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  #1 (permalink)  
Old June 13th, 2000
Join Date: June 8th, 2000
Posts: 9
Andy McGee is flying high
Question Who will play for free?

Speculation has it that profitable music has had met its end. What do you think about that? Will you continue to buy CD's, or will you just get your music for free off of napster? If no one ever bought another CD which artists do you think would keep playing, and which would stop when the money stopped rolling in?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old June 14th, 2000
Join Date: June 14th, 2000
Posts: 1
tundro is flying high

As a person who works in the music industry (for a large a quite profitable record label), I have an "insiders" view of the argument. After reading the article about whether or not the period of "profitable music" has come to an end, I really admit that it looks like the article was written by someone that does not have a good understanding of the music industry -- both from the perspectives of the musicians and the labels. The sale of recorded music will continue to be profitable for several reasons.

First, there is too much time and money invested in recorded music (and other types of media) for the creators and marketers not to seek a return on their investment. All of the users of Napster, Gnutella, and similar programs use it because they like the music. Its a sad reality, but if you take away the profit motive from record music -- you don't have any more recorded music to download. Its that simple.

Second, I keep seeing the statement made that recorded music will no longer make money, so artists will make their income from touring, merchandising, and sponsors. Ok. Anyone who has ever spent time playing in a band (or knows anyone who has), knows that this is a farce. Given the costs involved in a tour (both big and small), the profit margins are extremely slim. Most bands make money from selling records, not from touring. Same goes for merchandise. The costs involved in making the amount of merchandise needed for a band to make a living off of it is staggering. If the musicians were to follow this business model, then you would have multinational corporations paying them to merchandise their t-shirts and hands. This would be horrible for two reasons. First, there simply isn't as big of a market for band merchandise as their is for recorded music (so, no profit = no interest from multinational corporations = no merchandise). Second, even if there was enough money to be made here... you'd still end up with a handful of uber-famous bands, who are backed by large corporations, whereas the "indie" bands would still be poor and unable to sell anything.

Third, believe it or not -- there are people out there that think stealing music is wrong, don't have an Internet connection (or if they do, its too slow), or just rather have a physical representation of the music (I'm a record collector. I LIKE holding a CD/LP, looking at the artwork, etc.). As long as there are people like this, music will be profitable.

... ok, there are many other reasons why music will continue to be profitable for a very long time. However, since this is already becoming a very long message I'll cut it short here. My point? Well, I agree that record sales will be hurt in the long run by trading of songs -- just like software sales have been hurt by software pirates. However, just like the software industry (where money is still made by the billions), the record industry is far from crumbling. The RIAA will just have to get used to the idea off "acceptable losses," and continue to work at preventing it (oh, and expect them only to get meaner from here on in).
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old June 15th, 2000
Join Date: June 8th, 2000
Posts: 9
Andy McGee is flying high

I highly agree! I think that there will always be a market for music, for I myself have a larger CD collectiong than MP3 collection, and speaking personally, there have been many songs I heard on the radio, then downloaded the MP3, and THEN went and BOUGHT the CD! So I am a personal beliver that MP3's stimulate record sales. Thank you for your insight, from a inside point of view!
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old June 22nd, 2000
Posts: n/a

I also will download MP3s, looking for most from an album, if they're good, then I'll get the album, if not, then I might keep the 1 or 2 I like and skip the album. The point is, I get to choose whether I want this persons music from ALL his songs, not just the one I hear on the radio. I personally find it disappointing to get a CD and find alot of crap or filth on it, when the one played on radio was really good.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old June 22nd, 2000
Gnutella Admirer
Join Date: June 15th, 2000
Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States
Posts: 73
Yytrium is flying high

Ok, music sucks anyway, and if this is the end (should it continue), this is what I propose:

We must strive to rip, encode, and protect the many many CDs already in existance. We'll create a distributed database, very much like DNS, but with search queries that translate to results, instead of domain names to IPs. We'll call this distributed database, appropriately, NORIAA (Network Organization of Recorded Internet Audio Accumulation). It will be run and maintained by only a select priviledged few. Since I usually have good judgement, I elect myself to be on this prestigious board of administrators. We will only be known and referred to by our online monikers, to not would be "contempt of administrator," resulting in an immediate and lengthy banning from the NORIAA database. What do you think?

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  #6 (permalink)  
Old July 11th, 2000
Posts: n/a

When you consider that everyone in the music and film business sooner or later rips off the artists anyways, that industry is in for a rude awakening. It used to be that musicians had to pay $50,000 and up for a good sound recording system, now you can do a pretty good job with $1000 worth of software and hardware. Some people do it with $100 worth of stuff, and love it.

When you get rid of all the middlemen in that industry, and the excessive profit margins, then the artists will get more. For a legal title to all the good tunes I have, I would consider paying $0.50 USD to each artist directly through a web site for each tune I have. At about 1000 tunes, that's not a bad take for the music industry if about 10 million people did the same. But I am not paying for some exec to get a jag because I don't have one, and I am the exec for a high-tech company. I work for a living.

Hollywood et al can blow it up their nose.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old July 13th, 2000
Posts: n/a

Hans, the problem is that most value in music is in the marketing! The reason people buy so many Limp Bizkit records is the label/distributor made them a big name. There are *tons* of bands on right now that are unsigned and offer songs for download for cheap, but no one bothers trying them out because they haven't heard of them. Look at what gnotella searches return and it is primarily major label music - not because it's the best music but it's the music people want. The marketing elevates the band.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old July 27th, 2000
Posts: n/a

A copy of the letter sent to a journalist (David Coursey) who blasted Napster.

I would like to say I disagree wholeheartedly with your article on Napster. Calling them a "greedy bunch of corporate raiders trying to make their fortune off the property of others" is a completely wrong and a totally misinformed opinion; their service is free. Next time do some research before you throw out insults with no basis. However I think the statement that Napster is an easy target is correct. RIAA is threatened by any service/individual/technology that could take even a penny from their incredibly large multi million dollar bank account, and it's time they realized that no matter how hard they try to control the distribution of their music, SOMEONE out there is going to find a way to get around their barbed wire electric copyrights. They can't shut down everyone. There are still services out there like and a host of other easily downloadable programs that allow file swapping amongst users or directly from the service itself. And they aren't limited to mp3's. There are a few out there that make images, programs, and other copyrighted materials to be leaked out into the non-paying public.

Basically, I feel that Napster itself is not to blame for the way users were using their service. Yes, they could have made more of an effort to monitor which users were abusing the technology, i.e. copying a CD and turning it into an mp3 for distribution, but basically they weren't the ones who were violating the precious copyrights of the very not hurting artists.

Another point I'd like to make on that subject, is, how is Napster any different from a library?? All those books are copyrighted, and the authors are definitely losing money by having their books available for free to an unlimited number of readers. But you don't see them crying foul and suing every library that distributes their materials. Or how about the radio? And people have been recording songs off the radio for years but no one has a problem with it.

Also, Napster does allow for unknown artists to have their music heard. Perhaps RIAA feels threatened by the fact that people no longer have to beg producers to give them a contract which is more beneficial to the producers than the artists. Some people out there are willing to share their art for free. Unlike the artists like Britney Spears, who I hope you never have the unfortunate experience of hearing live; she can't sing a note but as long as she looks good the music industry has ways of making her electronically sound good. And she's making millions.

The other thing I'd like to know is, how does the RIAA figure they're losing money? I'd like to see some actual numbers supporting that "fact". Almost everyone I've talked to has the same opinion that I do, that buying a CD is a waste of money. First of all, they're way overpriced. Second, there are usually only one or two songs on the entire CD that we like and after about 3 weeks we're sick of them and the CD goes on the shelf to collect dust. If we download a song from Napster we listen to it for a few days then delete it. If we really like the music of the artist we go buy the CD (the quality of mp3s usually isn't great), and people flock by the thousands to see these artists live. No money lost there. If they are really concerned about the mp3's why don't they make a program themselves and charge a fee for it? I wouldn't mind paying 5 or 10 bucks a month.

Also Napster provides exposure for the artists that aren't well known because they aren't pushed in our faces by the industry like the boy bands and the breasty teen girls are. We hear a song somewhere, like it, and download that and a few others by that artist. It provides free exposure to the underappreciated artists.

I would just like to say I think you and all the other bandwagon RIAA fans should stop treating Napster like the enemy. You act as if Napster is the technological equivalent of an international ring of thieves going into music stores all over the world, stealing CD's and distributing them on the black market causing the "talented" artists to starve and reducing them to street performers relying on the kindness of strangers to drop a few coins in their guitar cases. Give me a break.

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  #9 (permalink)  
Old July 29th, 2000
Join Date: July 28th, 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 23
DarthGummiBear is flying high

Wow shannon, you really hit that nail right on the head. And you also pretty much summed up the feelings I've been having about the RIAA(and their enthusiasts) in general lately.

What we really need is a more techological approach to the music industry in general, allowing the artists to organize their own advertising, without having to pay an arm and a leg for it. Then they actually have the power to negotiate contracts with publishing agents if they so wish.

As to the industry losing money to mp3 users, i don't think this is the case because i know that a lot of people like myself wouldn't be buying the music anyway, even if it wasn't available for download, simply because we don't have the money for it. So it's not like they are losing any money from me(or others like me), anyway.

The industry officials are the ones who seriously rip off the artists, as outlined by Courtney Love in a recent article. Even with selling a million albums, the artists themselves make a pittance compared to actual sales, simply because of the contracts forced down their throats by the labels.

So I say support mp3's, and support the creation of an artist-driven rather than label-driven music industry.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old July 31st, 2000
Join Date: June 30th, 2000
Location: West Chicago, Illinois, USA
Posts: 5
vawlk is flying high
Thumbs down

I am totally willing to pay $1 per song that I d/l and maybe 50 cents for the old stuff that I like. Until the record companies give me that option, I will be downloading from napster...its that easy.

I'm just sick of $17 for 1 good song on a crappy CD.

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