David Gans (tnf) Fri 25 Aug 00 15:11
-- because they have all they want for free, not because they don't like my stuff. I thought I'd better add that part.
"Is that a British publication?" (jdevoto) Sun 27 Aug 00 18:43
I think a significant portion of the people who download music - yours, for example - for free won't want to pay for it when it's offered for sale. But I think the number to look at is not "How many people will want it for free who won't pay?", but "How many people who would have paid, won't pay when it's also offered free?" Someone who gets it for free but wouldn't have bought the music anyway if you hadn't offered the freebie doesn't matter to your bottom line one way or the other.
lameness is celestial (chel) Mon 28 Aug 00 00:33
Being a manager of a developing artist we struggle with the same questions - but here's the strategy we use, which seems to work really well for us right now - He's got free music out there and available from a 5 song EP he recorded. We have this up on tons of sites (including when my computer is on, Napster) for people to download freely with links to his website. What we find most often is that people WANT to give him money. They'll listen to the free stuff, and then come to his shows. And offer us money for the CDs we mainly give away. Just tonight, in fact, someone came up to us at a free show and asked us where his tip jar was - we really didn't think to put one out - for us it was more an exposure thing - but he offered him $5 - just for playing a few songs on his guitar! Anyway, I think there are an awful lot of people who will pay to hear good music - people who understand that we have to support good artists, or they won't be able to be artists. I really have no information about whether the majority of people are like this - but some of the research I've seen seems to point that way. In general, though, I don't feel that an artists music should be made available without his/her/its consent.
Rafe Colburn (rafeco) Mon 28 Aug 00 10:53
Dan Bricklin (the author of VisiCalc) compares the software industry's efforts to combat piracy to the recording industry's efforts: http://www.bricklin.com/softwarepolice.htm
The salon stopped responding (rocket) Tue 5 Sep 00 12:30
Scour.com, considered to be the most likely successor to Napster, is essentially closing up shop due to an investor pullout. The pullout is based on fear of further legal action and existing lawsuits against Scour, Inc. "Citing a lack of funding as a result of ongoing lawsuits leveled against it by such entities as the MPAA and the Recording Industry Association of America, Scour Inc. laid off 52 of its 64 employees Friday. The remaining 12 are the executives and the key technical staff needed to maintain operations...." Doubtless, Ovitz could find other investors. But it appears that he is actively divorcing himself from the whole area. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/bpihw/20000904/en/under_fire_scour_lays_off_staff _1.html
The salon stopped responding (rocket) Wed 6 Sep 00 15:45
looks like mp3.com is toast. crushed by Universal/Seagram, the last link in the licensing chain. In a way it's comical ("who is last -- Universal? okay, you guys hit them with the big stick after we've all collected 80 million in settlements"). http://www.nylj.com/links/mp3ruling.html they may survive if they win the appeal. But $1 billion is twice their market cap... or, was before the stock dove 30% in after-hours trading. Napster, inc., isn't subject to these measures as they never actually ripped any mp3s.
Gail Williams (gail) Wed 6 Sep 00 16:07
The salon stopped responding (rocket) Wed 6 Sep 00 16:09
It REALLY looks like collusion. But how would you prove that in a court of law (Mike)?
The salon stopped responding (rocket) Fri 8 Sep 00 17:38
5 interesting things about this week's climate 1. Scour.com is toast. Only 12 employees left, which makes Angry Coffee a larger organization (!). 2. Mp3.com is so toasted that this morning Robertson announced that he would re-open my.mp3.com, a suicidal move that seems to have no upside (anyone? is there an upside here, or is Robertson just punch-drunk and surly?) 3. Gnutella and Freenet don't work. 4. Napster is probably going be taken down in q4 2000, although this is debatable and it is an interesting legal debate. 5. The mp3board.com lawsuit threatens to make links illegal in some cases. So the situation has really changed. VC won't touch the bad mojo of the 5 leaders in this space. No funding means no product. It looks to me like the record labels are winning. They will simply release their own version of a digital distribution network and sue everyone else into the ground.
Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Fri 8 Sep 00 17:58
I wouldn't count Freenet out entirely. Free software often takes a long time to get right, and I think the hackers behind it had a rather naive initial design. But if they're smart and stubborn enough they'll get it right eventually.
The salon stopped responding (rocket) Fri 8 Sep 00 18:15
Agreed, Brian. But Clarke's most promising project isn't actually FreeNet; it's that thing he's building for the major labels, Uprizer. At least, I hope he's building it for the majors, or he'll suffer the same fate as scour & mp3.com. I had great hope for mynapster, very cool product. but now that they're "legit," there's someone to sue. My money is still on the hacker community to produce the best solution. On the open source front, some groovy stuff: Vorbis (open source alternative to the .mp3 format), eTantrum (watermarking that actaully works and even makes sense) both show tremendous promise. But it always gets back to funding vs. time. Given enough time, hackers with no money will probably produce a solution, like a finished Gnutella of FreeNet. But there is no time. We are in a footrace.
Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Fri 8 Sep 00 18:57
There's plenty of time. It's not a company and there's no burn rate. It doesn't need to be first. (In the meantime the commercial vendors make money.)
David Gans (tnf) Fri 8 Sep 00 19:59
>The mp3board.com lawsuit threatens to make links illegal in some cases. Can you say more about this, please? >eTantrum (watermarking that actually works and even makes sense) I have heard a little about watermarking. I even broadcast some watermarked material nationally and asked listeners to send tapes in to the company so they could see if it was working (the answer was yes, if I recall correctly). How will watermarking help the creators retain the ability to earn money with their work?
Chip Bayers (hotwired) Fri 8 Sep 00 20:27
Given the entertainment industry's track record with Web sites, I think it's going to be a long, long, long time before the labels build an effective distribution network. Even with their backs against the wall. Let's not forget that scour.com was, despite it's "pirate" reputation, a Hollywood- driven effort. As was Pop.com, which Dreamworks killed off before launch this week. I know the latter wasn't intended to be a music site, but its an example of how incredibly hard the Net is and has been for the big media companies.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 8 Sep 00 20:54
All I can say is alt.binaries.sounds.mp3 ...
Rafe Colburn (rafeco) Sat 9 Sep 00 07:31
I agree with the sentiment that the open source hackers can take as long as they want. There's no race for them, and as soon as they're finished, if their product is better than whatever the major labels offer (for users), then people will flock to it. If they can't come up with anything better than what the major labels offer, then users will have won anyway, because the major labels will be offering something pretty darn good. I think that now that people are acclimatized to Napster, their standards have been set high enough that they won't settle for any old bullshit alternative. I tried out Napster again the other night, and it works really freaking well. The music library is huge, too. The Motley Fool had a good column on this stuff the other day: http://www.fool.com/portfolios/rulemaker/2000/rulemaker000907.htm Here's an excerpt: This excellent New York Times piece, "Is Litigation the Best Way to Tame New Technology?" starts with a long quote from Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America (the guy's suing because their DVD encryption was weak enough to be broken by a 16-year-old). He said that, "The growing and dangerous intrusion of this new technology" threatened the entire industry's "economic vitality and future security," and further that the new technology "is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston Strangler is to the woman alone." This speech was given in 1982, and he was referring to the invention of the video cassette recorder, without which none of us would be renting movies. Video rentals are a SIGNIFICANT portion of a modern movie's overall revenue, and they fought tooth and nail to keep it from happening.
whatsamatterU (dwaite) Sat 9 Sep 00 08:04
Some of the Industrial age laws do not work in the new gae of information. While many judges are clinging to the older laws based upon even older laws, if coblers had the same clout as the recording industry in the industrial revolution, we wouldn't be buying nike's, we'd still be buying shoes from a localobler.. Some may argure that this isn't such a bad thing.... on the other hand, eventually the shift is going to happen. we are stil at the very tip of the iceburg... It's a shame that corporations seem to have more clout than the individual in todays political climate. same as it ever was........
David Gans (tnf) Sat 9 Sep 00 09:59
Great that someone dug up Valenti's stand against VCRs.
David Gans (tnf) Sun 10 Sep 00 10:39
Reposted from a similar discussion elsewhere in the WELL: In the Deadhead/jamband subculture where I earn my living, there is a pretty sizeable faction that has pretty much grown up with the belief that music is "free." It is recorded (with permission) at concerts and traded (with a huge assist from the Internet) freely and widely. I have no research I can point to, but copious anecdotal evidence suggests that to a significant segment of the population, the only music that is valued is that which they don't have to pay for. It is axiomatic in the Grateful Dead culture -- promoted by the band's own lathologically self-effacing remarks over the years -- that the studio albums are lame and live tapes are where the action is. Even the official live albums (with the exception of "Live Dead") get a (largely deserved) bad rap. The Grateful Dead subculture is shrinking in the years following Garcia's death, but the "jamband" culture that sprang up in the Dead's wake is growing. Digital technology is a huge factor in that: when the music was distributed on cassette, you could only get a couple of generations away from the master before hiss and speed problems rendered the music unlistenable. Now, with cheap CDs, there are distribution "vines" and "trees" that spread literally thousands of clean copies of a given show. It's great promotion for the artists, up to a point. I am one of those artists -- a guy who loves my solo stuff just passed out 50 CDs to random people on the Furthur tour, at his own expense, just because he wants to evangelize my stuff. But will it help me sell CDs?
The salon stopped responding (rocket) Mon 11 Sep 00 11:32
More on the legality of hyperlinks: Mp3board.com does not host any music files, nor do they host a DB of pointers to files, as Napster does. The company merely faciliates the posting of links to mp3 directories and files by individuals via message boards. The RIAA's argument and the basis for thir lawsuit is essentially "don't try to get off on a technicality. Your site exists to aid and abet infringers of copyright law." A fair point (they sure chose the wrong name, didn't they?). However, the law is all about technicalities. There's another case in the mix down in Florida, and the preliminary results suggest the possibility of liability for "bad" links. If linking is sometimes illegal, it's going to do weird things to the way we build Web sites. So this is a case where the RIAA, in its efforts to meet its own agenda, is actually helping to enact legislation which affects everything from free speech on the web to the way we include links on the sites we build. it's pretty scary.
Rafe Colburn (rafeco) Mon 11 Sep 00 11:40
Basically it's an effort to make the web not the web.
Trey Dunbar (slipknot) Mon 11 Sep 00 14:45
Re: 69 "But will it help me sell CD's?" I would suggest that David is selling "music content", not CD's. I think that consumers are making a very loud statement that the current pricing ($15+) and delivery mechanism (CD's) of music content is no longer seen as being an appropriate value for their dollars. Absent pricing and delivery which is seen as appropriate, consumers will choose available delivery mechanisms that entail no cost simply because they do desire the content. That does not mean that most consumers will continue to use "no cost" delivery mechanisms if a pricing/delivery system is developed which is viewed by consumers as being appropriate. A free marketplace will eventually determine what pricing is perceived as being an appropriate value by consumers. I suspect that a price of less than $1 per song, coupled with on demand availability, will be considered to be an appropriate value by most consumers. Put that together with some type of copy protection and I think we would have a workable system. Although there would still be hackers who would break the copy protection, I believe that the vast majority of consumers would use the authorized delivery system and be more than willing to pay what they consider to be an appropriate price. By not aggressively developing such a system, the labels are doing a great disservice to artists. By not listening to what their customers are saying, the labels are doing a great disservice to artists. The labels are not protecting artists, they are screwing them (as usual) by not responding to the marketplace. This should not be a fight between labels and consumers or a fight between artists and consumers. It should be a fight between labels and artists because what the labels are doing is ultimately a great disservice to the artists.
The salon stopped responding (rocket) Mon 11 Sep 00 14:47
There are some good links to recent legal decisions that threaten to impede the Internet's natural growth in this article: http://www.suck.com/daily/2000/09/08/ "But the decisions are no less legally binding for being silly: As of last month, domain names aren't property and thereforecan't be stolen; the ability to decrypt a DVD corresponds directly to the intent to pirate it; and linking to a program declared illegal is itself illegal. The legislative branch has kicked in its own contributions, too: The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and UCITA (Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act) are wonders of embarrassing corporate glad-handling, all at the expense of users." No comment on the article itself.
Death to Tortureshoes! (sd) Tue 12 Sep 00 11:04
I'm in a peculiar situation compared to David. My primary age demographic is in the mid to late 40s. I put some MP3s of a few of the songs from the new cd on our website and sent out a press release and got over 900 downloads of the newest song in one week. Another MP3 got 180 downloads which is about the number of hits we used to get for the whole site in a month. We've gotten airplay on 80 NPR affiliates and interest from another syndicated show that is in 53 markets as well as a handfull of individual stations. As a group that has been taking in under 20 grand a year, we were anxious for the larger market and consider the cds to be part of our marketing effort. Also, since our song parody material is fairly topical, we don't mind giving it away to create interest. There is a Bobby Knight number written as of yesterday for example.
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 12 Sep 00 11:22
Please share the link to that... if you don't mind!
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