Hmm... perhaps emailing a copy of the report to your congressperson would help.

    \begin{aside}

    I picked up a copy of an audiophile magazine over the holidays and was quite disturbed that the audio electronics industry seems quite prepared to roll over to the wishes of the music distribution megacorporations by planning on incorporating whatever protection schemes they want imposed on consumers. While the magazine didn't tout it as some great new feature, the tone was that ``it's coming so you better be prepared''. What a way to ruin one's holiday cheer! I may be buying new equipment in the future but it looks like I'd better hang on to the old stuff; it may be the only way to playback my existing collection.

    \end{aside}


    --

  • Yes, I know about IRC. (In fact, I'm one of the founders of #mp3 on undernet...even even efnet for a shortwhile) However, the fact is that the average user can't obtain what they want through IRC. For one, even learning IRC has something of a learning curve for Joe Schmoe. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, getting the mp3s you want requires something of a social network (unless you're talking about one of those xdcc/cdcc type deals), which the average user lacks. In other words, there isn't a great deal of diversity of free music on IRC. The only way you get other music is by knowing the right people...

    Usenet is not all that different. Plus the campuses can block that quite easily.
  • Yes, that might be kind of interesting. But don't forget that there are other relatively easy to use methods of attaining mp3s that many people do use. Like simply, using SMB filesharing, or using one of the other zillion alternatives like iMesh.
  • To quote from above:

    • Jupiter Research says it found that 45 per cent of online music fans are more likely to have increased their music purchases than online fans who don't use Napster
    This may be a technicality here, but what does the research say about the 55 percent you didn't mention here. If 55 percent of online music fans are less likely to increase or more likely to decrease music purchases then this stat is deceptive.

    I'll give you the benefit of the doubt Katz, but if you're going to say "don't believe everything you read", you might want to make sure you back your arguments more thoroughly.

    ---

  • I download a ton of music using Napster, and I buy more CD's now than I ever did before. Primarily because I'm able to listen to entire albums of artists I never would have listened to before.

    Most of the time I'll download the whole album as MP3's, burn them to an audio CD and pop them in my changer in my car. The CD's I end up listening to the most are the ones I end up buying. I don't buy everything I download, but it's stuff that I wouldn't have purchased anyway.
  • Meanwhile 55% of online fans who used Napster decreased their purchases to zero?

    that's an absolutely terrible argument. too bad that the remaining 55 percent only stated that they haven't increased their music purchases. you used an extreme to prove your case, which is normally known as "propaganda".

    No, that was not an argument at all, which you would have realized if you had not chosen to ignore the question mark. Far from being propaganda, the simple questioning of omitted data points to a serious flaw in Jon's supporting data.

    They also said that they were willing to pay for a trip to Mars

    see, this argument is just sad. that's like saying "so what if people need food to live, they also like to download pics of Natalie Portman, so any data on their need for food is irrelevant." Existential reasoning is still existential.

    No, it is more like saying that people lie about what they are willing to pay for, as I specifically pointed out in my previous post.

    It means no such thing. It suggests that people want something for free and that they are quicker to lie about their willingness to pay than they are to produce their money.

    show us ONE case study that backs up that claim.

    Oh, I don't know. How about comparing two studies. One where a large percentage of people claim that they would be willing to pay for a good that they are getting from a contested system for free. The other study indicates that when it comes time to pay for what they have been getting for free, most people aren't willing to ante up the cash. Gee, maybe we could use the two studies that Jon quoted from.

    The rest of your post is pretty hysterical. you're trying to flame JonKatz by agreeing with everything he says, and putting a small amount of spin on it.

    The spin that I put on it was that Jon was aiming in the wrong direction. I disagree with Jon on two points. First, music execs are trying to protect their own turf which is not a silly thing to do and does not qualify them for titles such as "dunder-headed". Second people are not honorable and noble, willing to pay for something that they can get for free, regardless of the fact that it may be the "right thing".

    Jon likes to paint a romantic picture of the computer using public using an us-vs-them mentallity of the smart, noble geek against the dumb, greedy corporatist. Well, geeks aren't nearly as noble corporatist nearly as dumb as Jon tries to make out. What is so hysterical about that?

  • Katz "[..] Nearly 70 per cent say that they have not paid -- and will not pay -- for digital music downloads."

    Shotgun "It means no such thing. It suggests that people want something for free and that they are quicker to lie about their willingness to pay than they are to produce their money. "

    I disagree with your interpretation. An equally valid interpretation is that the current pay for download offerings suck, and that the wording of the survey question was bad. Ie the product is at the same or similar cost but with much greater hassle for an inferior product. My guess is that the individuals would have been willing to pay for download IF the above problems were addressed, but WILL NOT until they are addressed.

    LetterRip
  • here me out. i had a CD, cost $15, how much did it cost to product the CD etc? $2? intellectual property, $13?

    Fine!

    My CD breaks, I write the Company, my CD is broken, I have it already, I shouldn't pay two times for intellecutal property, I will pay $2 but not more than $3 for the CD. I will send the broken CD back as evidence.

    what? no no no! F the RIAA, I have more than 400 CDs, say at $10, that is already $4000. I bought my Fela Kuti CDs for $20 each with a CD containing only 2 tracks! Anyway, down with RIAA, up with mp3, Napster till the greediness is gone.

  • I was pretty excited reading the title of this story off of the main page of slashdot, but then I saw that Katz wrote it, and was about as moved as the RIAA's first biased survey. (Where they only surveyed students near record stores, and then passed the information off as average national consumer trend that all record sales dropped off at record stores)

    What I want to see is hard proof of Napster helping record sales. Not some fuzzy logic from some posters say..."uh, it must be true because I bought a cd yesterday". Not only that, but a lot of people mention an increase in non-mainstream artists. Myself included, I would never have found out names of various Punk & Blues bands if it hadn't been for Napster/newsgroups. However, the RIAA isn't interested in some mythical increase in fringe markets, they're interested in their money bands.

    Also, the big record companies might be making more money (in our minds) with this new, open, uncontrolled distribution method, but they're losing something important: A guaranteed stranglehold of their cash cow. Open it up to anyone else, and suddenly they have competition (which they probably don't know how to deal with since they've agreed to a cartel for so long)

    So either they continue to make a guaranteed 20 billion a year, or open it up to potential trillions a year? I don't know, but I see that the richer people get, the greedier they get.

    Personally I think they should be worried about their artists. And actually I think that is exactly what they're thinking about. Not if some kid spends his allowance on a CD, but that they control the upper-level big-name bands. If only there was an acceptable alternative to "making it big", we'd see more 'big name artists' move away from the big labels. As it is though...you see these nationally no-name bands who work hard for years and years, get a huge city/state following, then get blinded by the big $$$ and move to the dark side. (i'm not blaming them or anything). Unfortuantely mp3.com failed in that regard. I mean to get one 'big star' (if you call a.morrisette a star) they had to give them huge percentage of stock?

    (/RAMBLE)

    Rader

  • That's certainly an idea I'd support too. On a smaller scale, I saw it work succesfully 2 years ago when the IT department emailed everyone and said where to download the LOCAL version of the new Star Wars trailer. Probably same reason to promote LAN Quake2 games, large game Demo's, etc. Completely saved the WAN. Afterall, everyone wanted it.

    However, unless the school archives USENET for a period of time, I don't see how getting the new one-hit wonders would work. Most of the alt.bin.mp3 groups I atleast use are full albums. (great for me, just bad for them?)

    How long would a person have to wait to get that one song by that one guy in that new commercial on USENET, versus the almost the instant succes and gratification of Napster.

    Rader

  • The future will only make it easier for people unless something is done now to stop/hinder the current trend.

    I would have to agree with you...... and I would also have to say that this statement is total bullshit at the same time. The copying and distribution of copyrighted material is already illegal. The method in which movies and songs are being distributed should not be made illegal, as doing so only crops up a new way for people to do the same thing. The act of distributing the files should be illegal (as it already is...). The *only* thing that Napster distributes is the Napster software. They do not distribute music. Napster should not be held liable for the actions of its users, nor should it be considered the "new wave" of distribution. Had Napster not come around, somebody else would have found some other way to distribute what they wanted when they wanted. The MPAA and RIAA don't give a shit about anything except their pocketbooks. They are concerned about their monopoly powers and their pocketbooks. They know that they are not really losing money in the short run, or at least not much... They are worried about the freedom to screw both artists and consumers that they lose more of daily as more people use digital means of transmitting songs and movies.

  • It seems that if there is something that has not yet been tapped by some corporate source, and it is on the grassroots level (coders, geeks, and the like), then it must have some value in marketing. Since when has DCC and FTP been about marketing? Unless you consider 'selling' the 'name' of Razor1911 or Utopia being about marketing, never.

    So, all of a sudden, something that wasn't invented in the 70's and can have a keen acronym (Oooh, let's go from B2C and B2C to P2P!) becomes a new paradigm for marketing!

    It all reeks of greed to me.

    What about technology for technology's sake? Wait, that doesn't have a place in the Marketeer's Internet. What's happening is that the same Marketeers who wanted some bucks out of the startup phenomenon (invented by geeks) ended up creating the dotCrash. Sites that used to have pure information have become disgusting monstrosities with hot flashing animated java-enabled banners that auto reload the browser every 30 seconds.

    And now, the Marketeers have finally understood that their annoying auto-reload hot flashing java-enabled banner ads don't get clicked on. So, they want to have it so we'll either have to wait for the content we want (remember annoying shareware? 10 second countdown to click on 'OK' to get to the goods?), or it'll switch to banner ads every 30 seconds.

    If these Marketeers have their way, the Internet is going to turn into the big section of ads that gets thrown away with the Sunday paper.

    People want file sharing to get what they want now. They don't want to have to click through ads or go through the load 'Click on this ad, take the first letter of blah blah blah' to get pr0n or warez.

    Which, as an avid user of Napster in the past, it's exactly what it's like. Money isn't the issue. I want what I want now. I might share files, I might not. But I want this song now and I don't want to have to go to a store and get it, or go online and wait for it to be delivered. I want it now.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm still all for the chaos that ensues. It livens things up a little, and brings out the true nature of the parties involved (who would've guessed the MPAA, RIAA, Metallica, et al. were THAT greedy). The thing is, you try and take a transport method or abstract and tack on ads and sell things to people.

    Maybe it all isn't about buying. It isn't about the abstract method, either. It's about the information that gets passed over the method. I want the song. I want the warez. I want the pr0n. The method is ignored, and that is the way it should be. File sharing isn't a new thing. But Marketeers hear a buzzword and sell it to other Marketeers which are blindly driving the industry to Core Meltdown.

    I don't watch TV. Too many ads. I don't visit sites with plethoras of banner ads -- its disgusting. So much for Tom's Hardware, it used to be nice. Opera was very promising, and I was impressed at what it could do. Wait, version 5 has that nice ad. I understand that people need to make a living off of a webpage or off of a business, but I don't think ads are the answer. Ads end up turning people OFF of something, and people learn to tune them out. Isn't the whole point of advertising to turn people on to a product? And the whole product gets thrown away like the Sunday paper.

    I'm glad Marketeers can't understand the acronym that the tech savvy are best at home with: RFC. Else there would be space set aside for a hot flashing java-enabled ActiveX animated banner ad. And probably space for a 'You've got mail!' bit, as well.

    -----
  • >i would think that blocking netnews could be a pain. sure the local university servers might not carry the .binaries, but you can pay supernews 10$ a month for unlimited access. then it's just another tcp request which can be routed through proxies (proxies wouldnt be for joe schmoe).

    Just to play Devil's Advocate - although USENET is ill-suited to the transmission of large binaries, and although a full feed of .binaries.mp3 is probably around 100G per day...

    ...if I were a newsadmin on a college campus, it might be cheaper to eat the bandwidth costs of serving 100G per day once, to my news server, where the students could l33ch from it over the LAN, than have the same students independently downloading stuff over the WAN, whether it be USENET-via-Supernews or Napster.

    Naturally, if it's only a small percentage of the userbase, it's cheaper to let that population draw down only the portion of USENET they want over the WAN. But when it grows to a large enough segment of the userbase, it just might be cheaper (in terms of number-of-bits-sucked-through-the-big-pipe) to supply it locally.

  • >I'm not paying hard earned cash for something that goes bye-bye when my Western Digital decides to go head farming on the platters.

    The best reason of all why "copy-protected" MP3s will never sell.

    When you've got 13G of MP3s (as this poster has) at $1.00 a pop, buying a spare hard drive to back up one's collection (and stashing the spare drive in a safety-deposit-box offsite, in the event of fire/earthquake/etc) is a wise investment.

    Fortunately, there's not a damn thing RIAA and MPAA can do about my MP3 collection. They're files on hard drives. The operating system doesn't support any form of DRM, and as such, I'll always be able to back 'em up.

    The only thing I'd question from the poster:

    >if I am paying money, I want hard media.. (tape, CD, record) not bitstream

    Tapes are transitory. They'll sound like crap in 10-20 years as the magnetic flux slowly fades away, and/or as the tape itself changes chemically over the years. Vinyl will also degrade over repeated plays, even with spectacular care and expense paid in equipment. The CD (not the CD-R!) is probably the only "it'll last you a lifetime" medium out there.

    While MP3s on magnetic media (hard drives) are transitory, at least they can be perfectly replicated from one hard drive to another as part of an ongoing backup strategy. No can-do with tape or vinyl :-(

    (Of course, no can-do with MP3s if RIAA and MPAA have their way, but fsck them.)

  • >How likely is 'more likely' and what were the purchasing habits of these people before?

    Excellent point.

    "Uh, yeah, I'd have never bought a CD from these guyz I'd never heard of before, but now that I've got some MP3z of 'em, yeah, I might buy a CD from 'em. Of course, like, I've already got their entire fuxin' discography, so I prolly won't. I'd have bought their new release, but figured, fuggit, I can get it some other day. I mean, I got the whole new release in MP3 three weeks before the release actually came out anyways... but yeah, I'd have at least considered buying it if I didn't already have it, d00d"

    Well, technically this (hypothetical) user is "more likely" to buy the CD, aren't they?

  • From my experience here at college, those who have access to Napster are more likely of buying CD's. Of course the CD's they are buying are generally gold colored on one side and anywhere from a yellowish-green to a blue-green color on the other side and come in packs of 100.

    Actually, I do know a couple people who do use Napster to sample before they buy the actual CD. These are also generally the people who have REALLY expensive, very accurate sound systems who are music snobs. For the most part though, everyone makes their own, but we all know that.
  • stealing is defined in law, and involves loss of property, not loss of prospective property (I would have had XXXXX dollars if all these guys bought it instead of copied it). the correct term is piracy.

    //rdj
  • It astounds me how a forward-thinking crowd like slashdot can be so persistently retro when it comes to piracy issues.

    When the DeCSS furor was raging, I read many comments dismissing DeCSS as an enhancement to piracy, on the grounds that 1) it is possible to make physical copies regardless and 2) DVD movies are far too large to transfer over the Internet. Nowadays Katz and others rush to the defense of Napster/Gnutella by citing the increased CD purchases they generate.

    In both cases, it is only the stody old recording insdustries that seem to understand where technology is going!

    Sure, it is impractical to transfer 3Gigabits of film to your friend today, but with the spread of broadband and improvements in compression, in two years it will be conceivable, and in five practical or even common. Similarly, people may buy CD's today for their high quality and ubiquity of playback mechanisms, but MP3 won't last forever, and its successor will surely have higher fidelity and broader support.

    Maybe these technologies don't mean the (much deserved) death of the MPAA and RIAA today, but these industries didn't make it to where they are by only responding to immediate threats to their monopolies. They see where technology is heading, when remarkably the slashdot crowd doesn't seem to. And they're hedging their bets.

    Yes, they both suck, boo-yaa, etc. But they certainly seem to be several years ahead of the resistance on pure philosophical terms.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • 2 Questions.
    1. Where do I sign up?
    2. How much content am I required to generate per payment cycle in order to get my share?

    It seems like this model could reward people who produce very little content or content of very poor quality on an equal level as those who produce lots of content or content of an excellent quality. That doesn't seem right.

    Kintanon
  • Theft? You sucker, don't you know, all property is theft!

    So you have a problem with thieves, hey Hog boy? Well how about that there moron G. W. Bush, who just recently nakedly stole the U.S. Presidency?

    But he hasn't been convicted in a court of law! Instead the highest court has upheld his right to commit that particular larceny! etc., etc...

    OK, I see, you have a problem with thieves who get caught, is that it? Well, forty million or so Napster users haven't been caught yet, and so far as I am concerned, I hope they never do.

    The law just isn't half so clear as you claim. It never is. If in general laws were, in this fair land, my U.S.A., alone seven hundred thousand lawyers would be instantly out of jobs, which pray God in Heaven forbid. You know, you yourself talk like a lawyer: specifically, you make bullshit pronunciamenti with flawless self-assurance. That's not only en vogue but de rigueur in court. This here ain't a court though, this is instead the highly intellectual, syntactically sophisticated, logically rigorous /., where we civilized folk sneer as such pretension!

    Anyhow, laws don't mean a thing until they have been interpreted in court. Ain't that right? So legally, you can't be a thief until after a court of law has convicted you of thievery under a specific numbered statute. Who's been convicted? For sure, not I! Say now, you might be able legally float wild chartless allegations such as that during the course and flow of passionate jury-rendering argument in the special environment of the courtroom, but out here on the street, harsh unequivocal words like your

    ...You are a thief.

    are actionable. So y'all watch your dang tongue, lawyer-boy!

    Anyway. Fuck the big five record companies. Fuck them right up the ass with a red hot steel poker.

    In general, fuck capitalism. You know (or maybe you don't know, in which sad case I pity you for a lost fool) what capitalism claims in terms of moral duties: that I, as just another private individual sadly lacking a large surplus of cash lying around, that is to say, a workie, that I have no rights whatsoever - no right to eat nor to breathe nor to occupy any volume of space, not to live at all. Sans cash, go die - and pay for your interment, or face your estate being sued! At the same moment, and I'm supposed to take this rubbish seriously: here's yet another swollen jerk bearing before him as the escutcheon of his nobility, a lordly cash-wad - hey, look, look! all, kneel and scrape, saints be praised, it's one of the rich! - braying at the front of his procession, here's his high-browed publicist to lecture us over his sponsor's holy property rights, which that moneyswine himself bought from legislators and judges shamelessly unaverse to being bribed, and he lets me know in no uncertain terms that the foundation and entirety of the concept of right and wrong is indentically synonymous with paying a downright religious obeisance to those legal rights, down to the last jot and tittle of legislative detail.

    Now I don't know exactly what you mean by "justify," Sir Plato. I probably don't want to know; listening to these depressing circular arguments not only sets me off my dinner but conjures up ugly demons who chase me remorselessly all through the too few hours I sleep. But I got news for you, Hog boy. These are moral questions and I will listen to authorities but I will not yield authority, period. Surely not to that cynical joker Valenti, even unlikelier to IANAL on slashdot. Not even to a judgment at law. Suppose some begowned ass in a court somewhere, interpreting lobbyists's laws, pounds down his big wood hammer and intones, "You lose!" - not in the least would that ever induce me to believe that innocently to swap an mpg should be seen by the sane as the same as the foul sour sin of stealing.

    Mr. Hog, I know sin, and Napster is no sin.

    ...not in the least
    would that ever induce
    me to believe that
    innocently to swap
    an mpg
    should be seen
    by the sane
    as the same
    as the foul sour sin
    of stealing.

    What fun! Good night!

    Yours WD "happy new year!" K - WKiernan@concentric.net

  • I agree...I never seemed to listen to music very much and hardly spent much money on CDs until I went to college. Once I started downloading music for free and seeing what all was out there I got interested. It got me starting to listen to more music, buying CDs, and even got me listening to the radio more. Buying CDs and being forced to hear more radio ads has brought nothing but more money to these companies.

    FoonDog
  • Balderdash! You don't have to pay full price for a crappy CD. If you don't think the 2 good songs on the CD are worth $15, you don't have to buy it!

    Have you ever actually left your momma's basement and wandered out to the big blue room? They have these stores called "Tower Records" (among others) where you can actually listen to the entire CD before you choose to buy it! Last time I was there no one interrupted or bothered me and I could take exactly as long as I wanted to. And these stores existed well before Napster so don't pretend they're doing this to remove that argument.

  • Blame your stores. The stores I go to you don't need an employees help to listen to music.

    I said you didn't have to buy the CD in response to your statement that you had to pay $15 for a CD which only had 2 good songs on it. It's a simple principle: Does the cost justify the benefit to you? If it doesn't don't buy. Your argument is the intellectual equivalent of "I don't think that beach house in Malibu is worth $1 million and I don't want to pay that bastard that much money for it so I'll just squat there". When you grow up and go out into the wide world you will realize that many goods are priced beyond what they are worth to you. This is the point where you excercise your right to not buy.

    Who are you trying to fool anyway? It's very obvious that some people would only pay for a CD if it is cheaper than the effort it takes for them to copy the song. Paying lobbyists off is scumbaggery but so is what you're doing. It doesn't make you any less of a scumbag in my eyes that there are other people acting like scumbags too.

  • Did you know that Metallica's New Album [bbspot.com] is supposedly Napster-Proof?

    ----------------------------
  • by VAXman (96870)
    If 80% of the songs on a CD suck, then why should I have to pay full price?

    The same reason why you have to buy a full loaf of bread, even though you may only eat 4-5 pieces a week.

    In other words: you can only buy what someone is willing to sell you. The record companies are in charge. You're not.
  • Are you really new to the music industry? This is exactly how it has worked for the past 50 years. Britney Spears sells 12 million records, which goes into a pool, and pays for 1,000 other acts which were not popular enough to pay for themselves. Why is this better, and, moreover, why should the current system be replaced?
  • iggy pop gets as much of the pie as is determined by
    the percentage of downloads of his music.


    Wow you are clueless. So, if 12 million people download Britney Spears, and 5 people download Koshmi Arguituro, that Spears gets $12,000,000 and Arguituro gets $5 (proportionally correct).

    FYI, in the current system Spears gets approximately $500,000 (from record sales) and Arguituro gets approximately $50,000. This is because virtually all of the profits made from Spears are pumped into the 1000 unprofitable acts which went into the production of Spears.

    So in the system you are proposing, only the extremely dominant and successful players will get money. Moreover, they will become much more dominant than they are today.

    How is this better than the current system? Did you forget to think when you posted that or are you just generally clueless?
  • by VAXman (96870)
    I'm not going to stop satisfying my own needs just because some unethical law says I shouldn't. So if the record industry wants to get any of my money, they had better start bending to my specific needs as a consumer by providing a way for me to purchase only the individual songs I want, and to easily obtain legitimate copies of obscure material.

    Ironically, (as another poster pointed out), 5 of the 7 albums which sold 1,000,000 copies in their first week were released in the year 2000 (i.e., long after Napster became household technology). All of these were by artists who allegedly have one good song per album (Britney Spears, N*Sync, etc.)

    Clearly, the industry is enjoying monumental success -- indeed, their highest success ever -- even though they don't serve you as a customer.

    Do you feel expendable yet? The industry doesn't need you. By definition, there is no money to be made off of 'obscure material'. They do not need to cater to you at all, and can make much more money catering to their core audience.

    Do you see who's in charge now?
  • that I've heard for a long time....

    "They are also a reminder not always to believe what you read. (Read more).

    According to the January issue of American Demographics..."

  • This study does not measure what people do.

    It measures what they PURPORT they MIGHT do when questioned on their activities by an authority figure. (the researcher.) Anyone who knows anything about building social psychology studies would dismiss this out of hand.

    I will say this for the reference. My wife just finished taking Psychological Research Methods in college. This pointer should be a great one for her ex-TA to play "whats wrong with this study" with.
  • As someone was telling the record industry recently, "You have to make it easier to buy music than to steal it." The big advantage of Napster is that it's easier to use than CD purchasing, even ignoring the money issue.

    MP3.com is in the process of blowing this. Their site keeps trying to force users into using their player, so they can send ads at you. If you have JavaScript on, the site won't let you use, say, FreeAmp. (There's also the fact that most of the bands on MP3.com need to go back in the garage and stay there, but that's a separate problem.)

  • The war has already started. It's RIAA against everyone else. Look at RIAA's history, for these guys, everything is a holy war.

    Too bad it's really going to quash this segment for people like me who just download "replacement" songs. Some (most) of my CD's from college are pretty torn up and since I own the fucking things to begin with, I don't feel bad about downloading them again....
  • First of all, except for song hunting, it's really your computer's time you're using, not your own, unless you sit in your chair and stare mindlessly at progress bars for fun, in which case, buddy, your time is NOT more valuable than that.

    Claiming that "45 minutes of quality checking" is part of the recording process is like saying it takes 45 minutes to buy a CD because you have to test it for defects to see if you have to return it. In other words, you're going to be listening to the music you downloaded ANYWAY.. otherwise what the hell did you get it for?

    • Go do other things while downloading.
    • Go do other things while converting.
    • Go do other things while burning.
    To summarize, the only real work that requires you to actively participate is song hunting, which with a fast connection and a service like Napster, is practically nil.
  • Katz, nearly everyone else who posts to slashdot manages to include a link to whatever article they're talking about. Ok, you've got the paper copy and the website still only has December.... a point that a number of prople posting to this discussion seem to have missed when they write "go to the American Demographics site to find out". I went there poking around for a few minutes, only to discover this. I did find find this little gem [demographics.com] which says 59% don't think downloading music online (for free) is wrong, and another 11% thinks it's wrong, but they'll do it anyway. (12% don't have an opinion, leaving only 18% who wouldn't).

    So, I was gonna flame Katz for once again not being able to create a link, but this time it looks like the article in question just isn't on-line. Still, Katz ought to have mentioned that right after the link that leads only to their main website. I suppose he did say "January issue" and the site shows that it's giving you material from December.

  • Yes. For a more detailed analysis, see How The Internet Will Make The Record Labels Evaporate [std.com].
  • "Nearly two-thirds of the 1,135 college students surveyed say they download music as a way to sample music before buying it"

    And we all know that no college kid would EVER bullshit about something like that right? Right?

    Everybody I know who uses Napster uses it for one reason and one reason only: Free music. It is choose-you-own-programming-radio, plain and simple.

    I stop short of hyperbolic terms like "stealing", but Mr. Katz's argument ("Hey, we are just marketing your product to ourselves! By listening to your songs without paying for them, we will make you huge piles of money! In fact, you should probably be paying us!") is at least as silly and extreme as what the record executives are saying.

  • Okay, but picture this: I create a few songs. I join the pool, but I do not release a cd. I generate *NO* profit for the system, I just make music available for download through the system. If everyone downloads my digital music then I am theoretically entitled to a large portion of the money pool when I have contributed none through actual physical sales. Is there some aspect that I have missed to prevent this sort of situation?

    ---
  • and they're sticking to it.

    I certainly remember, in my college days, playing a little fast and loose with answers to those "What College Kids Think Abut XYZ" polls. The pollsters were just too easy to mess with!

    Still, the survey is probably more right than not.

  • honestly, I know of just about NO college students that "try before they buy". We use Napster, download tons of songs and burn mixes. Everyone knows that there are very few albums that contain all hit songs...


    Maybe it is the hit songs that muck up the stats. I suspect that if you are downloading solely boom-chick-a-boom tunes, that you are not a "music-lover", but a fashion fanatic.

    I have non-mainstream music tastes. When I started listening to downloaded music, I immediately found some stuff which I would not have otherwise given a chance in a music store. I have purchased at least 10 CDs in the past year which I only found through the 'Net (I typically only buy 2-3 CDs nowdays, since they stopped making music back in 1987... ;-)

    I wouldn't use a lack of purchasing of boom-boom music as being a good indicator of the overall purchasing power of people who want Good Music.

  • Jon... you're preaching to the choir here. We have been discussing and thinking about these issues for months now. What we need is a real and effective defense against the kind of corporate greed and power that you describe. I would suggest lobbying, but it can be prohibativly expensive. It sucks to keep rehashing this stuff every time a new "survey" comes out. I fail to see what legitemacy this study has over any other. This one just happens to contain exactly what we want to hear.
  • But how do you determine which musicians are allowed in the pool?

    Is anyone who can sing a note included? Or are only the top acts included? I wouldn't mind doing this for, say, classical musicians, or "non-mainstream" musicians. But I doubt you'll get The Backstreet Boys to share their millions with Yanni! The "Hollywood" aspect of many pop groups sell records. If you see Britney Spears in a skimpy outfit singing at the VMAs, you might go buy her record based on her image and not the quality of her music.

    I think I need to better educated on the details of a Musician's Association.
  • Let's see... Napster is not a 'site' it is software, it is also a protocol [see OpenNap].

    Otherwise though, the article is on target, if moderately redundent [the same basic arguement has appeaered repeatedly here on /., though never so well supported with honest to goodness statistics]. Hopefully, the industry at large will learn from these facts, rather than dying [though, honestly, their death would be of great use and joy to many]. I know many a former Metallica fan, as an example, who will never purchase anything attached to them ever again due to their heavy hande3d tactics. You'd think the powers that be would've learned, persecution only leads to the destruction of the persecutor.

    -={(Astynax)}=-
  • by Aix (218662)
    What it doesn't say is that if a student downloads a song to "sample and see if they like the album" and find that they only like a few songs, and not the whole album, they simply keep the good songs, trash the old songs, and continue to not by the albums.

    But if you pay $15 for a CD and expect to get 8 to 12 songs that you like to listen to, but only get 2 good songs, who is getting ripped off?

    If 80% of the songs on a CD suck, then why should I have to pay full price?

    Napster gives me an alternative to the record companies that want to pawn off bad music on me and make a quick buck after having released a band's one or two big hits on the radio. How many times do you like all the songs on a CD? Without music "piracy" would you ever have a chance to know what you were buying beforehand? At least at the car dealership I can test-drive. What if they said "Sorry, you can only try it out in reverse and third gear - you can't find out how it runs in the rest of the gears until after you buy it."

  • Yeah and most college students go to church every Sunday, never download porn, and begin studying for a test as soon as it's announced.

    I believe in general that file sharing is more helpful than harmful (and for lawsuits generally the opposite is true) but I'd rather see several months/years of demographic data about spending on CDs vs. other types of spending or entertainment, for the general population and/or college students, etc, percentages of people who say they use napster, etc. Until there is real data, both sides will just massage the data in these surveys to say anything they want!

  • first, its been commonplace for people to buy CDs, records, or tapes after hearing a song on the air. Nothing has changed since those days, the "evil record" companines haven't changed, albums were not magically better back then. Its always been known that you here the GOOD songs on radio, and you get to hear the other stuff when you buy the CD.

    However the car dealership analogy is just inane. You already have your test drive, its called RADIO. If you like the song enough buy the CD or CD Single (if you don't want the whole album). The point is that you cannot justify piracy by declaring you don't like the current system.

  • First, most of those stats are interview questions, and as we all know, so many people are not honest on these questions..remember those elementary school sex and drug tests...Aside from that, does this really chnage anything?

    I have been and always will be a fan of online music and entertainment, but I still believe it is the artists/recording companies right and choice as to wether they choose to have their product shared online. If they choose not to benefit from person x's dollar by not allowing previews, then that is their bad business move. But I've got at least 2 gigs of "sampled mp3s"

    And if the artist/record company refuses to allow sharing, then what you are doing is STEALING. Yes, it is stealing. Let me go out and steal 50 cars, and maybe I'll buy one Kia or maybe I'll influence 10 people to buy a car of a type that I stole. That's not stealing, its encouraging me to buy cars. Come on...this stretch to justify getting stuff for free is ridiculous. Its theft no matter which way you play it. I guess I steal...oooohh...and I break the speed limit too, no...I'm encouraging productivity.

    Basically, it is stealing. We are presented with a product that we want, but do not want to buy in the legally presented means. So we take it anyways, and maybe we'll but it.

    Where do I want to see the industry go: I want to go to HMV or online and buy a CD full of MP3s for a decent price. That will take time, but its all good.

    Just as a final note to all those who claim that record companies screw artists: Record Companies make artists...a lot of them and deserve the proportion they get. Oh yeah, backstreet boys got their on talent and brotherly love alone. Those artists that think they have talent can take their stuff to the street and hope people buy it.
    Also, with respect to "intellectual property," the artists/record companies creation is theirs, and they allow you to entertain yourself with it. It is not your right (so many rights, so many conflicts). I believe you have a right to a technology, not an application of it.
  • SNIP>>----
    Sent: 11 December 2000
    From: Bill Fuckin' Gates
    To: Larry Ellison
    Subject: napster-like file sharing corporate collaboration


    Dear Larry,

    Will you please share your UNIX password files with me?

    Love,
    Bill

    ----<<SNIP
    SNIP>>----

    Received: 12 December 2000
    From: Larry Ellison
    To: Bill Fuckin' Gates
    Subject: Re: napster-like file sharing corporate collaboration


    Dear Bill,

    No, fooly.

    Larry X. Ellison
    Oracle Supreme Supervillain

    ----<<SNIP


    See you in hell,
    Bill Fuckin' Gates®.
  • It seems to me that the statistics regarding Napster users at present may be skewed. See, the people who use Napster at the moment are the moneyed 'techno-elite' - the only people I know who use Napster work at my firm in the IT department, all my friends. But most people I know who aren't wealthy and who don't have an interest in computers have never even heard of Napster!

    What I am trying to say, in my incompetant way (!), is that these figures do not mean that Napster is an assured business model for the future, as far as the Music Industries are concerned, I mean. When Joe & Jane Bloggs have heard of it, and start to use it, the statistics may well change significantly!

    All I am trying to say is that they are being to optomistic.

  • Ok, I admit it's a little inflamatory. However, ...

    Nearly two-thirds of the 1,135 college students surveyed say they download music as a way to sample music before buying it.


    Nearly two-thirds of those who downloaded music from the Web say that their search ended in a music purchase.


    Interestingly, reports American Demographics, the Jupiter Study of Napster users found that 71 percent of those who use the site said they were willing to pay to download an entire album.


    Most of these are pretty old (if I recall correctly), but these are all merely claims. Some might be lies. Some might be wishful thinking. Others may simply forget to pay. All certainly value napster and don't want to see if regulated out of existence...so we can assume that they'd want to defend it. Put simply, you can't simply trust this data alone as the last word.

    Jupiter Research says it found that 45 per cent of online music fans are more likely to have increased their music purchases than online fans who don't use Napster.
    This is the only potentially worthwhile piece of information, but I'd want more information before I really swallow it whole. I question how the data was gatheredm, in what context, and I question what it really means. For instance, if the general trend due to economic up turn is an increased purchasing of music, it would make sense for music fans (which tend to be napster users) to increase their music purchases more than non-napster users--even if their purchases are actually LESS due to the demand that napster sates. Furthermore, this does not address the question of what will happen once (or if) napster and clones become efficient at finding flawless copies of music, or once mp3 players become cheap and improve in quality.

    But in a Greenfield Online survey of 5,200 online music shoppers, nearly 70 per cent say that they have not paid -- and will not pay -- for digital music downloads. This suggests that subscription-based services may be more likely and successful than a per-song fee system.

    This potentially revolutionary model for marketing culture is about to be dismantled by the new partnership between Napster and Bertelsmann, which is giving the file-sharing site more than $50 million to develop software that will charge users for music. Bertelsmann says it will keep a part of Napster "free," but watch for yourself to see how quickly it shrinks.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this first bit of data, that 70% of shoppers have not, and will not, pay for online music terribly relevant to what Bertelsmann is doing? Katz seems to say that people are only willing to pay for a subscription service, yet any attempt to push for such a thing by the industry is met with extreme hostility.

    Anyways, I have my doubts from my own experience with mp3s and with others I know. I've simply seen and known far too many people that have reduced or stopped purchasing CDs entirely due to Napster. Others I know would stop, if they could afford a decent mp3 player, or had a faster connection, or knew how to use these services better, etc.

  • by sargon (14799) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @08:31AM (#1416374)
    I disagree; I think the RIAA is concerned about both. The RIAA is built on greed, power, and paranoia. It will fight to the bitter end to maintain its distribution power and maintain glowing sales figures. It will question the results of these surveys just as Slashdotters have, it will come to a similar conclusion, and it will then use that conclusion to justify its own war against Napster and Napster's offspring.

    I wouldn't be surprised to find that RIAA people read Slashdot in their efforts to come up with ideas to use in its fight. It makes sense: Slashdotters, as a whole, are more insightful than RIAA people. Slashdotters have a clue; the same can't be said of the RIAA, which continues to wear blinders and refuses to come up better ideas for the future.

    Unfortunately, the same can be said of many other industries today. Take the telecom industry, for example....

  • by brad.hill (21936) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @08:07AM (#1416375)
    For now, we buy music on CD that we found on Napster. This is because the CD is a much more convenient format for most of us. We have CD players in our cars, in our homes, as walkman style devices, our friends have CD players, and we can physically take the disks with us easily to transfer from player to player.

    In a few years, when digital audio players (MP3 or ogg or whatever) are completely ubiquitious and all connected to the network, I don't think many of us will still be buying CDs.

    That's what the record companies are afraid of. The lifespan of CDs as the most convenient form for music storage is limited. It's already over for the hardest of the hard core geeks.

    While this observation is legit, and should strike terror into the RIAA's heart, it should also be a lesson in how to combat it. Convenience is king and their cludgy protection schemes that make it a pain in the ass for customers to access their music JUST WON'T WORK. They need to make it easy. People love easy, people will pay for easy.

  • by Shotgun (30919) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @08:34AM (#1416376)
    You're point that the execs are dunderheads for their stance is misguided because you refuse to see where they are standing. You cannot defeat an enemy until you understand what they are fighting.

    Nearly two-thirds of the 1,135 college students surveyed say they download music as a way to sample music before buying it. The proliferation of online music is introducing consumes to artists they don't know, in almost precisely the same way department stores offer samples of food, perfume and other retail items. A survey by Yankelovich Partners for the Digital Media Association found that about half the music fans in the U.S. turn to look for artists they can't or don't hear in other venues, like radio. Nearly two-thirds of those who downloaded music from the Web say that their search ended in a music purchase. Music labels should have been donating money to Napster users, not threatening to sue them and chase the site off of college campuses.

    Here you display your complete lack of the concept of how the big industry music moguls use the limited market for gain. They do not see expanded consumer choice as a way to make money, they see it as a burden of expanded inventory maintainance. Their ideal world would consist of a populace that had exactly one CD to choose from. This would give them only one title and artist to maintain and promote. For the execs more consumer choice only adds up to more discount bin titles as the fads come and go. Their goal is to limit choice to a few 'superstars' (ie, overpromoted mediocre artist).

    And the much-libeled Napster users are dedicated music buyers, quick to reach for their wallets. Jupiter Research says it found that 45 per cent of online music fans are more likely to have increased their music purchases than online fans who don't use Napster.

    Meanwhile 55% of online fans who used Napster decreased their purchases to zero?

    The Jupiter study of Napster users found that 71 percent of users say they're willing to pay to download an entire album.

    They also said that they were willing to pay for a trip to Mars; however, none showed the color of their money. My point is that a survey of what people claim they are willing to do is completely meaningless and no marketing exec worth his salt pays any attention to such surveys.

    Interestingly, reports American Demographics, the Jupiter Study of Napster users found that 71 percent of those who use the site said they were willing to pay to download an entire album. But in a Greenfield Online survey of 5,200 online music shoppers, nearly 70 per cent say that they have not paid -- and will not pay -- for digital music downloads.

    And there is the real proof. People will say that they will pay, but when it comes to actually putting the cash on the table...

    This suggests that subscription-based services may be more likely and successful than a per-song fee system.

    It means no such thing. It suggests that people want something for free and that they are quicker to lie about their willingness to pay than they are to produce their money.

    Face it, Jon, et. al. The music industry execs have had a nice ride over the last few decades. New technologies have a habit of disrupting the ride, causing them to spill their champagne. While the new technologies often enable huge new markets, they very often cause a depression in existing markets. Someone makes it big in the new market, but that someone isn't necessarily the same people who are big in the market that is being disrupted.

    New media provides people with the ability to communicate one-to-one the world over. Music execs are distributors who control the one-to-many communication pipelines. Their job is to control who talks to who. Change the pipleline and you change the job that they know and the medium they are able to manipulate. The Net not only changes but removes the exclusivity of the one-to-many pipeline altogether, leaving the execs out in the cold. We know that, and they know that, so cut the bullshit about how they should accept the changes with open arms. They would be fools to do so.

    The music industry is on shaky ground that will quickly disappear into an ocean of one-to-one communciation. I won't be throwing out a life-preserver, but I also won't be claiming that they aren't drowning. (Sink, you bastards, SINK!!)

  • by TurboJustin (34296) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @08:40AM (#1416377) Homepage
    What you (and most others on this post) don't seem to understand is that this is *already* how it works. The Backstreet boys share their revenue with Yanni, and Yanni shares his pitiful revenue with Britney Spears. Organizations such as ASCAP and BMI control distribution of royalties for music, whether you buy a CD or hear it on the radio or see a video on TV. Radio stations, clubs, MTV, etc.. all pay a blanket amount to ASCAP and BMI (both, regardless of whose music they play more of) and it is "fairly" distributed among the artists based on who is at the top of the charts this month. If you're very small, and only have a couple of published songs that noone ever plays, you may get specific payments (i.e. my dad had a song that was played at the '86 (?) olympics in LA, and he got a small check for it). This makes a lot of sense for handling digital distribution, because it's about as arbitrary as a jukebox or radio station might be.. keep stats on which songs are downloaded most and pay those artists.. bah-da-bing, bah-da-boom :)
  • by johnrpenner (40054) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @09:42AM (#1416378) Homepage

    > Okay, but picture this: I create a few songs. I join the pool, but I do
    > not release a cd. I generate *NO* profit for the system, I just make music
    > available for download through the system. If everyone downloads my
    > digital music then I am theoretically entitled to a large portion of the
    > money pool when I have contributed none through actual physical sales. Is
    > there some aspect that I have missed to prevent this sort of situation?

    yes - any distributor out there that wants to can take a copy
    of your music. make up some posters, CDs, some fancy packaging
    that will make it appeal as a product to your fans.

    THEN -- every time they sell a CD (with your, and other stuff on it),
    they pay back a percentage into the musician's pool. that musicians
    pool sends micropayments into your bank account based on how many
    people downloaded your song for free.

    the following has to be worked out by those involved - change it
    as necessary -- but the basic idea is this: by having your song downloaded
    for free, you would have to register an email address -- a place to make
    micropayments to -- such that any downloads made in your name get registered
    into the 'payment pie' -- which is determined by the number of 'napster'
    downloads (doesn't really matter if its napster or something else - that
    can be any download service that is willing to participate in this).

  • by FeeDBaCK (42286) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @10:39AM (#1416379) Homepage
    However the car dealership analogy is just inane. You already have your test drive, its called RADIO.

    RIIGHT... So you are telling me that I am going to hear songs from independant artist on the radio. I live in a very religious part of the USA. Here, music is only played on the radio if the "moral majority" approves of it. You can guess what the radio is like here. As a result of this, I am not exposed to *any* music that I deem worth *my* dollar on the radio.


    I personally think that the ability to test drive a CD is would be a great thing. Maybe somebody should start up a music store with this idea in mind.

    There is a store here in town that does exactly this. They have a system which uses 320kbps mp3 files and headphones to allow you to listen to any song on any CD in the store. They even have the music sorted by ID3 tag, so it is easily searchable. Needless to say, this store is the *only* place I go to buy a CD. They also play random songs from the mp3 archive in the store, with a scrolling screen to show the Artist's name, CD title, song title, and track number. I have actually purchased quite a few CDs just because I heard a song from it played in the store.

  • by ktakki (64573) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @10:02AM (#1416380) Homepage Journal

    What you (and most others on this post) don't seem to understand is that this is *already* how it works. The Backstreet boys share their revenue with Yanni, and Yanni shares his pitiful revenue with Britney Spears. Organizations such as ASCAP and BMI control distribution of royalties for music, whether you buy a CD or hear it on the radio or see a video on TV. Radio stations, clubs, MTV, etc.. all pay a blanket amount to ASCAP and BMI (both, regardless of whose music they play more of) and it is "fairly" distributed among the artists based on who is at the top of the charts this month.


    Nope. Britney and the Backdoor Boys don't see a penny from BMI or ASCAP unless they have a writing credit. Mike Martin gets the performance royalties for these artists (as writer and producer for these two "acts").

    If someone covers a Britney or Backdoor song (gag!), Mike Martin still gets the dosh.

    What artists get are mechanical royalties, based on the number of shiny little discs sold (it was 37 1/2 cents/side IIRC), along with a percentage of sales from the record company.

    Calling all Karma Whores: will someone please post the links for "Courtney Does the Math" and the Steve Albini rant that's based on?

    k.
    --
    "In spite of everything, I still believe that people
    are really good at heart." - Anne Frank
  • by Dervak (94063) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @10:26AM (#1416381)

    we're all pirates and doing fairly illegal stuff

    Dont you presume to speak for me. Im not a pirate. I have never attacked any shipping. However, I do perform unauthorized copying from time to time. And I dont like Newspeak.

    not to say that the RIAA is doing stuff fairly, but they are doing it legally.

    So what? Until the 1860s it was perfectly legal to own slaves in many American states. Legal!=Right and Illegal!=Wrong.

    i'll admit. i've bought 1 new cd in the part 5 months, while i've burned 200 high quality cds from mp3's with a bitrate for 192 or higher that I downloaded from Napster. I download the mp3s, burn the full cd's, then delete the mp3s to make room for more. I use amazon's recommendation system to pick out which cd I want next based on whether I like the one I just downloaded or not.

    Cool for you. But if you truly like some of that music, you really should think about supporting that artist, no?

    Don't tell me what we're doing is legal. It isn't, and shouldn't be. But I do it anyway because I love music but detest paying $18/cd

    Has anyone else noticed this? Every time this subject is discussed on /. the people, who by their own admission copy a lot and never buy the CD, are people who readily say what they are doing is wrong and use the loathsome word "pirating"?

    Have you no honor? Im not saying youll have to agree with all laws, or obey them for that matter if you disagree, but you should at least be man or woman enough to follow your own convictions. If you, as you say, think unauthorized copying is wrong, dont do it then. Pay those $18 or go without. At the very least, dont be a hypocrite!

    Personally, I think it is an unalienable Right of any man, woman and child to copy any and all released information without any restriction. On the other hand, it is also our solemn Duty to support the artists that we like. I follow my ethics - I copy, and I support.

    /Dervak

  • by tensionboy (115662) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @08:03AM (#1416382)
    recorded music purchases from students at college campuses that have banned "napster" programs vs. recorded music purchases from students at colleges that haven't banned it.
  • In the history of music sales, before Jan 1, 2000, only two albums ever sold 1 million or more copies in their first week of sales. In the year 2000 alone, five albums sold 1 million plus in their first week. It makes me wonder if stockholders should start the class action lawsuits; properly embracing online sales would definately 'enhance shareholder value.' Crushing it, though, probably hurts the bottom line, in so many ways.
  • by Flat5 (207129) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @08:19AM (#1416384)
    When will people understand that it doesn't matter if Napster users are all angels (and they're not, btw). It doesn't matter if they go out and buy 20 albums for every song they download. It doesn't matter if Napster generates more revenue. It doesn't matter if Napster is their biggest break since the microphone.

    What matters is that Napster has removed the artist's say in what happens to their music. If artists want to be stubborn and miss this "great opportunity," that's their right, and it ought to be respected. Pretty simple.

    Flat
  • by Phaid (938) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @07:51AM (#1416385) Homepage
    Big Media has always been quick to shoot itself in the foot. They also said that the VCR would be the end of the film industry. Today's statistics don't quite agree with that viewpoint.

    Just because a medium can be used to copy their product, doesn't mean it won't also increase their sales to the point that the lost revenue due to copying is offset a hundred times by the gains in sales.

    What's it matter if two people run around with bootlegged copies of oh say a Lard album, when twenty people downloaded "The Power of Lard!", liked it, then ran over to Alternative Tentacles' website or Amazon.com and ordered their CD?

    Thieves! Thieves and Liars! Hypocrites and Bastards!
  • by Danse (1026) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @11:58AM (#1416386)

    Calling all Karma Whores: will someone please post the links for "Courtney Does the Math" and the Steve Albini rant that's based on?

    Here ya go:

    Steve Albini's rant [negativland.com]

    Courtney Love Does the Math [salon.com]

  • by tomcrooze (33802) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @07:56AM (#1416387) Homepage
    This survey was of college students! If you survey them, how many of these students would really say "oh, of course, I bought the music after I downloaded it"? Slim to none. None if they have a CD-writer. There simply is no way that this survey was accurate. Go to American Demographics [demographics.com] to find out yourself.

    And oh, yeah. Don't believe what you read about yourself.

    *feeling pretty stupid*
    Isn't this reserved for April Fool's?

  • by kootch (81702) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @08:09AM (#1416388) Homepage
    we're all pirates and doing fairly illegal stuff

    not to say that the RIAA is doing stuff fairly, but they are doing it legally.

    i'll admit. i've bought 1 new cd in the part 5 months, while i've burned 200 high quality cds from mp3's with a bitrate for 192 or higher that I downloaded from Napster. I download the mp3s, burn the full cd's, then delete the mp3s to make room for more. I use amazon's recommendation system to pick out which cd I want next based on whether I like the one I just downloaded or not.

    I bought that 1 cd because I couldn't find it on napster and I had $10 off at BN.com while I was buying books.

    Don't tell me what we're doing is legal. It isn't, and shouldn't be. But I do it anyway because I love music but detest paying $18/cd
  • by SuperguyA1 (90398) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @07:56AM (#1416389) Homepage
    I believe that the recording industry isn't woried about losing record sales, they're woried about losing their monopoly on distribution. A monopoly is much more valuable than the actual CD's.
  • by VAXman (96870) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @11:44AM (#1416390)
    Since that has happened I have not bought one new CD(thats about 1 year now). I dont want to buy a whole CD for one song, I want to Download other Songs by an artist and hear the Songs in FULL before I waste $12-$16 on a CD that cost MAYBE $5 to make.

    Your first step is to listen to something else besides Top 40 pop music (the only kind of music which has one good song per album).
  • by bobbv (162542) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @09:56AM (#1416391)
    Big Media has always been quick to shoot itself in the foot. They also said that the VCR would be the end of the film industry. Today's statistics don't quite agree with that viewpoint.

    When I was in college in the late 80s, I was in a nonprofit student film cooperative. VCRs may not have affected the big Hollywood film industry, but it definitely affected the independent film distribution world. Whereas in 1986 we could show a different film every night and make money, by 1990 we were down to one film per week. That was completely because VCRs had gotten cheap enough that college students could afford them. And we weren't the only ones. The independent "art" film theaters in town suffered, too. One of the three closed (it's reopened since, but only because Urban Outfitters rents the space where the two large street-level screens used to be) and another switched formats several times before closing a couple of years ago. My film coop closed in 1996 after struggling and loosing money for most of the 90s.

    I'm not saying that VCRs are evil or that the film industry was right in fearing them--I agree that technological change should not be resisted, but adjusted to--just that the transition to VCRs was not completely smooth or "victimless."

    (And, tangentially, it wasn't just the coops and movie theaters that suffered. Many of the movies we showed were not--and are not--available on tape. We often rented prints directly from the filmmakers, so when we went under, so did a source of independent film income.)

  • by SomeOtherGuy (179082) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @11:34AM (#1416392) Journal
    Ok. This guy has a point. And I did try this out the other day:
    A - Find a CD I want.
    B - Hunt Napster for songs from that CD.
    C - Attempt to download said songs (preferablly from people with connections faster than my 300bps BBS days).
    D - After finally putting together the whole album..(A task I can only compare to finishing my Original Star Wars IV "in the box" figure set...Unless you are looking for top 40...which you could just hit hear on the radio anyway) Determine if the songs are actually "whole" songs and not snippets of downloads gone bad in a previous life.
    E - Convert to WAV files
    F - Burn to CDR

    Time spent hunting: 1+ hours
    Time spent dload (T1): 1+ hours
    Time spent re-dload (people think it's neat to cancel a request 3 megs in: 1+ hours
    Time spent quality check: 45 mins (listen to each song)
    Time spent convert and burn: 45 mins


    Total time: 5.5+ hours for 1 CD (I think my time is a little more valuable than that....I will stick to buying them the old fashioned way thank you...Unless it is OOP or something)

  • by johnrpenner (40054) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @07:54AM (#1416393) Homepage

    --| piracy or copyright? the third solution |---

    - copyright exists to ensure musicians get paid.
    - the other side is that once an artist produces something,
    it goes beyond them and many benefit.
    - between consumers and producers now stands record companies
    - but paying artists is only a step on the way to gaining profit.
    in practice, many musicians (who play instruments) starve, while
    marketing bimbos (spice girls) thrive - this is wrong.

    - a fundemental qualitative difference between physical and
    electronic goods is - if i have an apple and give you an apple,
    i no longer have an apple; but if i have an idea and give you an idea,
    we BOTH have an idea. therefore you cannot treat electronic things as
    if they were actually physical goods, because they aren't!

    - still, you must compensate producers of the original bits.
    so what to do?

    > MUSICIANS ASSOCIATIONS:

    - the physical distributors and merchandisers pay into the musician's
    pool that pays and feeds the musicians.
    - the musicians pool distributes it equitably among its active producers.
    - from the pool comesmore new music. which is given away for free.
    unlimited digital copies for everyone, never again a dime paid for
    anything that's just DATA.
    - distributors get fresh music, and sell and package more STUFF.
    - distributors pay back a percentage of sales back into the pool.
    - so it comes back and feeds itelf (the most important part).

    > RESULTS:

    - so all software is free - you get mindshare from it.
    - but if you make a physical whose value lies on the free music on it,
    then a percentage goes back.
    - but the artist is not paid direct - it goes to the musician's pool,
    which doles out shares each month by percentage of overall downloads
    from a service such as Napster.

    http://home.earthlink.net/~johnrpenner/Articles/ St einer-Social.html

    --

    The Strength of the Wolf is the Pack;
    and the Strength of the Pack is the Wolf.
    (Rudyard Kipling)

  • by cowscows (103644) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @07:55AM (#1416394) Journal
    It seems to be more of an issue of perhaps the music industry sees the potential of online music sales to provide profit, but they just aren't sure how to best exploit it, and since it's hard to get an organization such as the music industry to change direction quickly, they might just be trying to control it as much as possible while they try and make the change, in hopes of avoiding smaller unknown companies from jumping in and grabbing up all the business. I don't really think of this as a valid excuse for all the headaches the record companies are causing, but it's maybe a slightly optimistic take on it all.
  • by Chops (168851) on Sunday January 02, 2000 @09:47AM (#1416395)
    ... Jon Katz comes home to find his neighbor cutting down a tree in his yard and muttering incoherently about "free landscaping." Katz approaches the neighbor and asks what he is doing.

    "Here!" says his neighbor, and thrusts a thick sheaf of statistics at him. "The American Demographic Society says that 81% of passing drivers believe your lawn to look better without this tree!"

    "Wha?" says Jon Katz.

    "And here! I've got a completely different landscaping model which, according to my calculations, can increase the beauty of your lawn by fifty percent or more! Think of all the new friends you'll have!"

    Jon Katz chases the guy away with a stick. His neighbor, while running, shouts, "Short-sighted dunderhead!" and "Closed-minded corporate goon!"

"For the man who has everything... Penicillin." -- F. Borquin

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