Re: OT: Music

Subject: Re: OT: Music
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- jci -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2000 16:57:26 -0500


>I don't agree with Napster and I don't think that they're doing anything
>but trying to figure out a way to make money off this technology of
>theirs.

And this differs from the artist how? ;{>}

>As an artist myself, I wouldn't want to give up my right to earn money
>from my own creativity just because someone else figures they have the
>right to get a copy of it from someone else for free. At the bottom
>line, if the musicians, producers, recording studio employees, and
>record companies can't make money from CDs and music, then they will
>stop releasing it publically. They may even stop recording it, because
>it costs money to record music. After all, someone has to pay for the
>cost of recording studios, musicians, singers, backups, producers,

The artist usually pays for those, out of the royalties. In fact, you begin
to wonder, after seeing some of the expenses on the contracts, just what
the label is paying, besides their own salaries, that is.

Don't think it's just the old artists that didn't get a good deal.
Backstreet Boys are just one example from today's headliners that have had
the same kind of problems. I remember reading that TLC made about $35,000
each last year, despite the sales numbers on the album.

The bottom line issue in this is twofold:

1) *Is* it illegal? The Home Audio Recording Act language makes that point
cloudy, at best. No money changes hands between either the people offering
recordings and the people acquiring the recordings or between either party
and Napster. That's pretty much the definition of non-commercial use. And
if Napster adds money to the mix, then the issue still remains with
Gnutella and the rest, which are staying away from that. This doesn't apply
to us, as what we do isn't covered under that act.

2) Will the death of the record labels as we know them today, assuming the
Henny-Penny cries are fact and Napster will kill them all, also kill the
ability of an artist to make money off their creations? The evidence on
that is skimpy, but it suggests the manufactured groups will probably
perish, while the artists will continue. Roger McGuinn, for example, has
made more money from a CD he's selling via MP3.com (20,000 copies) than he
did over a "normal" commercial album which sold 500,000 copies. The
interchangeable boy groups/girl groups that make a lot of money for their
manager/packager will probably lose on the deal; if the 7-figure profits
for the manager aren't there, then the drive to manufacture more of them
won't be there. I'll refrain from commenting on whether that would be good
or bad.

This second issue can relate to us, but not as seriously. Those of us who
write third-party books might see some impact, the rest of us probably not.
Steven King's experiment will tell us more than Napster will about that.

Nobody is seriously arguing that illegal activities that cheat artists
should be allowed. But some people are pointing to the legal activities
that cheat artists and saying let's build a new business model.

Personally, I think the doomsayers are partly right. I think the record
labels are caught in the headlights of an oncoming train, and it's an
express, fully loaded and non-stop. It's called the ClueTrain. It's over
for them. We need to get started on the new business model, and make sure
it's fair to everyone, save the parasites.

We need to find a way we can "can" our product, the information we package
so well, in such a way as we can offer it for immediate download, with
regular updates, and still make enough to make it worthwhile.

Question: Do you assume all your customers are thieves, and therefore wrap
your offerings in the biggest, bulkiest, most bullet-proof armor you can
find? Or do you assume your customers are basically honest, and won't rip
you off without provocation, and so deliver it in the open, so to speak?

Where do we start to draw the line?

Have fun,
Arlen
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
----------------------------------------------
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
----------------------------------------------
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.






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