RE: Open Letter to Metallica

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From: Jim Whitehead (
Date: Thu May 04 2000 - 22:27:12 PDT

> Comon, get serious
> for moment, NOTHING can replace owning the actual CD
> release of an album. MP3 does not provide album-cover
> art, lyric sheets, liner-notes, songwriting credits,
> or other materials that routinely come with the
> purchase of a store-bought CD.

Hmmm. Do I agree with this? I'm not sure. I do like looking at cover art,
though I almost never read any of the liner notes. There was a time, in High
School, when I studied lyrics, but then I realized they were usually
somewhat banal. It would be interesting to know what percentage of the
people who like a song actually know what the lyrics mean. The Macarena song
is a pretty good indicator that it's often not many. I think the popularity
of MP3 could be a strong indicator that this metadata is not very important
to a lot of people.

I think the value proposition of a CD is still the aggregation. Downloading
9 to 12 multi-megabyte files still takes time. If you're making $7/hour, it
pays off. If you're making $25/hour, it barely does. Both assume a sunk
cost of an existing high-speed network connection.

One solution to the Napster problem would be for ISPs (like universities) to
simply pay for an ASCAP license, just like a radio station would. Pass the
cost along to users/students, just like the network costs are.

Or, create a music jukebox, putting *everything* on there. Put one jukebox
at every ISP/campus. Then, force users/students to go to the jukebox to get
their music, viewing ads there. The ads pay for the ASCAP license, and the
hardware. It would also be possible to do a streaming radio station, which
people would actually want to listen to because, being local to the
ISP/on-campus, it would have good sound quality, another possible revenue

- Jim

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