on 26 Jul 2000 20:39:19 -0000

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AW: <nettime> Terror in Tune Town

hi all,

just having come back from my holyday in Croatia, I read the ongoing
controversy about "Terror in Tune Time"  on this list. I've just tried to
point a few very important points an comment on them. Since I'm an
MP3-editor, I'm confronted with those issues on a daily basis.

The prospects of earning money on the Internet are few and unstable for
artist now. Has this been different in the past? No. Let me quote a few
catchy phrases from the ungoing discussion, that prove the erratum in
placing all hope in secure formats or re-establishing the old system: 

"Because what Napster does is theft.  You are taking an artist's
commodity/product and not compensating them for it." [Eric Miller]

No, it's not. At least not in most countries. If you define the term theft
in a legal way, you have to consider the top-notch legal private copies,
that record companies ever since have been trying to undermine by using
copy-secure systems. That's not illegal, but neither are private copies. 

"But we have to stop pretending that every artist is like Metallica and
already making millions.  The vast majority are struggling to make their
voices heard, and we aren't doing them any favors by removing their
ability to make a living doing it." [Eric Miller]

Remove which abilities? If there were some in the old-fashioned system,
why would most musicians struggle for a minimal income?  Stop thinking
that artists will be payed "automatically". Start thinking creatively.
There are so many possibilities. Another important point is: Many
musicians told me, as I work for an MP3-site, that they don't really care
about income. Many, many of them want to make their music heard and don't
give a cotton- picking fuck about any income. Still want to banish
napster?  Making music is creative output. Control over it, fine. But has
money to be involved necessarily? In the first place, music is performed

"Concerts are where the money is." [Jeff Carey]

Agree. And that's why the live performance will become more important,
which means less commercial studio-shit in the long run, and that's only

"in an era where the prevailing commercial approach to intellectual
property is the 'mad-grab, attach it to everything you can' attitude, the
attributes of cultural products, some very abstract and elusive, are one
by one falling into the scope of 'property' protection." [dteh]

Agree. And one more addendum: cultural productions has to reflect the
technical and social structures it is intertwined with. No obligation, but
this naturally happens. Now we have electronic music and sampling, so
access should be granted, simply for the reason that strict copyright
regulations damage cultural production. 

"But I dont like the role of napster and I dont like the idea of sharing
private copies amongst people who have no other interest for each other
than the music. Thats different in "real live"." [Heiko Recktenwald]

Good point there. What an absured idea: forbid the exchange of cd-samplers
among friends. Far less absurd: Forbid the exchange of the same samplers
among strangers. So why not pay for Napster?  Say, something between 10 to
20$ / month, track who's songs are exchanged, pay them
might say, there will be other free networks. But the user-base of Napster
is strong, there are so many songs - I would pay instantly. But again:
Money is not the main criteria in here. It's the ideological background
that makes we wonder. Do musicians have no other intents than to actually
earn bunches of money distributing their so-so valuable tunes? Do they
want to "market" their "products" or do some just want to be heard? What
does the rest of you think? Any musicians on this list? 

"we want people to be able to make a living doing things like writing, or
composing, or performing, or painting, or whatever.  but i think the
reduction of that problem to copyrights and intellectual property actually
avoids the fundamental issues:  why do people need to create and/or
experience philosophy, art . . . culture . . .  in the first place?"
[Jeffrey Fisher]

I completely agree with your arguments. Small addendum: Consider the
following: Sales are no measure for whatever "valuability"  of music. They
don't have to be. It's okay if just very few people like your music,
perfectly okay. Diversification is not only made possible through the
internet, it's FORCED. (Just look at all the stupid http://my... Domains.
What the recording industry has done again and again was to exploit
subcultures, turn them into something commercial and then drop the issue
and switch to the next reservoir. This is not gonna work any more in the
long run - and that's fine. 

But these are just debatetable aspects. In the first time, dear
nettime-avantgardist-thinkers, what ya expect? Roll back? Keep the old
system alive? Build digital crooks to "secure" music?  Sound wants to be

btw: I'm extremely bored by extending the communist manifesto to
everything. We're not talking about the proletariat using napster to
liberate itself from recording industry. This comparison is so weak, and
therefore it sucks big time. 

-> "Lars Ulrich, the drummer for Metallica, said downloading
    music  should not  be allowed because  it would bankrupt 
    musicians, and that, of course,  is the job of drugs and
    [Host Bill Maher, summing up Lars' testimony on Napster]

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