RE: More on Metallica vs. Napster

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Damian Morton (
Date: Mon May 15 2000 - 21:29:56 PDT

Hmm, there was a music industry before there was a recording industry, and
there was music before there was industry. Music will survive, even if
industry doesnt.

The problem is this: (follwoing the marxist/lenninist argument given): bands
dont sell their labour like most of us do, or at least they dont only sell
their labour. They are capitalists in the absolute truest sense of the
word - discounting actuall performances, they gain revenue by the control a
means of production with extremely low cost overheads. Yes, yes, they have
to work hard, be creative and suck dick to get ahead, but once there ... the
money rolls in with barely a finger being lifted.

(departing from the marxsist/lenninist view) perhaps its best to view
napster as a market correction delivered to an industry that has survived
through rigid control rather than any positive mechanisms. Maybe the
recording industry will die, but the performance industry will live on.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Daddy Mack []
> Sent: Monday, May 15, 2000 8:12 PM
> To:
> Cc: Mike Masnick;
> Subject: More on Metallica vs. Napster
> Mike, also a FOIBer, wrote this kickass analysis of the Metallica vs. MP3
> battle, and the debate which aired last night between Chuck D
> (pro-Napster)
> and Lars Ulrich (Anti-Napster).
> I believe that Lars does actually have a defensible position, although I
> also think he's ill-equipped to argue the point for any length of
> time. Napster is clearly reorganizing the entertainment business, and
> there is no clearly established mechanism by which artists get
> compensated
> within its system of distribution.
> The argument that Napster can co-exist with the old world music
> machine is
> thin at best. But what Lars fails to realize is that the most threatened
> group is not bands but management, distribution, and promotion --
> assuming
> that the New World Order accommodates the need for artists to eat.
> What we really need to see is a real promise for the support of artists
> under a freely-distributable model. If the use of Napster was
> subscription-based, for example, artists could be paid based on
> the number
> of transactions per month using a mechanism similar to ASCAP/BMI radio
> station licensing. Just a suggestion.
> But the problem of ignorance among artists isn't exclusively limited to
> Lars Ulrich -- he's just one of a precious few who has the
> resources to act
> on his impulse. The music industry is extremely guilty of greed.
> Artists
> in the top 5% garner 90% of the wealth. The music industry itself is
> bloated, however since the emergence of CDs (and lower cost of
> production)
> they have actually catered to fringe music more effectively,
> using Boy Band
> profits to fund the nurturing of underdeveloped talent. This trend seems
> to be reversing, however.
> The MP3 movement has done a piss-poor job of expressing exactly what kind
> of distribution system they propose to compensate artists for the
> "use" of
> their works, one way or the other. The reality is that they are guilty
> parties, too -- exploiting legal loopholes for short-term profit.
> There is
> systemic freedom implicit in the world of the internet and that doesn't
> lend well to control, monitoring, or measurement.
> The argument, streaming from the mouths of the very hypocrites who are
> behind Napster et al, that lesser-known artists get exposed via free
> distribution assumes that they will ultimately benefit because
> this raising
> of their profile will allow them smoother entry into the old-world
> distribution system. This is a ridiculously circular argument if
> the same
> system that brings these artists above the froth is also working to
> undermine the traditional music distribution system by which they are
> ultimately supposed to get compensated.
> Even a Marxist-Leninist analysis (such as mine) of this music industry
> quandary identifies the need to have artists be compensated for,
> essentially, selling their labour.
> So, believe it or not, I think that both sides are acting
> foolishly. And I
> am, despite my obvious love of MP3, not ready to say that free
> distribution
> is an acceptable means by which we can support James Hetfield's
> heroin habit.
> Cat's out of the bag, though.. and I'm glad for it. My heavy use of MP3
> has not appreciably impacted my CD buying habit, though I suspect
> it soon will.
> -Ian.
> >Delivered-To:
> >X-Sender:
> >X-Mailer: Windows Eudora Pro Version 3.0 (32) -- [Cornell Modified]
> >Date: Mon, 15 May 2000 12:51:15 -0700
> >To: Tom Whore <>,
> > "Fork (E-mail)" <>
> >From: Mike Masnick <>
> >Subject: Re: All Abourd The Clueless Train..
> >
> >At 09:22 AM 5/15/00 -0700, Tom Whore wrote:
> > >
> > >Lars Ulrich of Metallica and Chuck D of Public Enemeny/
> > >took the issue of Pro And Con napster to the Charlie Rose
> show. Here is a
> > >summary of the procceedings
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >"If you don't want to pay $16 a CD ... you're greedy and I
> don't want you
> > >as a fan."
> > >-Lars Ulrich, Metallica
> >
> >I just watched the rebroadcast of this show... The thing that got me was
> >how clueless Lars seemed about everything, and not just the
> technology, but
> >economics, human nature, and business.
> >
> >He kept insisting that this wasn't against the end users, but against
> >Napster, since they wanted to go out and IPO and make millions of dollars
> >that should belong to him and the record company. He even says "Come on,
> >this is America, no one does anything for free. They just want
> to IPO and
> >make millions" (that's a paraphrase, but he said all that...
> just maybe not
> >in that order). At one point Lars claims that his argument is
> bulletproof
> >because "someone has to make the money" and the question is whether it
> >should be Napster or the recording industry, and obviously it
> has to be the
> >recording industry.
> >
> >He also says that they encourage people to bootleg their shows
> and all that
> >because they're not perfect copies, but MP3s are, so that's where his
> >problem is... (you notice a pattern of cluelessness).
> >
> >The thing he keeps going back to is "control". He says it about
> a hundred
> >times, and makes it sound as if no one should be allowed to ever
> listen to
> >his music without his personal approval.
> >
> >He also kept emphasizing that all he's really trying to do is start a
> >debate, and his fans should respect him more for that. When
> Chuck D tells
> >him that the tool is great for small bands who would never be heard
> >otherwise, Lars agrees and says he's not trying to stop that, but then
> >explains why Napster should be shut down altogether. As an alternative
> >solution he suggests that Napster should be like the "book of the month"
> >club, where they ask bands if they want to participate, and then they'll
> >send a song to each user each month, and that user has a choice to either
> >pay or "send it back".
> >
> >He also says "If fans like our music they should pay the $16 that the
> >market has determed is the price for our CD". I guess he
> doesn't know that
> >this is an artificially elevated price:
> >
> >
> >
> >And, I guess that he doesn't think the "market" works when it
> says the cost
> >of his MP3s should be zero...
> >
> >Chuck D on the other hand does a good job of saying "this is what's
> >happening, learn to live with it." He makes the point that the
> problem is
> >caused by lawyers and accountants who count "what's not there". That is,
> >they make up all these crazy numbers about "lost sales" of
> people who have
> >pirated materials that they never actually would have bought in the first
> >place.
> >
> > -Mike
> -----------------------------------------------------------------
> 604.306.3615

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon May 15 2000 - 21:42:24 PDT