My thoughts on Napster...
Posted by: Jack. ()
Date: June 03, 2000 12:38PM

Hi folks,

Well, I guess it's time to inject a dose of lively talk into the board, cause things are looking kind of blah. During my absence, you all must have gabbed and bickered like beauty salon ladies about the Napster thing, so here's what I think. As it was, you were discussing it before Metallica did their thing:

So, is Napster Evil? In principle, yes. You are taking for free what is being sold thanks to a technological loophole. But let's face it, folks, all this talk about the lack principles and morals in stealing have nothing to do with the real issue the RIAA is concerned with, do they?? It's just nice to seem self-righteous, which is why that imp Lars Ulrich will go on and on about Right vs Wrong, and the morals of stealing. The true issue, of course, is money. The big honchos of the recording industry - as well as the wealthy artists - are qucking in their collective boots that this represents millions down the proverbial drain. Don't be fooled by the "morals" argument, as the prime concern for the parties involved is money....most of these people have no moral authority to be talking like Holy Rollers (particularly when they're screwing around on their wives/girlfriends, backstabbing others to climb another rung on the corporate ladder, and many more in a long list of hell-condemming activities).

So yes, using Napster is wrong. But see, clever people know that it's simple-minded & stupid - indeed, even dangerous - to look at issues in black & white. Few things are ever that simple. Most people I know use Napster the way I do. And this is it:

a) Mostly, I hunt down stuff that isn't readily available. I have downloaded tons of B-sides, live tracks, interviews, acoustic versions, etc, from loads of great bands from Bon Jovi to Harem Scarem to Bryan Adams and back. You want to put these unavailable tracks on the market? Fine. Otherwise, please have the courtesy to let me get my rare stuff in peace.

b) Getting my grubby hands on out of print music. If I want to downlaod an MP3 of, say, "Just Between You and Me" from Lou Gramm's deleted second solo album I can either get it from a used CD store (after hours of sweaty hunting through crapola bins) or download it speedily from Napster. Either way, Lou and producer Peter Wolf will not see one cent because the album bombed and is no longer sold. The smelly redneck who runs the used CD shop, who would get any and all profits from the sale, isn't entitled to any artistic rights, so any and all arguments against Napster go down the poop tube there....

c) Downloading the occasional mainstream song. Here's where things get murky. Sometimes, I'll go and download something from, say, Elton John, Tina Turner, Tom Petty, maybe even a guilty pleasure like *gasp* Britney Spears. So, I'm stealing money out of their pockets, right? Not necessarily. These are songs I would not have bought anyway; that's the reason I don't have them in my collection already. I mean, a compulsive CD buyer like myself would have shelled out the money for the latest Tom Petty years ago if I had wanted to. But I didn't and I never will. It just isn't worth it in my estimation if I only like one song. So, when Napster is available I get the one song I liked but was too cheap to ever buy. In a weird way, it even works in Tom's favor because by listening to the Nap songs I might even become a fan and start actually buying his stuff.

This same thing happens with other people, too. One of my best friends adores Whitesnake. But he's an incredibly cheap bastard and will *never* open his wallet to pay 16 bucks for a CD. When Napster came out, he started downloading WS songs, but he wasn't ever going to buy 'em. My brother is sadly a closet rap fan (yes, the whole family is ashamed) but hasn't paid for a rap record in his life. Now he downloads Snoop Dogg and shit like mad. And still, he will never pay for a rap record in his life.

The other thing is, people will not stop buying CDs! Metallica has said it doesn't mind losing fans, but what it doesn't realize is that half the people who downloaded their songs aren't fans to begin with, otherwise they would have already had a CD. The other half probably were fans downloading rare tracks and will probably be pretty pissed at their once-favorite band. Hell, even down here in Mexico3 of the most popular radio stations - I shit thee not - have announced *they* have banned Metallica permanently. Part of what bothers people isn't the lawsuit as such, but a lot of the posturing and endless balbbering by that blithering idiot Lars Ulrich....they could've just released a press statement and not gotten so involved, but with Lars shooting his mouth off saying all sorts of self-righteous stuff about his band being the greatest and that they will still sell in the millions, and that his art will live forever, etc, etc, ad nauseam people get pissed and want to hurt his band.....not necessarily because he is rtight or wrong regarding the issue, just because he's an asshole. The money they think they're losing right now will really be lost when pissed of fans buy several thousand copies less or when less people go to the concerts. What kind of bothers me is the attitude, that the lawsuit is over-the-top, too: they want 100,000 dollars for every song downlaoded as compensation. Give me a break, that's excess if I ever saw it. So, is Metallica losing money? The figures for one, contradict them. Look at this:

"Here are some numbers from Soundscan that show CD sales are way up in the 1st Quarter of 2000, against the 1st Quarter average from 1995-1999:

Jan 2000 change from Jan 95-99 average +07.3%
Feb 2000 change from Feb 95-99 average +19.4%
Mar 2000 change from Mar 95-99 average +20.7%"

So, Metallica took the risk of playing devil's advocate and shot themselves in the foot. Makes no difference to me, I didn't like them anyway....never bought any of their records. Never downlaoded anything either, even when it was there for the taking. If anything, the figures show publicity has been good for them.

Anyway, I got sidetracked; the point is that when the new Sammmy Hagar, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi or Bryan Adams (etc, etc...) come out I will not be satisfied with downloading tracks. I want the whole CD because it's just sooo much better. I want the nice & neat package with the pretty pictures and satisfying image. So do all of you. Do any of you really think that the legions of rabid Backstreet Boys, Marilyn Manson, Will Smith, and Limp Bizkit fans will stop flocking to record store when the new album comes out?? Hell no! They will keep selling the same amounts. Look at the recent record-breaking sales with N SYNC and Britney Spears....

So the question now is...what happens to the smaller artists. The ones who don't depend on sales to buy their forty-first Ferrari, but rather to make a living. What about the Danny Danzis of the world? First off, MP3 of these artists are not even available. Period. You find me full MP3s of Tower City and Jeff Paris. You can search far and wide, there aren't any. But even if there were, I think that when it comes to our beloved AOR scene, the vast majority will actually buy the record. I, for one, like to feel that I support my small scene with money and will pay for the CDs of the AOR labels, especially in light of the fact that I think I'm getting my money's worth since it's THE genre I love. The people who listen to underground bands like ours (let's face it, that's what they are) are usually die-hards and won't sell the artists out. Let's remember that Napster is a reflection of what record sales are like out there....the bands and artists being downloaded the most are the most popular because they have ENORMOUS amounts of MP3s available through Napster. Which means that even assuming that someone is losing money, it would be N'SYNC and bands of that ilk. And N' SYNC can afford to lose money, since they sold a record-breaking 2.4 million albums in their first week and ride around in private jets shooting up (yeah, I guess they do despite their teeny-bop image). Well, the Danny Danzis of this world are still way too small for people to put them up on Napster and trade them, so there's no problem there. They're sort of protected by their own anonymity. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Those were the thinking man's arguments. The other one is simply the Robin Hood approach. Vengeance, payback, robbing the rich and giving to the poor, call it what you will. Many people seem to think that with Napster (under the assumption that you are taking money from the labels at all, that is) you're finally balancing the scales back in your favor. What I mean is: do any of you know what CDs cost? I mean *really* cost? They're worth nothing, fucking peanuts. I know because I had a friend who had a Record Store and he showed me what it costs the reocrd companies and the CD store and every middle man along the way. The profit margins are something like 4,000%. How many times have you felt ripped off? I know Socrates said you can't fix a wrong with another wrong (which is why I only half-agree with this posture), but even if I were taking money out opf these people's pockets (which I'm not, but if I were) it would be kind of nice for a change. God forbid Britney and Elton have one less Hundred Dollar Bill to wipe their asses with, or that some slick, scumbag record company executive can spend just a bit less on snorting coke in the back of a stretch limo with a abhorrently expensive prostitute. Fuck that, I'd rather let Don save 2 bucks to feed his starving children with.

Lighthearted opinions? Pissed-off remarks? Please do -

Undead Tap-dancing Ghoul.

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SubjectViewsWritten ByPosted
My thoughts on Napster...400Jack.06/03/2000 12:38PM
RE: My thoughts on Napster... 295 Dave 06/03/2000 05:12PM
RE: My thoughts on Napster... 298 Alex siedler 06/03/2000 08:04PM
RE: My thoughts on Napster... 280 Robert 06/04/2000 03:31AM
RE: My thoughts on Napster... 291Surfpunk06/04/2000 08:18PM
RE: My thoughts on Napster... 282 Mike 06/04/2000 06:10AM
RE: My thoughts on Napster... 298 Eric 06/04/2000 08:58PM
Clever sophistry but ... 289 Copious K9 06/07/2000 04:38AM
RE: My thoughts on Napster... 244 Danny Danzi 06/07/2000 07:13PM
More Nap talk!!! 293Jack06/08/2000 02:58AM

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