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  John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
Posted by: John Perry Barlow on Friday May 12, @04:30PM

Editor: Here's an editorial by Grateful Dead lyricist and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, John Perry Barlow. Thanks to anonymous for passing this on, I checked with Barlow for his permission to run it here. - Bruce Perens

by John Perry Barlow

I expect most of you are aware that the Recording Industry Association of America has been fighting a desperate struggle against technologies that would end its century-long enslavement and exploitation of musicians. One of these developments is something called, a system that indexes and makes available digital music files that are stored on the private hard disks of its subscribers.

About a month ago, the New York Times asked me to write an editorial about Napster and the general state of copyright in the world of music. I jumped at the chance and only after nine drafts and a lot of noctur! nal hair-tearing did I realize how impossible it would be to both describe the situation in sufficient detail and comment on it in no more than 700 words. I eventually gave up, but I did write something that I would like to pass on to you, in the interest of stimulating your thoughts on the subject. (If it resonates, feel free to pass it further on.)

Of course, things have been moving very rapidly. In the time since I wrote this piece, something called Gnutella has emerged. Gnutella is a distributed indexing system for any kind of on-line content. The fact that it has no central server nor identifiable individual in charge means that it can't be shut down or sued.

Furthermore, I heard today of another development called Freenet. Freenet, the work of a 23 year old Irish copyright anarchist named Ian Clarke, is a system that makes it possible to exchange any copyrighted material anonymously. Freenet would also make the storage location(s) of the mate! rial impossible to locate, thus frustrating such efforts as! Metallica's current crack-down on Napster subscribers who have stored their songs.

(You gotta love Metallica. There were a pain in the ass to their parents. Now they're going to be a pain in the ass to their kids.)

There's plenty of action in this zone, and since one of my current missions in life is to kill the music business and midwife the birth of the musician business and audience business, I'm keeping plenty busy.

In any event, here's what I had to say about it a month ago:

An Op-Ed Piece for the New York Times
By John Perry Barlow

Last fall, an obscure 19 year old student named Shawn Fanning quietly inflicted the wound that I believe will eventually kill the music business as we know it. He set up a Web site called

Of course, the recording industry, like other traditional publication media, was already suffering a likely terminal illness. Because ! of the Internet, almost any informational product can be infinitely reproduced and instantaneously distributed all over the planet without cost. This obsoletes the material containers previously necessary for information transport as well as most of the industries that manufactured them. The biggest remaining obstacle to this free flow of digital liquid is legal, not practical.

But so far this impediment - copyright law - has been sufficient to make most of the 20th Century's best musical creations and performances very hard to find online. Nearly all of this material has been commercially released and is therefore in the white-knuckled grip of the companies that recorded it. Commercial MP3 sites are too visible to risk legal assault by copyright patrols from the RIAA (or Recording Industry Association of America.), so they traffic mostly in recent or insignificant works.

But Fanning realized there is a lot more digitized music in Cyberspace than one mig! ht think. This is because millions of ordinary listeners ha! ve converted portions of their purchased music collections into the MP3 format and copied them onto their hard drives. He further realized that many of these personal hard disks are continuously connected to the Internet, generally because their owners, mostly students, hold accounts on academic networks.

Fanning also knew that people have an old and deep impulse to share music with one another, so, in essence, he designed an immense and growing virtual space,, where they could do so. Napster creates a vast community of folks who can play music directly from one another's PC's, rather as they might play one of their roommate's CD's on the stereo in their dorm room.

But of course, in this environment, what can be played can also be copied. When I reach through Napster to the hard disk of some kid in Ohio and grab his copy of, say, Cassidy by the Grateful Dead, I can also place it on my hard disk as I listen to it.

It is this characte! ristic of Napster that so haunts the RIAA . They believe that making this copy is as clear a case of theft as if I'd shop-lifted a CD from Walmart..

But what is being "stolen?" And from whom? Speaking as the fellow who co-wrote Cassidy, I don't believe that the kid in Ohio is injuring my economic interests by sharing it with others. Deadheads have been sharing our songs with each other for decades and it's done nothing but increase the demand for our work.

Of course, the RIAA takes a very different view and has lately been laboring by means, both legal and technical, to eliminate fair use, requiring payment to be made every time someone hears the music they claim to own. They regard Napster to be a global thief's bazaar.

But what can they do about it? Nothing, I'd say. Napster is legally safe from them because no copyrighted material is actually stored there. Nor is there any practical way to prosecute the burgeoning multitudes who have already! made over 380, 000 musical pieces available there.
Appeals based on moral principles will avail them little. Cyberspace is and always has been a "gift economy" where sharing is considered a virtue, not a crime. The music industry is generally despised by both music-lovers and musicians, to whom they've been returning about five percent of the retail value of their works.

Further, most musicians agree with Public Enemy rapster Chuck D, who recently said that the recording industry's legal assertion that they own the music they distribute is as senseless as would be a claim by Federal Express that they should own the contents of the packages they ship.

Also, from an economic standpoint, many musicians have discovered, as the Grateful Dead did, that the best way to make money from music is to give it away. While scarcity may increase the value of physical goods, such as CD's, the opposite applies to information. In a dematerialized information economy, there is an equally strong relationship between fami! liarity and value. If your work is good, allowing what you've done to self-replicate freely increases demand for what you haven't done yet, whether by live performances or by charging online for the download of new work.

For these, and far more reasons than I can state here, I'm convinced that the traditional music business is finished. Napster and other environments like it will polish off the likes of BMG and Tower Records within five years.

Personally, I can't say I'll miss it. For over a century, it has exploited both musicians and audiences. By its proprietary practices and crass insistence on mass appeal, it has desertified the ecology of auditory epiphany, impoverished genius, fattened lawyers, turned plastic into gold, and offered gilded plastic in return.

Music expresses the soul of a society. It is perhaps the most singularly human activity of our peculiar species, since, unlike the rest of our major endeavors, it doesn't support our ! physical survival. But the 20th Century music business has ! transformed the deepest currents of our culture into mere currency.

To be fair, I will confess that it had its purposes and time. Without the record industry, I would never have heard The Rolling Stones, Stockhausen, Handel, Billy Holiday, Bob Dylan, Robert Johnson, Ravi Shankar, or Balinese Monkey Chants. Nor, more importantly, would they have been able to hear - and thus build upon - each other.

I also recognize that some percentage of those who work in it appear to be human beings. As a former cattle rancher, I feel a pang of compassion at their economic demise. But history is littered with such casualties. The people who worked in them found other jobs.

The graceful industries go down gently when they've outlived their utility, but doesn't appear that this one is going to. They appear prepared to bury with themselves an entire epoch of music under a thick crust of copyright law, leaving a century-sized hole in the history of music.
We can't allow this to happen. If it does, it will cause the still-birth of what is presently gestating on the musician business. (And even, with luck, something one might call the audience business.)

In Napster's enormous room, music will arise in spontaneous and global abundance in the space between creators and listeners so interactively that it will be hard to tell which is which. No longer will we mistake music for a noun, as its containers have tempted us to do for a century. We will realize once more that music is a verb, a relationship, a constantly evolving life form.

But you can't own verbs, nor relationships, nor divine gifts. Whatever the current legalities, I personally find defining "my" songs to be a form of property to be as philosophically audacious and as impractical as would be a claim that I own "my" daughters, another blessing that just happened to pass into the world through me..

As with my daughters, I wan! t to exercise some control over what happens to the songs f! or which I was the mere conduit. I don't want them to be altered, abused, exploited, or used by others for their own commercial purposes. Developing the proper legal and ethical instruments to assure me that ability will be tricky. But more than control, I want my songs, like my daughters, to be free to roam the world and be loved by as many as can appreciate their occasional beauty.

Whatever models evolve to protect the creation of music, I am not concerned that we will fail to economically support its makers after we quit calling it property. For some reason, humans absolutely require music, and they were providing for the material needs of musicians for tens of thousands of years before copyright law, just as they will do so for tens of thousands of years after this brief and anomalous period has been forgotten..

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    ( Reply )

    Over 10 comments listed. Printing out index only.
    by Torsten on Saturday May 13, @04:59PM
    I can remember the first time I heard of royalties. The idea that one could make money while doing little or no actual physical work to earn it was amazing. It was also very artificial.

    I'm sure that the popularity of traded music can be turned into a living. If music is traded and listened to without royalties, it's true genius and quality will be realized when the band, who wrote and/or performs the music, tours.

    The true value of music is thusly expressed when the band earns money from live concerts. Royalty payments, however, are artificial.
    [ Reply to this ]
    by amphetamine gobbler on Saturday May 13, @05:36PM
    Barlow, hippie though he is, is one of the few who speak on this subject and give it the historical context it deserves.

    Rather than whining and moaning about which tangential possibility is going to explode all over the trendy geek messageboards next, Barlow is really speaking to something here.

    Part of the reason for ignoring the long view on the mp3/napster/intel. property issue is because the core of it runs against what students in western schools are indoctrinated with from birth: the absolute sacred-ness of Property. Being the children of a John Locke, we are born and raised to believe that Private Property is more important than a common good or public property. Growing up with a choice between a crappy PBS show on knitting and primetime A-Team, who could disagree that private enterprise had it all over public broadcasting? (To this day, I guarantee that many people immediately associate communism with the blandness of 80s-era public TV.)

    But I digress. Like it or not, free software, pirate radio, mp3 et al have forced us to re-evaluate the very meaning of property, and not just intellectual property. Those who would deny the connection between open source communities and anarchist-style collectives are living in serious denial.

    While Barlow and the current buzz around all of this is focusing on music, code, and intangible items, we are starting to move away from just intellectual theft (under today's laws) to general property theft, i.e. pirate radio. The promise of open source processes infecting all processes that go on in our daily lives is exciting and hopeful to me. The problems of proprietary, control-freak, profit-only, capitalist raider organization certainly do not end at restricting Metallica tape trading.

    amphetamine gobbler -
    [ Reply to this ]
    He has a point
    by Mike Flippin on Saturday May 13, @07:36PM
    Musicians need to exploit napster to make their demand go up. If they get really popular through napster they can make their money on live shows, merchandise, etc. I think the time will soon come that cds are distributed only to help support the band and to serve as a form of high quality backup for the free songs.
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by anonymous on Saturday May 13, @08:10PM
    This is an interesting counterpoint to Bruce's arguement last week that Napster "pirates" are irresponsibly wielding freedom and causing a legal backlash against free software.

    Music is a bit different than software, in that it's an age old expression of human soul.. That music is first to the front in the gathering War Against Copying is a sign of some poetic justice =)

    "Musicians, all through the ages, when laws and times have changed, have been a part of it somehow or another and in some way or form. You've got to have a song. Got to have something to dance to. You've got to have something to build up your courage, or your belief in yourself. Music is just as important - it's been said by a lot of men
    around the world that music in a war is more important than guns - and more dangerous."
    - Horace Tapscot

    The War on Copying is a case study in denial: Sooner than later, $50 will buy 4 *years* of .mp3 recordings and fit them on a credit-card sized drive.. Bandwidth doubling much faster than Moore's Law enables exploding digital memory capacity to be easily shared, (ie Napster)..

    Neither creative musicians nor their fans seem too happy with the music "industry", so shift is happening.. Currently, some artists in the middle are getting screwed and complaining, but in the big picture, free music seems inevitable.. Instead of saying "just say no to copying", Barlow shows that you don't need to rely on old copyright laws to make a living in the new music trade..

    Of course, these ideas will incite a violent reaction from "owners" of formerly evergreen copyrights, resulting in doctored spins and tarpit courtroom warfare, but what could you expect from a doomed beast fighting for survival?

    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by Michael Wassil on Sunday May 14, @12:13AM
    I agree with what John says. Just like the scribes in the 15th century were made obsolescent by the printing press, the "industry" has been rendered obsolete by the internet and its uncontrolled distribution model. Instead of getting hung up by the death throes of that industry, we need to address ourselves to the issues of just how we think musicians can make a decent living off the new distribution model. Not all musicians tour. Selling t-shirts, mugs and whatever doesn't sound like a business model all would adopt. So how are we going to support them to give them the time and energy to create music? That's the important issue that needs to be addressed.
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by Sage on Sunday May 14, @03:10AM
    I think you're missing the point here.

    Fair enough, you want to share your music. Good for you! It's a very generous thing to do. It's your choice.

    But try to look at the flipside for just a moment... Bugger the RIAA, bugger BMG et al. They can burn in hell for all I know - not just because they rip off artists, but they've shifted the focus of the music industry so that music is the least consideration of the music making process. Think about the musicians who are trying to earn a living here!

    They've made this music, and they haven't decided they want to give it away for free: like many other authors, they've decided they'd like to earn some money for their performance. Fair enough too!

    Using napster or other methods to share music at high fidelity not only deprives the music industry of cash (something I applaud), it also deprives the authors of the little bit of money they would otherwise receive.

    It's easy to say "Oh, but Metallica are filthy rich, they can afford it". Well, metallica probably can. Doesn't make it right though.

    I'd like to see a modified shareware concept applied here: share the music freely, but maybe not as the same quality you'd get if you bought it - and if you like it a lot, consider buying the CD (or even single) it came from. Not everyone will pay; it's an honour system, and not everyone will voluntarily give money away (how many times has mIRC been registered?). But it will be similar to busking - you can hear the music for free, no obligation. but if you like it, then you -should- drop a bit on the busker's hat - to say "thanks" and to help provide the busker's next meal so they can keep on performing.

    Having said that, the RIAA (ARIA here in Oz) and their plan to bring out a pay-per-play system is not only doomed to failure, it deserves such a fate.

    Anyway; I've rambled enough. Standard Disclaimer Applies :)
    [ Reply to this ]
    Artists can still make money from distribution.
    by Tord Jansson on Sunday May 14, @08:08AM
    Even if laws would change so non-profit redistribution of music was free, the artists could still make a lot of money from distribution.

    Just let the big online cd-resellers sell mp3s for direct download for a modest fee (maybe $0.25 a song) as soon as secure, one-click online ordering is generally available.

    Most people, including me, would prefer to buy our favourite music like this instead of grabbing it using Napster since it's more convenient, cheap enough and you know that you help the artist by doing so.

    Nearly all the money could go directly to the artist since the site most likely could get a lot of income from advertising and complementary services (like selling the real "official" CDs, posters etc) as well.
    [ Reply to this ]
    by Michele Beltrame on Sunday May 14, @08:45AM

    I'm unsure "giving away music" will be the right way to go or can be done at all. You say artists can make money with live performances and by releasing new songs online. I completely agree as far as live singing is concerned, but when one releases a new song and puts it available for download under payment just a few will pay for it. In a matter of minutes from the release it would be possible to find it in the Napster network, so... why paying?!? Only to support the singer? I'll do that, you'll do that, but would everybody do that? I don't think so.
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by Jeffrey Taylor on Sunday May 14, @09:47AM
    Barlow does not distingush between copyright and the music industry and its business practices. It is copyrights that give the Dead the control over their music to say private copying for trade is fine, commercial copying for profit is not allowed. Copyright is about the only thing that requires companies to pay anything to musicians. I agree that the music industry is going to and needs to change, drastically. Copyright law is going to be part of that change. Copyright cuts both ways. Look at the GNU Public License and free/open software. It stands on copyright law.
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by Ed Grubermann on Monday May 15, @12:05AM
    Times are a changin'...Why, I remember back many a year ago when Metallica won "that" award and they were proud of how it was done without the help of MTV or radio in general. See, there was this group of die-hard, loyal fans that bought recordings, went to concerts BOOTLEGGED the show and distributed it. Were it not for all of this tape trading, things might have turned out differently.
    Personally, I have over 600 cd's. (many are updates to my vinyl collection). I support those I listen to. Many of these groups I would not have heard of if friends wouldn't have given me a recorded tape mix to sample. The recording industry as it stands today needs to be dismantled. Between labels that don't support struggling artists, to the plethera of worthless Q and Zoo pop radio stations with a limited playlist, struggling and or new artists haven't got a chance. Now, thanks to the internet, artists have a way to introduce their wares directly to the public. They first record their music on their own, using DAT or, with computer software, on their computer. They then can burn their own cd's or, create mp3, ra and other format copies for sale. If they get public acceptance, they -not the record execs - get the fiscal benefit. Before I purchased 3 vinyl, 1 tape and 2 cd versions of every Aerosmith release, I heard them, Toys in the Attic, to be exact. What jerks like La! rs forget is that they must be heard first before people buy anything from them. Without these underground distribution groups, NO ONE would have heard of Metallica.

    Buy Dada cd's today!!!
    954KB (977020 bytes)

    [ Reply to this ]
    too bad this didn't appear in the Times
    by Adrien Cater on Monday May 15, @04:57AM
    It reall is too bad this didn't appear in the Times...

    The technocrat / slashdot / kuro5hin / internet / GNU community already understands these issues pretty well, and the general opinion is more or less what was expressed here.

    What we really need are eloquent and intelligent speakers like JPB to get these ideas into the main stream, public opinion, the ma and pa meme ecology...

    Thanks Barlow, you summed it all up nicely, but, the message needs to travel!

    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by spinax on Monday May 15, @08:10AM
    the european underground-computer-scene has thrugh the years always realsed music for free, and those who enter it coming from their old thoughts about intelectual property often change their minds about 'programmers wont program if they dont get paid, musicans wont do music if .. ' attitude.. through the internet we have found a way to share intecetuall propery and realised that it shouldnt be owned, even those who normally wouldnt steal actually feel that they dont do anything wrong when they copy a cd with win95 or downloading a mp3... I just wait for the day when nanotechnolgy will become publicly awailible and we will get the realisation that 'normal' propery shouldnt be own either, the problem that todays anarchist sutch as myself often face is that people dont like to share their things if there is a possibility that it might break/get lost.. OpenStuff if on its way and when nanotech hit the streets we will have the same friction, but just worse, when people a! re 'stealing' commercial products, that is if we survie the possible nanotech wars and AI invention that are sure to come along with nanotech.. oh well. enough rambeling.. and btw read Eric k Dexlers book about nanotech, freely availible at (i think), its called Engines Of Creation and those who havent read it, shouldnt be allowed to comment about 'property' ;)
    btw2 kosmic free music foundation have been giving away music for years,
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by fandu on Monday May 15, @10:54AM
    I disagree with most comments made here.
    You guys are obviously not musicians.
    It is somehow funny that those who make the
    least money get their sausage stolen from
    their sandwich.And you all agree!!!

    The rich guys are all protected by their
    big sugar-daddies and the small-timers like
    me have to fear never to make a dime out of
    music because every jerk will download it
    and burn it on their CD-Rs for FREE.

    You want me selling mugs and
    stand on the next street corner with a little synthesizer and a tin-can ?
    I am talking about RESPECT for a profession here.
    You are not friends but freeloaders.

    The truth is that the Internet is a primitive
    little net at this stage. for me - now listen
    carefully you little napsters - the alternative
    is JUST IN-BETWEEN copyright and a free beer.
    It is called micropayment and was first suggested
    by Ted Nelson, the few geniuses that are left in this insanity.

    Do some reading first, little napster, THINK,
    and I may give you a kiss on the forehead before I send you to sleep.

    A grumpy

    [ Reply to this ]
    Do the math....
    by anonymous on Thursday May 18, @06:15PM
    Price of a CD: $16.
    Cost of production: $0.50.
    Store Markup: $7 (max).
    Record company: $7+.

    Artist: small change.

    At the moment, the winners of the music game are scared that they're going to lose their $5m homes. Rightly so: I don't think it'll be possible to make $40m singing and playing songs five years from now.

    But the other artists, the other 99.5% of the working musical population, have nothing to fear. They can self-publish, and if we ever get micropayments sorted out, get paid by their fans with no middlemen taking 99% of the pie.

    What we're talking about here, really is independence of artists from labels. All the other stuff is really just a smokescreen.
    [ Reply to this ]
    Yes, but.....
    by Fandu on Thursday May 18, @09:49PM
    In theory....yes.

    That is if people agree to micro-payments,
    in particular if they can download the
    same files for free from Napster.

    Back to square one.

    a running in circles

    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by john on Saturday May 20, @08:17AM
    Have a good laugh: Kid Rock starves to death
    because of mp3 at the ONION. Napster is blamed.

    Read the article.


    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: new MPEG 4 AAC -standard and copyright
    by John Kompa on Monday May 29, @08:17AM
    This goes out to everybody:

    If you visit the Fraunhofer Institute site
    you will notice that the MPEG-4 AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) will replace mp3.

    The advantages are (among others) 8-98kHz
    sampling rate support and up to 48-channels for audio. The compression is supposed to be far better than mp3.

    The most important features are the support for copyright, which is very, very sophisticated.
    As technology development and industry standards are enforced by copyright-respecting institutions you will find that mp3 was probably the last serious act of mass-piracy.

    Sorry to bring you this cold shower- but the entire Napster - discussion is pretty much obsolete. Enjoy mp3 encoded files as long as they are still around.All commercial music will be encoded as AAC in the very near future.

    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by rob on Wednesday May 31, @10:38AM
    Well written.
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by Beau Hall on Wednesday May 31, @11:17AM
    I've tried to argue the virtues of Napster to anyone who will listen, but not many people understand fully what is going on. I agree with everything you've said.

    I'd like to add that I am an artist on, and having given the music away, I've received emails from people asking where can they buy a CD with the songs that they already downloaded, which totally reiterates your point that giving away the music only increases the desire for more.

    And I will continue to give away my music as long as I can. I LOVE searching Napster for one of my songs and finding it on peoples computers all over the country! What an ego boost!

    Beau Hall
    Blind Slim - singer/songwriter
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by Matthew Coene on Wednesday May 31, @11:35AM
    That has got to be the most enlightened, intelligent and beautiful piece I have ever encountered about the whole situation.

    Instead of going with the flow and finding new ways to stay in sync with the world, "the man", if you will, is fighting to maintain control of a system no person or entity ever had control over in the first place.

    I agree whole heartedly with everything in the article and I can only hope that this opens the eyes, ears and hearts of the big corporations who are strangling the very system they are trying to save.

    My 2 cents.

    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by Tristan Watkins on Wednesday May 31, @07:00PM
    What about vinyl? Vinyl is as strong, if not stronger than ever in the dance music community, almost entirely unaffected by mp3 due to limited pressings and the need (or at least the preference if you're a stickler) for vinyl to DJ well.

    Vinyl should grow in popularity, if anything due to increased opportunity to listen before purchasing.

    But... I still think artists should have the opportunity to decide if they want their music freely distributed on the internet. This is why I've started encoding my music in only low quality Real Audio until it (hopefully) gets released. At that point, I may as well encode in mp3, because anyone else could do it anyway. My point is, I fail to see how Napster helps unreleased artists make a living from their work, although it clearly opens the door to new audiences, taking some of the leg work out of promotion. I would be interested to know how many, if any artists have been offered record (ie vinyl pressing) deals for underground dance music, exclusively based on Napster, or mp3 site hype. My bet is that there would be very few.

    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by Why on Wednesday May 31, @08:25PM
    Won't it be great when those pesky record labels are gone. I mean why would a person want to do something so crazy as make money off their work. Must be some sort of crazy capitalist thing. Won't it be a great day when all music is free on line, and all the artist needs to do is find a sponser/advertiser to underwrite their recordings. I mean sure the small artists will never be able to get that support, but hey fuck them anyway becuase if their small they're obviously not good. As long as Limp Bisquick and N'Sync can still make records that's all anyone cares about right. Sure, spending your whole day on-line posting your music with every other piece of shit demo that someone thought needed to be released is a great idea. Clog up the airwaves I say. Every piece of music recorded is a good piece of music. Maybe the artist won't have enough time to record anything good anymore as they spend their day looking for coorprate sponsers and managing their own distribution, ! but hey if it's free why does it need to be good anymore. Or hey maybe the music can be free and people can just make tour revenue. Forget the fact that maybe 5% of touring bands actually make money on their tours. I mean again it's only the biggest bands that matter anyway. Big = good music right. Wow what a revolution. I'm excited. All my records go out in the trash tonight. I'm much more into the asthestic of those little digital compressed files. I always did like the sound of AM radio...
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by nick owens on Wednesday May 31, @09:26PM
    Napster,Gnutella,and Freenet are the cutting edge of a revolution. A Revolution with a capital "R". In the sixties, there was talk of "power to the people" but we didn't have a tool. The "tools" are here now and they will be used. The battle will be between copyright holders of digitalizable material, oppressive governmental agencies vs. everyone with a computer
    modem. The individual holder of copyrights, will see those "rights" vanish. Just as all those on the "losing side" of any revolution have. Is this fair? No. What about Justice? It's not Just. But isn't this a criminal activity. Well, Laws can be changed. What this is about is revolutionary change. Can the change be stopped? Maybe. It's up to you.
    [ Reply to this ]
    A simple moral argument
    by eugene on Wednesday May 31, @09:41PM
    Premise 1 : Living musicians should be compensated materially for their work.

    Premise 2 : Dead musicians should not be compensated materially, simply because no dead person can be compensated materially.

    Conclusion from the above :

    You should not distribute the work of living musicians without materially compensating the artist.
    You may freely distribute to your heart's content the work of dead musicians.

    I like this argument because it avoids all the tedious back and forth about the definitions of "property" and "copyright".
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by Tyler Ward on Wednesday May 31, @10:55PM
    Keep in mind that not only consumers pay for music, you have all been a little too blinded by the screwing the RIAA has been giving you. Whenever music is played on a commercial or in a movie there is a great opportunity for the artists to make a little bit of money, in a $200,000,000 dollar film what's $200,000 to buy the best music available. Get your songs in a movie and a commercial or two and any artist is set.

    As a means to that end the artists should distribute their music for free off the net, and put on concerts, etc... If they are good enough they could see some significant money when their music is used in commercials, TV, and movies. Not to mention the money of touring, and maybe a site like could share the wealth a little and give them some advertising revenue kickbacks.

    The model that the consumers pay for music is a relatively new invention, in general musicians have relied on money from people who have lots of money to spare, and want to put on a good show for the public (lords in the past, entertainment companies today). The Consumers shouldn't be forced to pay for music any more than they are forced to pay for TV. Think about it, TV is free, yet the actors seem to do alright, and TV is vastly more expensive to make than music.

    There is no shortage of money for Musicians, and not a dime needs to come from consumers.

    That the RIAA screws consumers out of money is atrocious (spelling?), and very little of that ever reaches the artists anyway. Not to even mention all the lame boy bands we are forced to listen to as the RIAA tries to shove "The Next Thing" down out throats with marketing clout rather than good music. This will all come tumbling down very soon, and the artists will make far more money in the new system than they do now. The ones to cry for are the godless soulsuckers who run the recording industry, but then again, I'll laugh at them, not cry.
    [ Reply to this ]
    The game is over: Napster and Gnutella
    by John Kompa on Wednesday May 31, @11:00PM
    The news is : Napster CEO Hanks Barry has announced that Napster should charge the users and that back part of the income should go to the recording industry (Linuxtoday). He said that nobody can run for a long time without a business model.

    Gene Kan of Gnutella (C-net Central) announced Gnutella as a new type of web-browser, not as a successor of Napster (he said something equivalent that Gnutella is not about piracy and child-porn).

    So the dream for millions of grassroot-copyfans is over: Networked copying is piracy, private copying (on a small scale) is OK.(even if you can't always draw a clear line).

    That is to me the clear outcome based on the latest news. One cannot force authors to give away their creations for free , nor does a "free beer for all" work as a wide-scale business model.
    (only in the heads of some youngsters that keep on dreaming to "take on" the big guys.)

    If you want so: the game is over - as declared by Napster and Gnutella themselves.
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by scooter scudieri on Wednesday May 31, @11:04PM
    My name is Scooter Scudieri. I am a soldier on the front lines of a music revolution. I'm a singer/songwriter who has struggled with the out dated concept of the "RECORDING INDUSTRY" for 10 years. I decided to take control of my life and my music. Thanks to the Internet, I am now sharing it with the world.

    On the strength of my music alone, I raised $50,000.00 thru private investors and released my debut album "Ancient Rituals" on my own label...never once compromising the quality or integrity of my songs. ALL the promotion for my CD is done on the Internet...available thru, MP3, Napster, etc...

    I'm also staging musical "events" (a steady monthly gig at Kenny’s Castaways in NYC!) by utilizing my ever increasing FAN email list (MP3 downloads are awesome, and I hand out 75-100 tapes at my shows) I have a radio/internet promotion set for September (fall semester) which includes 60 stations.

    I've also recently been on NPR's acclaimed Mountain Stage Radio Show...I've opened for the Dave Matthews Band, Widespread Panic and NRBQ...

    I've always been on the tip of "artists don’t need record companies"- NOW IT IS REALLY TRUE- the Internet is the equalizer. If people like music- they tell others and so on...My music is selling on an INTERNATIONAL level because I'm creating a buzz and my fans are diggin the music and emailing their friends is moving my CDs quickly and efficiently...very cool stuff happening...and it's happening exponentially!

    The record business is not about's about sales. That's why it's so hard to find "new" and "unique" bands/solo artists...if they don't fit nicely into a category...they're screwed... most record companies follow the trend... these bands might have great music... that NO ONE will ever hear...

    NOW who's setting the trend?

    Long gone are the days of "getting signed"- HA! YES, people will download and listen to FREE music and send it all over the world to their friends. Let the Record Companies freak out- I'm happy. People will also BUY music if they know it will help support an artist they love. I AM LIVING PROOF! I don't have to sell 1,000,000 copies of my CD to make a living...I just need to sell 10,000. With the Internet, I just might sell a million anyway.

    WHY do you love music?

    Because of the INCOMPREHENSIBLE SPARKLE AND FLASH marketing? OR, because the music is good. It moves you.

    My fans are calling me the Internet's first Rock Star...whether that's true or not...I'm one of the next...

    I am a soldier on the front lines of a music revolution.
    Join us in the process of creation!


    scooter scudieri
    [ Reply to this ]
    by John C. Randolph on Wednesday May 31, @11:20PM
    The RIAA and their pinhead forebears have fought tooth and nail against every recording and communications technology to come along ever since Edison's phonograph.

    Phonograph: "Nobody will pay to come hear me play music, if they can just play a wax cylinder! Wah!" What actually happened, of course, is that musicians make far more on a hit recording than they could ever make playing gigs in concert halls.

    Radio: "I can't let you my record on the radio! If you did that, nobody would buy it!" What actually happened, is that people went out and bought records that they never would have known about if they hand't heard them on the radio.

    CD's: "CD's never wear out! Nobody will buy my record more than once! I'll lose millions!" (Don't laugh, there really were idiots making this argument back around 1980.)

    Cassette tapes + CD's at the radio stations: "If people can record my stuff from the radio, they'll never buy the CD's themselves!"

    DAT drives: "We've *got* to bugger the DAT drives so that they can only make one-generation recordings, or we'll never sell more than one copy of any CD!" (The upshot of this, is that consumer-level DAT drives became useless to people who were recording their *own* material, and needed n-generations to do their studio tricks.)

    It goes on.

    The long and short of it is, these same people bitch and moan over every advancement, and end up making more money with each improvement in our ability to do the things they're afraid of.

    Hell, if Metallica doesn't want anyone to listen to them, I'm cool with that. I never liked their head-banging adolescent crap anyway. Likewise, I'm perfectly willing to ignore the work of any other crybaby who wants to go running to court to punish his fans.

    I expect that in the next ten years, I'm going to become a big fan of someone I've never heard of yet, who had the good sense to reach out to his audience on the internet. I'll probably buy a ticket when he comes to play the local collosseum or Jazz club. I'll probably buy his t-shirts, CD's, sheet music, and whatever else he's selling through his web site.

    Chances are, this will be an artist who couldn't possibly get a contract from any of today's recording companies, who just want to sell me yet another warmed-over Beastie Boys, Menudo, or Spice Girls album.

    Figure it out, people.
    [ Reply to this ]
    What this could mean?
    by PipTigger on Wednesday May 31, @11:23PM
    It's obvious that well... anything datafiable isn't gonna be protectable for much longer but the issue of compensating the creators... such as musicians (or coders) who don't want to tour or sell t-shirts and mugs etc. ... I imagine it would be feasible and wholly appropriate in our newly connected world to support the people whose work we appreciate directly. This could be public e-dollar accounts which anyone can contribute to and only owners could withdraw. Deposits accompanied by say an email address or phone number would likely result in your music hero (or hacking guru) giving you a ring to say hi and chat for a couple minutes. Naturally insanely popular artists won't have much time for such direct fan interaction but chat forums or webcasts etc. could really add a ton of value and bring artists directly to their fans. This would be incredible for obscure bands and if nicely filtered, could also be powerful for the globally renowned as well. I imagine fan! s will influence their favorite artists far more in the future. Maybe if you pay a certain amount, you get a certain length phone call. Or you can ask a certain number of questions via email or something. Something like this could be done today. The value would be inherent in bringing the audience and the performers even closer together. I guess we'll see what happens but I look forward to such interesting changes in communication and art appreciation as we know them. TTFN & Shalom.

    [ Reply to this ]
    To generalize this debate, a question:
    by BigBadJohn on Thursday June 01, @01:38AM
    I'd like to step back from the MP3-swapping aspect of this for a minute and ask a broader question:

    Let's say I just developed repliction technology similar to that shown in Star Trek: The Next Generation. I can now construct a perfect, atom-by-atom replica of any physical entity.

    And you are... a sculptor, perhaps, who just spent the last year of his life crafting an exquisite marble statue that art critics agree is among the greatest pieces of art ever created. (I'm no art critic, but bear with me here for the sake of a thought experiment.)

    Now, I no longer have to go to the museum to marvel at your work, since I can make my own, identical in every detail to the original, and put it on display in my own living room. And making this copy costs you nothing in terms of time.

    My question is: Merely because I can do this, does it give me the right to do so? Or is creating such a copy without your permission theft?

    Now, you may be a beneficient and altruistic guy who thinks that the widespread distribution of art benefits mankind. Or perhaps you even have craftier motives: The more people who replicate your sculpture and see it in their living room every day, the more people will be willing to pay for tickets to your Live Sculpting stadium tour. But whose decision is this, the creator's or the copier's?

    This is a critical question. While I personally suspect that Barlow is right that bands will make more money in a post-RIAA, free-swapping kind of world, it's not really my decision (as a consumer, not the artist) to make.

    Music is only the tip of the iceberg, of course. It's relatively easy to imagine how musicians could make up money they lose from selling the music bits by touring or selling merchandise. But what about, say, a brilliant digital photographer, a millennial Ansel Adams? Photography, unlike music, is not a performance art -- and if the bits are free and readily copyable, then there's no need to pay royalties to use the data on t-shirts or posters.

    What I'm leading up to is that copyright, and the notion of private property, still have an important role to play for digital goods. Don't get me wrong: the genie is absolutely out of the bottle, and nothing is going to stop people from using Napster, Gnutella, and their successors to swap bits for free. Record companies and others would be wise to recast their business models, and fast, to reflect this reality. However, the real question is not whether pirating will happen (it will), but whether this is morally and legally defensible behavior.

    If you think it's OK, let me ask this: Why are digital works any less eligible for copyright protection than physical ones? Merely because the cost of copying is lower? That strikes me as nonsensical -- if you spend a year building a better microchip you retain property rights in my work, but if instead you spend a year writing software you have nothing to show for it? And when I develop my replicator and the cost of copying whole physical objects is effectively zero, does that mean I can now make myself copies of your microchip for free and with a clear conscience?

    I could go on, but this is already too long.

    [ Reply to this ]
    Look at it this way
    by Nemesis on Thursday June 01, @01:54AM
    Okay, it's been said that artists get around 5% of the profits. Let's suppose we just donate some money directly to the artist as we please.

    CDs cost around $14 and also have around 14 songs. So, we could say that each song is worth around $1. Now, we'll multiply this with the 5% profit the artist gets. Each song is now worth a nickel. So, if everyone sent 5¢ to the artists for every song they downloaded for "free", they would have the exact same revenue.

    But would everyone donate some money for each song downloaded? Of course not! For the purpose of calculation, I'll speculate that 1 person in 100 would pay. But since the music is freely avaible, a lot of people are going to listen to music from CDs they would'nt have bought. Lets say, we double the audience. Now, for artists to get the same revenue they have now, only ONE person in 100 who listen to one of their songs would have to donate $2.50!!

    The bottom line is that it COULD be done. I'm sure people are willing to encourage the artists they like most.
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by Herbie Robinson on Thursday June 01, @09:07AM
    A lot of people have been posting about how easy it would be for artists to make money touring. This is the reality: Most touring gigs pay the band $300 (and it's often less). A really really good one pays $1200. You have to have been building a fan base for several years in the area you are touring in before you get paid $1200. Touring is usually done break even or at a loss to support CD sales. [Unless you are a solo artist -- solo artists can make a living touring.]

    The only time this doesn't apply is when a major label sponsors the band because they can get radio airplay (which will boost attendance and the band will get paid more). Acts that aren't on major labels rarely get significant radio airplay these days; so, it's unrealistic to expect it. In fact, it's impossible to get radio airplay without a CD.

    Bands on tour are already sleeping anyplace they can crash or sleeping in vehicles or tents (even at $1200 a night, you can't stay in a hotel very often).
    [ Reply to this ]
    no $$$
    by fandu on Thursday June 01, @11:19AM

    I agree 100% with what you say.

    What most people do not realize that
    most musicians do not receive a regular
    paycheck either.

    And even if you do bigtime scores
    (I did stuff for Sony, IBM, Lucent Technologies,
    Burgerking, Mercedes etc.), the ad-agencies in charge delay their payments and knock down your commission as tough as possible.

    So at the end they pay their lawyers and marketing people $ 200,000 p.a. and the musician gets 1-2 % of that money for providing a big part of the production.

    That is damn lousy.

    a coin-counting

    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by Bob on Thursday June 01, @11:31AM
    I have several grateful dead cd's that I have burned off napster and other sources. I have never
    seen the Dead live, I have never bought any Dead merchandise. The dead have never made a penny off of me. The music industry killed themselves by charging $16+ for a cd. There is no reason why I shouldn't be able to go down to tower records and buy a cd for $5-8. If I had the choice between a burned cdr for free and a pressed cd with booklet for $5-8, a good percentage of the time I would buy the cd.
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: Techno Music!
    by Christine O'Reilly on Thursday June 01, @06:41PM
    Is anyone here into techno music? Well, allow me to inform you that some of the best of it is released on limited edition RECORDS. Yes ladies and gentlemen, RECORDS. What does that mean? Well, I can't exactly listen to it in the privacy of my own home. So, provides me with someone who has made an Mp3 of this vinyl material and I CAN listen to it at home. It isn't that I don't want to or wouldn't buy the musicians music-it's that I can't. This is why I see napster as a blessing. Things that I cannot find for the life of me (even things released in limited edition or from across the ocean, in CD form)... these things can be found on Napster. I see no crime in simply desiring a musicians music this strongly.
    [ Reply to this ]
    A few misc. thoughts on this whole thing.....
    by Tom Wyrick on Thursday June 01, @10:37PM
    I think the part of this "is it ok to redistribute?" question that bugs me most is this:

    Are we, as a society, willing to make the claim that people have the inalienable basic human right to prevent the redistribution (or even reengineering) of our intellectual property when it has been released to the public for commercial gain?

    I'm a supporter of intellectual property rights, yet I know I can't justify anything like the above claim in my head. Can you? If not, then you have to admit that maybe it's going too far to take copyright issues to the extremes that we're taking them now.

    Why can't we be satisfied with a happy medium, where everyone is free to attempt to profit from their works (whether they be software packages, music recordings, books, or whatever) -- yet not get caught up in trying to punish people who make copies of said works when it's not done for profit?

    I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong here, but it seems to me that copyright laws were originally put in place primarily to protect against those who would mass duplicate a publication and attempt to resell it as though they were "official" copies. This behavior clearly denies sales from the original publisher.

    This is quite different from people passing around MP3s, copies of software on CD-ROM discs, etc. so their friends can enjoy them for free.
    In *this* type of situation, the majority of recipients would NOT have paid full retail price for the intellectual property, even if they were prevented from getting the copy. There's no proof that these people constitute lost sales.
    [ Reply to this ]
    Fall of a huge money-sucking industry? Woohoo!
    by CPX on Friday June 02, @04:39PM
    Well, I haveta say, whenever the underdogs rise from the shadows and start striking major blows at corruption, ya got my attention.

    But this article also shows that the musicians are a two-sided group in themselves.

    On one side, you've got Metallica and those who go against Napster and free-trade.

    On the other, you've got Mr. Barlow and those who wish to see free-trade grow.

    This article simply goes to show that groups like Metallica have devolved into nothing more than RIAA puppets. I think I'm gonna get tons of hatemail for it, but before you prep those mail bombs, hear me out.

    Take a pop group, like N'Sync for example. How many computer geeks here are sick of them? *knows just about how many would raise their hands, including himself* So much of the "music business" has become marketing and money.


    And the recording business is exploiting it to its fullest. I doubt that even HALF of the pop culture groups have any talent. What are the odds that all the "musicians" are there for anymore are to be warm bodies? You seriously think that Brittany Spears is anything more than a pretty face and pair, do you really think she actually sings up there?

    No. Let's face it kids, we've helped to make music, which is something many of us do for FUN, into a BUSINESS, and business is not fun.

    Now you all have fun now, y'hear? :)
    [ Reply to this ]
    Misuse of Napster
    by Mieu Sedai on Saturday June 03, @04:00AM
    The thing that bothers me about Napster and other such programs is the fact that way too many people misuse it. Sure, there are music aficionados out there such as myself, who will download MP3s in order to *sample* new music for free. The Internet has allowed me to discover all sorts of music I would never have found if it weren't for digital media. It's allowed me to introduce my friends to obscure bands I like without them having to buy based on my opinion alone.

    Sadly, there are many more who download MP3s without ANY intention of buying the CDs, buying merchandise, attending concerts, etc. I hear this kind of sentiment all the time, especially among my age group (I am a college student, and a comp sci major, by the way). The bottom line is that they use Napster, cd burners and MP3s in general because they like free music. They care little (if at all) about showing their appreciation for the effort put into creating the music they like. I'm very sensitive to this because, even though I am studying to be a programmer, I am also a writer. I am VERY protective of my creations, so intellectual property is an extremely important concept for me. I publish online, so I'm not making any money off my writing, but I simply find it *immoral* for people to reproduce my work without my permission. My writing is part of my *soul*. I don't want unauthorized people messing with what I feel is part of my identity. To me it's a form of RAPE.

    While I think it's unfortunate that the music industry denies musicians all but a small percentage of profit from album sales, it also bothers me that there are so many people out there who will deny musicians even the meager 5% profit because they're just plain cheap. Is it really going to be any different if musicians start depending on donation alone? I seriously doubt there are enough people out there who will actually be willing to pay if they don't have to.

    I have to admit, I might have a narrow view of this whole situation because most of the people I associate with are a particular age. College students usually don't have much money to spare for music in the first place. Still, like so many of my peers have told me, "why pay for something when you can get it for free?" It's THAT kind of mentality that makes me sick, and in my opinion, programs like Napster only encourage it.
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by John Galt (TCC3) on Saturday June 03, @05:45AM
    In agreement with Mr Barlow I must say that the 'Music Industry' has strangled much of the creativity of thousands of prospective artists. I agree that the Music Industry has produced little unique work in and of itself. However, the main purpose I beleive of the music industry is to make money (the ultimate in Morality) but first and formost the Music Industry protects the RIGHTS of the individual artists. As for yourself Mr Barlow you wish to see your music spread freely thoughout this 'gift market'? That is your choice. The artists that have signed contracts with Music Companies were not coerced or forced at the point of a gun, they willingly CHOSE to 'SELL' the creations of their MINDS in LEGAL and binding CONTRACT. For the most part Musicians that have 'MADE a living' in the music industry have worked MOST of their LIVES (meaning focusing all their mental, physical biengs) to become good enough to MAKE money at it. Each person has his or her own reasons why! they chose music, but their personal reasons are not at issue. Each musician CHOSE WILLFULLY to SELL the products of their MINDS in order to MAKE A PROFIT. A profit that will be lessened by the free distribution of their hard earned work on the NET by NAPSTER and it's ILK. How in the name of MANKIND can you even call it 'FAIR USE'??!! It isn't 'FAIR' to those musicians that spent years of agonizing time and effort to create their music, dances, to write, to perfect their playing abilities, to labor over the perfection of their craft! Why is it 'FAIR' to them? How is it 'FAIR'?! They worked with all they had in them to create something never before created in order to make money, to support themselves and their families. How and Why are two questions that you have answered for yourself and your 'ALTRUISTIC' The Grateful Dead. Your opinion is NOT shared by all of the music industry (industry? Why do you 'DE-HUMANIZE' it? An INDUSTRY is a group of PEOPLE that have uni! ted with a simmilar goal, to make money. Making money from! the labor of your own ahrd work, or in contract for distributing the hard work of others thru legal contract is EVIL to you? NO! I say NO! it is NOT evil to earn a living in such an honorable way. The 'Music Industry is a united group of PEOPLE that have formed corporations to distribute LEGALLY and with FULL contractual CONSENT of it's ARTISTs the BLOOD, SWEAT and TEARS of YEARS and LIFTEIMES of hard work on their individual parts. Music industry is NOT a non-living thing, it IS ALIVE. Ithas a life of it's own by contractual consent of it's statement of purpose, ie; to distribute music for it's CONSENTING artists.) To call the music industry EVIL because it is protecting its LEGAL PROPERTY is the most BASE and EVIL concept in itself. Altruism leads to only one final conclusion, DEATH. Death of ambition - who wants to work for years creating music, perfecting music ability only to recieve 'thank you'? Mr Barlow you are a very wealthy man. Why? because you distributed ! your music freely? or let people into your concerts freely? Excuse me sir, but I have never gone to a free DeadHead concert, recieved free music, or other things from your band. I expect to pay for these things. Money is your REWard for your Ability, creativity and hard work. MONEY is a STANDARD. (a GOLD standard is the only real standard but we'll pass on that till there is an article about economics) Your recieved money because people wanted what you were SELLING. To say that you would give away FREELY your music NOW AFTER you have sold MILLIONS of records, AFTER making Millions of dollars, is total HYPOCRICY. So sir, philosophicaly your premise is flawed. The very root of your argument (that Music given freely is good) is flawed. Is it innevitable that the music industry will fail? I do not know. I DO know this. Without the motivation of ACHIEVING MONEY for hard work and creativity this world will fail itself entirely. No wone will work for free. How can you e! xpect musicians to do so? This might be the death toll of ! the music industry as we see it, but I swear by my life and my love of it, that it will be the death toll for all of us. People who 'LOOT' artists ability for free are thieves of the lowest kind. If you enjoy it, pay for it. No one works a 50 hours work week for free, why should artists?

    PS: Seek out Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged for a more complete concept of why a 'gift marktet' is evil.
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by Leigh Sheppard on Saturday June 03, @12:42PM
    Well put. There is little doubt that the music industry is about to experience as big a revolution as hit them when vinyl (what's an LP?) was replaced by CD's. Those Record companies that see the inevitable, prepare for it, and capitalize on it, will survive. Those that try to keep things the same as they have always been will be in good company with those vinyl record manufacturers who failed to see what was coming when CD's began shipping.

    I am not a musician... I am a listener. I appreciate and enjoy listening to all kinds of music, but I have not been what I would consider an "audiophile". I haven't even been a "Fan" of any particular artist, although I have my favorites.

    Up until a few months ago (Before Napster) any music I listened to was on the radio, in the car, at home, at work, while on-hold on the phone. Some music I enjoyed more than others. I knew what I liked, but often couldn't tell you who the artist was, or even what the title of the song was. (FM stations will play 30 minutes of songs before giving you a rundown on what they just played... by then, I'd lost track of which song it was I liked.) I admit, I was not a sophisticated listener... I had probably bought a total of 5 CD's in the past 5 years. The RIAA wasn't making much off me, nor would it lose much if I failed to buy any more CD's. I was quite content to be a casual listener.

    Then I discovered .MP3 and Napster and MusicMatch...

    Things have changed! I no longer watch TV, I browse the Internet for information on my favorite artists...I know that Britney Spears sold 1.7 million copies of "Oops" in its first week, I was excited to find out that Santana was still around after all these years. I know where and when my favorite artists were born. I know the titles of their songs and their albums. I look for and learn about new artists, I even learned "CHER's last name. I know the artists who provide the music I love probably better than I have ever known. Now, when I hear a song on the radio, I drive my wife crazy by telling her the title, the artist and everything else I know about the song. When I hear about upcoming concerts, I pull out my credit card because I want to see the groups that are providing the music I have come to love.

    When I listen to music on the radio, I don't pay anything to anybody. I assume that some of the money generated by advertising revenue for the radio station eventually ends up in the pocket of the artist. But I suspect that most of the money the artist eventually ends up with comes from the "spin off" effect of the exposure that air play on the radio offers. After all, didn't many of the early rockers and country stars "pay" the radio stations to play their music with the hope of getting rich from the increased popularity?

    With .MP3, I can now listen to the same songs as I do on the radio, only I have a much more enjoyable experience in that I can listen to what I want, when I want... to fit the situation or the mood, and at far better quality than my FM station offers. I'm not paying anyone to listen to the music, but then I don't pay to listen to the radio either, and I'm not buying any less CD's than I used a matter of fact, given the right product, I am more positioned to make a related purchase than I ever was.. I'd pay for a Britney Spears concert...(although my kids would never forgive me if I actually showed up at one!) I'd pay for a Shania Twain DVD, and a big screen TV to watch it on, and a surround sound system to listen to it on... I've got the money, I've got the all the Record Company has to do is put on their entrepreneurial thinking caps and figure out how to make money from my renewed interest in popular Music.

    (for the record, I own a fairly comprehensive vinyl record collection acquired in the late 70's and early 80's... but they have been boxed up for nearly 20 years because I have nothing to play them on!)I now have almost all of them on my laptop in MP3 format and am so excited to have my favorites all back and sounding better than ever!)
    [ Reply to this ]
    Re: John Perry Barlow: and the Death of the Music Industry
    by Nate Walker on Monday June 05, @10:41PM
    Their should be no thought of how the music industry can stop the sharing of MP3's because they cannot. It is an impossible thing to prevent, the only prevention would be no internet at all. Its time for them to adjust. As for how to adjust, i have no idea. The super bands of teendom will have there mega concerts (slipknot, n sync, etc) and the residing dinosaurs of rock will have there occasional "comeback". Other than the occasional "ethnic" festival there is no way any artist can make money when there music is free.

    By the way did you hear the band the offspring (will still make money), is selling napster shirts and other merchandise.
    im gonna buy a shirt
    [ Reply to this ]
    What artists make money???
    by patrick on Sunday July 02, @01:07AM
    The vast majority of true artists in this world do not make money from their music. They play music because they love it. Many never set foot on a stage. They are your neighbours and friends who write their own music and play their instruments endlessly on their weekends purely for the joy. And if they had the recording equipment and distribution means I am sure they would be thrilled to share their passion.

    Most people who make money in the "music industry" are "entertainers" and not musicians. There is a huge difference.

    Some of the best and most inspiring music I've ever heard have come from local bands that will never make any real money from this craft. Many are far more talented than the crap I hear on the radio - but they are not on the radio because they lack "contacts", money, an image, a gimic, distribution, exposure, luck, etc.

    If you are really a musician you do it out of love and will be happy to share your music for no other reward than the intrinsic joy that music brings you.

    If you make music simply for a paycheck then you are more concerned about making money than music and that is not what music should be about.

    I say this as someone who has been a musician for over 15 years, who has busked with his guitar case closed (meaning I occasionally play on the streets for free and do not accept "spare change"). I make an extremely decent living, as any intelligent person is capable of, and I do not need to exploit my passion to do this.
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