Let me tell you kids a little story, about a man named Chuck D (I'm sure you hip college kids know who he is). Well, in 1998, he left Def Jam records over a dispute with them because Chuck D posted Public Enemy mp3's on their official website. So ol' Chuck ditched out on his contract and looked to the internet. Chuck D went and formed his own label, Rapstation. They can be found www.rapstation.com . Their focus is of course, internet distributing of albums, as opposed to going the label/distributor route. Well, Rapstation has been around for a little over a year, and Chuck D has sold maybe 5,000 albums, but you know what? In the timespan Chuck D has been distributing his albums via the internet, he's made more money for himself then he did the entire time he was on Def Jam. And he sold millions of albums on Def Jam! Public Enemy made Def Jam what it is today.

You know why he made more money on the internet? Because label musicians get maybe 10 cents per album sold in the record stores. You have to go triple platinum over the course of four or five albums to get rich off that. Like Madonna, or Prince, the King of Pop. 98% of the bands out today make ALL their money not from royalties, but from signing bonuses. Of course, they can be reimbursed from the label at any time, should the company feel contractual obligations have been breached.

It doesn't take a fucking GNU/Linux geek or a fuckin' Rocket Scientist to see that these are clear indications things need to change. The only defense record labels have for their manufacturing of mega-stars (I only have to say one word, Britney), intimidation of artists (You'd be surprised how much a company-appointed "Producer" can influence an artist's work), and general gang-raping of the populace through record sales (Congress is just now passing heat on the RIAA for overcharging for their CD's), THE ONLY DEFENSE THEY HAVE IS "I deserve to rip you off, I have the law on my side". And today in America, it isn't even about having the law on your side, it's more about having a good professional liar, aka lawyer.

You can go on all you want about the record labels, and hence the artists, deserve to earn their royalties from the music. That's bullshit! The label gets all the money, then throws the artists a few scraps, and the machine perseveres, artists and fans left behind. When I said above the only profit a band makes is from signing bonuses, I was lying. There is also the sale of merchandise via "bandsites"(websites, Rockabillia, etc) or at concerts/festivals/alternastores, but this only realistically will apply to ongoing bands, aka the ones that made it through their first "self-titled" album.

Another concept to consider kiddies is the idea of Free Speech vs. Free Beer ...

Napster operates under the Free Beer precept, which is the sort of thing that makes warez, and general pirating tick. But they are also representing Free Speech because the "Napster Battle" represents the record labels flexing their muscles against a perceived threat. This isn't the first time something like this happened.

Supression of technology by corporations is a regular thing. It happened in the early-80's with VHS and BetaMAX, it happend in the mid-80's with cassette tape. And it's bound to happen again. But of course, mp3's and mpeg in general differ greatly from the afforementioned media because of one big difference...you don't have to pay for the media. This is what scares the labels, because in the past they could extract "tributes" from media manufacturers to compensate for piracy and then allow manufacturers to continue distributing their wares. Well, with mpeg that's just not happening, NO ONE profits from it except the consumer, and we just can't have that.

Information by it's nature doesn't seek to be free, true. But it deserves better than what it has currently. It's art, man. Soother of minds, belayer of angst. And they want to keep it for themselves. The only reason you hear music on the radio is because the stations have payed for it, of course they get away with alot in between. You can't turn a deaf ear to these issues with blanket statements like "Artists are suffering" and "Piracy hurts everyone in the long run", because it's just not true, the only people or entities you hurt by piracy are big record labels. If they all crumble tomorrow, it won't be any economic disaster, they compliment the infrastructure, not maintain it. 90% percent of any record company's activity is devoted to domestic endevours, which means if they disapear, it won't any strain on foreign trade, which is the only major concern for our country at this juncture. It's simple simon, people! All that matters is that people are being screwed in the name of company's saying they deserve your money. Well, what if people just stop listening to music? What will the RIAA do, sue America for obstructing their rightful business? Change in the industry and infrastructure is inevitable, it's entropy, man. The industry as it stands is resistant to this change because they know that in the end, they'll be the losers. Well, adapt or die, unless you have a good legal team, of course.

And I don't know about you, but I delight in inflicting every little iode of pain and discomfort in the record industry that I can.

Napster is strong, like zee Bull!

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CaptainSpam: Hell yeah! Back to the days of ftps and IRC serving!