Leinninger.com

February 21st, 2001:
Greedster

Today I had a heated discussion with a number of friends about the impending “changes” to the Napster music sharing system. Here is the thread:

Brian:

I kind of hold the same attitude towards music as I do towards PC games. Try it out for free (crack, illegal copying, or otherwise) but if you like it, just buy the damn CD or game. I liked solder of fortune, so I bought it. It was worth $29.95.

[Napster]

Think about it though… even if you like one song on a CD.. for the number of times that you’ll eventually listen to it, it’s worth the $15 bones or whatever you end up paying. I suppose most people just look at the up front cost and don’t realize that they’ll probably own the CD for several years and listen to it hundreds of times. I’ve definitely gotten $18 bones worth out of my Soundgarden CD.

Better yet, rip the mp3’s and send a check directly to the musician. They’ll love you.

Duane:

I have no problem paying a $5-10 fee to subscribe, but don’t cripple it. Most of the stuff that I download is one-hit wonder stuff… the kind of CDs you don’t want to clutter up your shelves. I bought the Crazy Town CD (butterfly) and it sucks… it wasn’t worth the $17 I dished out for it.

With 20 million users on napster with a $5-10 fee per month the record companies would make more than what they currently make from radio station licenses. The only difference is that they wouldn’t be able to control the radio station playlists or manhandle markets based on the per-capita mainstream.

If you’re hardcore, you can still record digital music from your cable box (music channels) and make MP3s, or just borrow a CD from your friend and rip it. This solves nothing, it’s just holding the industry back.

Personally, I plan to frequent IRC and Hotline servers a lot more and fuck the man.

Duane:

I think that streaming MP3s and personal MP3 players in cars, etc. are the next step. First there was AM radio, the FM in stereo. Now we can make personalized music selections and have access to any song any time. Since “satellite radio” has gone nowhere in the past 10 years, despite promises and a billion articles in Popular Science, the music-listening public deserves something better. CDs are over priced (you can get a friggin’ DVD for the price of most CDs!!!!!!), and often contain a handful of songs that you’ll listen to.

I like buying CDs, especially for bands that I can listen to over and over again. Sometimes I’ll download an MP3 and never listen to it again, I just wanted to hear it ONCE!!! Additionally, you can never be guaranteed that you’ll be able to find the CD you want when you want it (like that Damn “Surface” song, right, PG?). What about new releases? When Pearl Jam was at it’s peak, I couldn’t get the CD anywhere in Grosse Pointe because every store was sold out!

Brian:

My theory: The idea of “singles” off of an album is bullshit. I hate radio because they try to cherry pick songs out of a CD to make money. Would you read one chapter of a book and put it down?

I like the Zeppelin way of thought: They created albums, not songs. So what happened? Zeppelin didn’t really make a dent in the single charts at all, but they sold shitloads of records. That’s the way it needs to be done. I don’t know who Crazy Town is, but they don’t sound amicable enough for me to buy the CD, ya know?

[Lars! Fire Bad!]

I would say that of the CD’s I listen to, I like at least 75% of the songs on each of them. I accomplished this by not listening to songs of the radio and “nitpicking”, but networking within bands. Reading liner notes, finding out who influenced them…etc. Music is a weird thing.. in order to get true enjoyment out of it, you have to put some work into it. If you don’t, you get shallow pop songs by untalented bands that wear thin quick.

Compare it to grabbing a tabloid at the checkout as opposed to reading a good novel. Yea, you can grab the tabloid and skim through it.. easy and quick: But no content. The novel takes some effort and reading time, but I’m sure it’s going to be much more in depth and enjoyable.

Uhm. Yes.

Duane:

So, you’re saying that there a no CDs that only have a song or two that you like? Are you also saying that you can go into any RecordTown and find any song you want? I know for a fact that with your “selective” musical tastes that you can’t find what you want everywhere. If you’re paying $10/mo. you can download what you want, when you want it. I can go on napster right now and download a Dwarves song. I bet my left nut that I can’t saunter into Best Buy and do the same. How about those late nights where you coding your ass off until 4 in the morning and you need a little pick me up. Hit napster and get a song or two… any time… 24/7!

Groups don’t make the real money from CDs, they make it from merchandising, guest appearances, and tours. Album sales are designed to recoup the record labels investment in a band. If you have “x” potential, they invest “x” amount in recording, mastering, publicity, and marketing. Then they expect your album sales to pay them back. Most groups don’t meet the estimates, but the 1% that do make up for the rest with a fat price tag of $15-20 a CD. The little guys get pinched out of the sphincter of the big labels.

Record companies need to let go of the old model and incorporate napster and electronic music distribution into their plans. Rather than pressing a billion CDs and giving half of them away, publicize and release music to radio stations electronicly (192k is better than FM radio quality).

’nuff said.

Brian:

(I think everyone’s probably sick of this by now) But I like all the Dwarves songs.

Any CD’s with one or two songs I like? Honesty? There aren’t. I should say “There aren’t that I know of”. If there are, then that band shouldn’t be making a record and I won’t give them my attention or $$$. I buy into bands, not songs. Hopefully the ones I give my $$$ will turn around and make yet another awesome record. It’s worked for Speedealer and Supersuckers, and Ultra Bide, and …well, you get the idea.

I also don’t buy into the “give me convenience or death” way of life. Look how fat it’s got us so far. If you want something to last and be meaningful, put some work into it. It works with web sites, right? Try it with music!

When purchasing CDs however, you just need to know where to look: Repeat the Beat (Plymouth and Royal Oak), Record Collector, Tower Records in AA, Schoolhouse Records, Half Moon Records… that’s just a start.

Most of the time you can get the CD you want used for 1/4 as much as you’d pay for it new. I got that Mazzy Star CD for $5.00!!! Works like a charm too, no scratches at all. I’m sure you remember after the ‘puter show.. I got like 4 CD’s for $20 bucks total!!

I’m all for the digital revolution. I just think that some things are better off not being not being that way. Sure you can shoot off an email, but it’s just sooo much cooler getting a hand-written letter (got one from Dana yesterday, with a “I Love Mullets” sticker in enclosed.. it’s going on the guitar.)

Give me the gadgets, but don’t take away the subtle things. Going around town looking for a CD with a couple friends is pure bliss. I remember running around town with Brad, Mike and Ingrid looking for that Thrall CD (which I like every song on, BTW)–found it at the AA Tower Records. I ran in there and found it and was jumping around… That was so much fun! For some reason, I just don’t think I would have the same memories downloading them from Napster.

I agree with the money shit. Hence my send a check directly to the musician, or stay away from the major labels (which generally don’t inhabit my musical domain much anyway). Once you’re in the band thing for a while, you start to learn how it works.. and why I feel the way I do. Bands & People(r) don’t pick the music they listen to off of FM, the suited-corporate-drone-A&R guys do. How does that single sound now? I’ll pick my own. It’s soma for the masses, baby! (Thrall quote)

Ok, I have to work now 🙂

Brad:
When I grow up I want to be DW.

All of these are great points. I leave the conclusion of this discussion to you. Can this emerging technology kill new bands and cripple big record companies? Will it allow radio stations to share new music that would otherwise never be heard? Will it cost $9.95 a month and require a contract?

We’ll see…


Further information and related links:

Napster
Speak out against restricting Napster
Artists Agains Piracy
Make Lars happy, he needs the money…

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