The Offspring forced to back down by Sony

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From: Mike Masnick (mike@techdirt.com)
Date: Tue Sep 26 2000 - 00:11:05 PDT


It doesn't look like this has been posted to FoRK yet, but then again, I'm
like six days behind on my FoRK reading (Jeff, has FoRK posting become your
full time job??).

Apparently, Sony won the battle by forcing the Offspring not to release
their entire new album as MP3s online prior to the actual CD release.
Instead, they're just going to be releasing one song. There goes a great
chance for the music industry to actually see how free downloads could help
CD sales. I'm consistently amazed at how stupidly the music industry has
reacted throughout this entire process. Do they have no one who actually
*thinks* for a living instead of reacts? Why is it obvious to most normal
folks that downloadable music is the future, but the industry seems to
think they can stuff it back in the box? I won't even get into my
favorite, most basic economic arguments for why the music industry is going
to get hurt in more ways than they can imagine (if they ever stopped to
think about it, that is).

Well, at least they're pissing off everyone enough that when they realize
how far behind they've fallen, no one is going to feel sorry for them.

 -Mike

The Offspring buckles, cancels album giveaway
By Reuters
Special to CNET News.com
September 25, 2000, 5:45 p.m. PT
URL: http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-2864971.html
LOS ANGELES--The punk band The Offspring has agreed not to give away its
new album on the Web, bowing to pressure from its record label, which is
embroiled in a landmark copyright lawsuit against music-swapping service
Napster.

Jim Guerinot, the band's manager, today said that The Offspring had agreed
not to follow through with previously announced plans to release its entire
new album, "Conspiracy of One," on the Web prior to its Nov. 14 retail
release date.

Instead, the band will allow one song from the album to be available for
download two weeks prior to the album's release in stores. Offspring's
label, Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Group, said it was
satisfied with the result.

A source close to the situation said a legal battle was averted late Friday
when both sides agreed not to pursue lawsuits. Sony told the band earlier
this month to cancel the giveaway, but the band refused, the source said.

"We are extremely happy that Sony Music has worked out a solution with The
Offspring and its management that supports the integrity of the band's
creative idea and enables them to proceed with their promotion," a Columbia
Records representative said in a statement.

The Offspring said 10 days ago that it would make its new album available
for free on the Web in late October as a promotion, believing it would
boost sales when the CD hits stores Nov. 14.

The band's plan hit a sour note with the recording industry, which says in
its copyright battle against Napster that the song-swapping technology is
hurting sales by enabling fans to get music for free.

Redwood City, Calif.-based Napster's service lets fans swap songs by
trading MP3 files, a compression format that turns music on CDs into small
computer files.

Sony, which distributes The Offspring through its Columbia label, is one of
the "Big Five" labels suing Napster. As a member of the Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA), Sony had little choice but to go to court
and either seek a restraining order or an injunction to stop The Offspring
from going on with the promotion, the source said.

A Sony representative said a single from the new album, "Original
Prankster," will be available for downloading Sept. 29, when The Offspring
launches a contest giving fans a chance to win $1 million by downloading
the single and registering their email addresses with the band.

The Offspring wanted to put MP3 files of its "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)"
single on its Web site in 1998 before releasing it to radio stations, but
Sony opposed it.

The song became a huge hit and one of the mostly frequently downloaded
singles of all time on Napster and other Web sites, while sales of
Offspring's "Americana" 1998 album skyrocketed at retail stores.

In July, a U.S. District Court issued a preliminary injunction ordering
Napster to ban all major label songs from its service, which would have
effectively shut it down. Napster won a last-minute reprieve, and an
appeals court has set Oct. 2 as the date for oral arguments from both sides.

The Offspring is among a growing list of musical acts, including Limp
Bizkit and rapper Chuck D, that have come out in favor of Napster and its
technology.

"The Offspring view of MP3 technology and programmes like Napster as a
vital and necessary means to promoting music and fostering better
relationship with our fans," the band says on its Web site.

Story Copyright 2000 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

 


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