on 26 Jul 2000 18:28:28 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] 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 BECAUSE YOU WANT TO.

"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 good.

"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 free.

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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