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The Truth About File-Sharing

JonKatz posted more than 13 years ago | from the -not-thieves-but-consumers- dept.

Music 322

A series of new studies of Napster users suggests everything you've been reading about music file-sharing systems is baloney. You're not thieves and pirates, it turns out, but marketing pioneers and music lovers quite willing to pay for music. These new stats suggest that file-sharing could have enormous implications for the selling of content, culture and information online, none grasped by dunder-headed corporations like the record labels. They are also a reminder not always to believe what you read. (Read more).

According to the January issue of American Demographics, a magazine which hardly supports radical copyright-infringers, music sites like Napster have created "powerful new opportunities for music marketeers." Despite the best efforts of the greedy record companies and a few recording stars -- Metallica and Dr. Dre come readily to mind -- to alienate a new generation of music lovers, recent figures prove that file-sharing services actually generate sales and put more money in artists' pockets.

This has enormous implications for those making movies, publishing books, or creating any kind of saleable entertainment. It suggests that the Net may work best as a three-step process: first connecting customers with culture, then generating interest in cultural and informational offerings, then keeping track of their tastes through sophisticated new digital marketing research. Theoretically, file-sharing approaches could go beyond shopping to stimulate interest in education, business, even politics, if the music experience is any indicator. And it sure ought to be.

The relationship between new decentralized software programs -- Napster, Freenet, Gnutella, P2P -- and such issues as copyright infringement, artists rights and conventional retailing is complicated. Legal, political, educational and other institutions haven't begun to sort through them. But clearly the music industry's panicky and greedy overreaction will prove one of the most dunder-headed, short-sighted responses in recent business history. The industry couldn't have been more off-base, dishonest or greedy.

Nearly 75 percent of college students have downloaded music from the Net, 58 percent of them using Napster, according to a recent study by Greenfield Online, a Connecticut research firm, and YouthStream Media Networks. Nearly two-thirds of the 1,135 college students surveyed say they download music as a way to sample music before buying it. The proliferation of online music is introducing consumes to artists they don't know, in almost precisely the same way department stores offer samples of food, perfume and other retail items. A survey by Yankelovich Partners for the Digital Media Association found that about half the music fans in the U.S. turn to look for artists they can't or don't hear in other venues, like radio. Nearly two-thirds of those who downloaded music from the Web say that their search ended in a music purchase. Music labels should have been donating money to Napster users, not threatening to sue them and chase the site off of college campuses.

And the much-libeled Napster users are dedicated music buyers, quick to reach for their wallets. Jupiter Research says it found that 45 per cent of online music fans are more likely to have increased their music purchases than online fans who don't use Napster. The Jupiter study of Napster users found that 71 percent of users say they're willing to pay to download an entire album.

Interestingly, reports American Demographics, the Jupiter Study of Napster users found that 71 percent of those who use the site said they were willing to pay to download an entire album. But in a Greenfield Online survey of 5,200 online music shoppers, nearly 70 per cent say that they have not paid -- and will not pay -- for digital music downloads. This suggests that subscription-based services may be more likely and successful than a per-song fee system.

This potentially revolutionary model for marketing culture is about to be dismantled by the new partnership between Napster and Bertelsmann, which is giving the file-sharing site more than $50 million to develop software that will charge users for music. Bertelsmann says it will keep a part of Napster "free," but watch for yourself to see how quickly it shrinks.

These figures, remarkably, demonstrate that almost every assumption about the free music movement, reported in most media outlets and used as justification for a wave of new legislation and legal action like the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, is dead wrong:

  • Most music downloaders aren't thieves or pirates but music lovers willing to pay for music.
  • Artists have made more money from this new generation of music lovers than they would have without them.
  • The true significance of file-sharing wasn't an end to intellectual property, but an exciting new way to develop markets.
  • Record companies and other corporations should be supporting file-sharing sites ratherthan hiring lobbyists and lawyers to intimidate, sue and enrage new and eager customers. College students have nearly universal access to broadband, and are tomorrow's mainstream consumers. The more information and culture they have access to, the likelier it is that they'll sample new venues, products and information.
  • Evidently, file-sharing isn't a dangerous menace but an effective new method of disseminating -- and selling -- content, and culture. Aside from these new findings, the Napster experience also suggests that when it comes to dealing with the Net, businesses often have no idea what's good for them.

And oh, yeah. Don't believe what you read about yourself.

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Short-sighted (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1416074)

This might have some meaning in today'w world, where the most popular format has an inferior quality and the bandwidth is generally low, but what happens in a world of near-infinite bandwidth and perfect reproduction? Why bother buying any music if there is a cable into the back of your stereo that allows you to play any song anytime?

Duh! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1416077)

The Record Labels dont want to change their distribution model. End of story. They will take anyone and everyone to court so they don't have to.

Its an old business model, and no one in the Recording Industry can figure out a way to make MORE money than the current model.

*cry*

$250,000... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1416078)

is the stock signing bonus for any band on a major label contract. After all, this is technically a loan from the Label Heads. What does it cover? Limo rides for the Million Dollar Producer to the studio to turn a few knobs and make bands sound good. It covers the first part of tour support for some acts (note: I said first part, of about 100 parts). It covers the pressings that will end up in the stores and all of the merch that's needed (posters, handbills, etc). The list goes on, and it's rather tiring.

What does the band get out of $250,000? Well, some would say fame and fortune. Not true. After paying back a $250,000 loan from a recording contract, then and only then, if the band is smart, will they begin to actually make money. This is only after the supposed, or in many cases: hopeful success of the release. By the way, a band is most likely going to receive only about 8% of your $16 that you spent an the CD. The rest goes back to the GODS.

Why are record companies and Some bands against file sharing. It's a direct middle finger to the entire empire that has been built about making money for themselves off of my art. I'll refer back to $250,000 one more time. What does each member receive for a paycheck out of that? Roughly $2000 (that's on a rough yearly salary). This depends of course on how many members are in the band. You think "Yeah right, these guys are signed, they're rich" Bullshit. Do you know how many nbands go broke in a year trying to pay that 1/4 $million back? It's a loan, not a gift.

File Sharing undermines the ultimate goal of most record companies. It's allowing the bands to recognize a little success as an independent venture and not be a part of a conglomerate. As for the signed bands doing well? The ones who get pissed about open sharing of music files I refuse to listen to any more. They are in it for the money, not the music.

I'm a devout sayer of free files for all. Listen to the stuff. If you like it and want to buy it to have for your very own, then I'll point you to where you can buy hard copies of it. It's simple. Bands like Metallica (have been listening to them since about 1985) I refuse to support any more. I have helped them get rich. Filthy rich. And they turn around and tell me to screw myself? No screw them, see if EVER buy another album ever again. Not to mention, their music really hasn't been any thing earth shattering in the last ten years any way. Thank You. Buh Bye.

Re:Yeah, but what about the artists' say? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1416079)

> What matters is that Napster has removed the artist's say in what happens to their music

This would only be true if they actually had any say in what happens to 'their' music. Since in 99% of all cases they sign over all rights to a recording company, they have no say in what happens to their music anyway.

Re:Ugh. (1)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416082)

You forgot "Geeks"

The geeks of Columbine manufactured media culture in cultured technology media geeks.

It's all about the geeks. And the culture.

Big Media (1)

JonKatz (7654) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416086)

But unlike most companies, this foot-shooting habit doesn't seem to bring these companies down or even slow them up. They just continue to acquire and monopolize culture..Still, these stats are very surprising. There are several credible ones from several different sources and they all add up to the conclusion that these companies have been hurting artists as well missing the whole point of file-sharing.
But the interesting thing is that these companies don't suffer any consequences for this dunderheadedness. In the Corporate Republic, they just get bigger and fatter.

Re:Napster could have been a great marketing tool (1)

um... Lucas (13147) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416091)

They could have emailed an offer to buy their CDs to every Napster user that downloads their music.

Except Napster wasn't created with the desire to actually help marketing efforts. It's only purpose is to allow for distribution of music. You don't need a real email address, let alone to supply a physical address so that bands can reach you. And they apparently don't have the infrastructure in place to track files. It's probably intentional, so that bands can't actually request a file no be allowed to be shared over their network, but at the same time, if they can't do that, they can't supply to Metallica or anyone else for that matter, a list of people who are interested in their music.

The right to be DUMB (1)

Sly Mongoose (15286) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416094)

This article lauds the benefits to be realized from making your music freely available for download via the net. So what if there IS a benefit? Should people be forced to make their music available for download against their will?

If you have a shop selling widgets and you refuse to unlock the door and let customers in, well you are an idiot, and probably not making as much money as you could. But do the customers have a right to break down your door to get in? Should they break the door down and help themselves to free samples of your merchandise (against your will) just because it is widely accepted that free samples promote sales?

I think that an artist should have the right to decide for themselves whether they want to make their music available for free download (and bank on increased sales as a result). Or to only sell to customers who donate a pint of blood as well as paying the money (and watch sales plummet).

It's their choice to make and they should be allowed to make the "wrong" choice if that looks "right" to them.

Re:Napster could have been a great marketing tool (1)

MathewR (17723) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416095)

Uhm. You know that Metallica in no way actually said that comment, right?

Slight difference in terms... (1)

verbatim (18390) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416096)

File sharing and downloading have slightly different meanings. If I simply download music (and even PAY for it) then I am not sharing anything. Sharing implies that when I download something from someone I then provide that content for someone else to access.

The pay-for-use services may want to preclude this and remove the sharing aspect of file sharing. Why pay for access to Napster (assuming they went fee-based) when openNap servers are widely available. Another point - if you pay for a service, you expect some sort of reliability. If a user disconnects then you loose the file and have to try again. Not an issue for broadband users, but it is an issue (resume downloads?). Quality Assurance is also another issue - how do I know if something is even WORTH downloading or sharing to others?

I have a bad feeling about paying money for the privelage of sharing content. I am not adverse to paying for music but I don't feel that I should have to pay to share something with others. For this reason alone I would never pay for a Napster-like service. Blah.

My problem, not yours.. flame on..

Irony! (1)

Evro (18923) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416097)

a reminder not always to believe what you read

This, in a Jon Katz article!

(cheap shot, I know, but I couldn't resist)

__________________________________________________ ___

For how long? (1)

aphasic (26181) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416101)

I'm perfectly willing to believe people buy the music now, but for how long? ( and how long will techno-utopians like jon katz be so starry eyed about this? ).

When:
1. we've all got nice reliable 100Mbs connections
2. 100s of Gigs of HD space
3. Most importantly, when Joe Average Computer User is used to playing music from a computer/hard drive, do you think they will still buy CDs then?


Everyone with a half a mind knows the music industry is right to afraid. There is no way they can keep up their margins through the 7 layers of middle men they have right now. Yes, pay for download might work eventually, but saying "no no, this is great, people buy more music!" may be true right now, or maybe not, but think about it -- there is no way its going to stay true.

So the music industry will, understandably, flail about with lawsuits and half-assed copy protection before being forced to scale down significantly. If you work in music publishing or distribution, you should be well aware that your job title is not long for this world. (PR, labels, and musicians may or may not be okay, who knows).

I really don't understand how both sides of these debate are so blind, one side thinking lawsuits will fix things, the other thinking that this is only going to help the industry.

Napster's Quality (1)

ThreeTee (28253) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416102)

But in a Greenfield Online survey of 5,200 online music shoppers, nearly 70 per cent say that they have not paid -- and will not pay -- for digital music downloads.

I'm interested to see what will happen after 70 percent of Napster's users take off when they go subscription-based. Napster's strength is its huge userbase. Once they lose a few million users, their song selection will drop significantly.

Here's another question: does anyone know anything about what Napster/BMG will be doing to address the problem of mislabeled/poor quality/truncated MP3s? If I were to pay for a service, I would expect problems like these to be addressed.

DUH... (1)

Mancide (30030) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416103)

Haven't we all posted this same type of information over and over and over? Isn't it obvious when the Recording Industry had a record year in 2000 with release after release debuting at #1 on billboard and breaking the previous week's SoundScan records?

Any RIAA member who continues to label Napster users as pirates will continue to alienate customers. It's that simple, the revolution has started and will not be stopped.

But, alas, this information is to little to late I'm afraid, as Napster's widespread free service is facing impending doom with the subscription based service... I'll just go back to getting my mp3s old school... off IRC.

i wasnt surveyed... (1)

gimpboy (34912) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416111)

information about me:

i am a college student.

i have a burner(on my second one actually)

i have downloaded alot from napster

the stuff i liked and kept i purchased

None if they have a CD-writer
you are wrong here.

There simply is no way that this survey was accurate.
increased record sales would tend to argue to the contrary.

use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that

Re:here's a study i'd like to see (1)

gimpboy (34912) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416112)

what about irc and netnews? you can get just about anything off of usenet's alt.binaries.*

use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that

Re:Musician's Associations (1)

johnrpenner (40054) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416116)

> As we move closer to 100% digital distribution, with no physical product,
> where does the money come from?
>
> Also, why would I pay any significant money for a CD when it's legal for
> someone to download and burn the CDs locally, charging only for resources
> consumed (with a slight markup)?

i do not believe the vision that sales of physical goods will diminish
towards zero and be replaced entirely by digital distribution.

as digital distribution goes up, the value-added of merchandising
of 'physical' stuff based around the content will go up. SOMETHING
THAT IS PHYSICAL IS SCARCE, and its value (unlike digital) lies in
that not everyone can have it. thus, collectors will pay a premium
to have something TANGIBLE and official from the band over just a
download of the song.

when anyone can get a copy of a song downloaded for free,
then the merchandisers will 'add value' to the product through
unique packaging, and by inventing desirable things to provide
in addition to 'just the data'. for example:

- you get a printed booklet and poster with your CD - looks nicer than
if you burn it yourself.

- you have all sorts of merchandise: books, fanzines, t-shirts,
it is up to the ingenuity of the merchandisers to make money off of
this stuff - and when they do - a percentage (like a sales tax) goes back
to the musician's pool, and gets divided up by percentage of napster (or
insert your service here) downloads that month.

- i can download a copy of any of shakespeare's worrks TODAY FOR FREE
from PROJECT GUTENBURG - but i still go out to amazon to order a copy.
why? i COULD download it and print it myself on my inkjet printer,
but it would cost me more to download and print then to buy a copy
that's already nicely packaged by a bookseller. in essence - the 'data'
of the book is free, but i'm paying for more than just the content,
i'm also paying for the convenience (over printing on my own inkjet),
and the PRESENTATION.

Hmm (1)

MultimanZ (43332) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416118)

What it doesn't say is that if a student downloads a song to "sample and see if they like the album" and find that they only like a few songs, and not the whole album, they simply keep the good songs, trash the old songs, and continue to not by the albums.

Oh, and all college students lie. Don't trust anything they say, especially when they want to save their own [or their pockets, in this case] ass. Why would college students say they do it to get free music when that could only be used against Napster, something they want to keep going?

Gaelen

Re:Uhm, really? (1)

goldmeer (65554) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416130)

You cut the quote short:

"They are also a reminder not always to believe what you read. (Read more). "

I read that and almost bust my gut...

Re:Not for long. (1)

Maeryk (87865) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416139)

>>In a few years, when digital audio players (MP3 or ogg or whatever) are completely ubiquitious and all connected to the network, I don't think many of us will still be buying CDs.

Uhh.. maybe you will. I'm not paying hard earned cash for something that goes bye-bye when my Western Digital decides to go head farming on the platters.

Sorry.. I dont pay for mp3's because they are transient.. if I am paying money, I want hard media.. (tape, CD, record) not bitstream. I realize a tape can go spaghetti on you, but when it does you lose what, 12 songs? When my HDD goes I lose 13 GIG of mp3's.. and at 1.00 a pop, or whatever they will end up marketed at, that is a *LOAD* of cash to lose because someone at a quality control department didnt watch the o-scope.

My other problem with Metallica, the RIAA, the MPAA, and other critters, is the concept that you dont *own* the music.. you own the *MEDIUM* it is on.. and once that MEDIUM is shot, you must REPURCHASE the medium.. not the music. That is basically what the DMCA says.. you may *not* make digital copies of music.. even if you purchased it the first time.. because you only own a liscence for *one* copy.. if you want a backup, shell out the 18.50 to hear James growl in digital all over again, because your copyright and user liscence ends with that medium. I dont like that.. its far too heavy handed, and it's far too idiotic. Which just goes to show you what kind of geniuii we have in power.

Maeryk

Uhm, really? (1)

Lonesmurf (88531) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416141)

"They are also a reminder not always to believe what you read."

Ya, that was a *great* way to introduce an essay, Jon.

Rami
--

Lose the record companies! (1)

NTSwerver (92128) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416142)

IMHO, eventually all bands will release their songs directly onto the net via Napster, etc.

Some bands are already pioneering this approach. [bbspot.com]

----------------------------

damned lies and ... (1)

ryantate (97606) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416149)

It's disappointing to see these statistics accepted so blindly by Jon Katz. They do confirm his thesis, but raise at least as many questions as they answer.

There are many problems with asking Napster users if they eventually plan to purchase music after using the system, not the least of which is that framing a question in such a manner encourages an affirmative response. It would make sense to also ask, "Will Napster help you save money on music purchases?" This question also encourages an affirmative response, but in the other direction.

But the real problem with these surveys is that everyone knows the "correct" answer to the question, "Do you plan to buy music after downloading it for free." There is a cultural stigma associated with being a freeloader, and no one who is a freeloader (whether there are two or 200 million of them) wants to own up to it.

An alternative approach would be to use a survey method designed to protect survey respondents against giving a stigmatized answer. I heard about one interesting technique in a survey methods class i took at UC Berkeley (Poli Sci 3). This is a loose outline of the technique, I am almost certainly omiting some important controls.

The system was developed for surveying public sentiment on racial integration in housing. Obviously, people started getting wise around the late 1950s that racism was no longer OK, and in survey-land everyone was suddenly a racial Jesus. Even the racists. Hmmm.

So here's the survey. Six questions for the experimental group, five for the control group. Both groups are all-white.

On each question, the respondent is to come up with a score of 0 to 5 for how angry situation X makes her. For instance, her house is robbed. Her car is keyed.

Each respondent in the experimental group gets an extra question -- a black family moves in next door.

The respondent rates each item, keeping the individual scores to herself. She gives the survey-taker only the TOTAL score for all five or six items.

The surveyor determines the average score for each group. If racism is alive and well (gee i wonder), the experimental group will have an average score that is higher by a statistically significant amount.

The differential between average total score of this group and the control is considered a rough guage of how racist people are when it comes to housing.

This framework, IMO, would work well for guaging whether Napster users REALLY are willing to buy as much music as non-napster users. I'm no survey expert, but I'm thinking you'd need four groups -- one control and one experimental for frequent Napster users and for non Napster users. Each group rates 0 to 5 on how much of a fixed available sum they would spend on various items. The experimental groups would be asked about music, the controls wouldn't. Compare the music differentials for Napster users and non Napster users.

Re:damned lies and ... (1)

ryantate (97606) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416150)

actually, the sum couldn't be fixed in the Napster example, because both groups would have the same average score -- the total sum! you'd just have to ask each group something like, rate each of these spending decisions for thriftiness.

Re:Musician's Associations (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416152)

I'd have to say I object to music being refered to as just "data". It's a created thing, and while it may not exist in the most physical tangible sense, it's not just a type of information. It's important to realize the difference here. Music can't be put under the same understanding as something like OSS, it just doesn't work that way. Perhaps I'm not understanding all of your comments correctly. Infact, I'm sure I'm not, cause some of it doesn't make any sense to me. *shrug*

Re:Honor system doesn't work (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416153)

The problem with this is that one of those experts will create a piece of software that allows the casual person to copy everything as well, and when they release it, they'll either claim to be forcing the companies to do something about their weak security measures, or they'll spout off something about freedom of information and how they feel like they shouldn't have to pay for anything.

the reason for p2p fs: (1)

moogla (118134) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416160)

Is to take out the middleman... if you know someone who has stuff that you want, don't even bother. It could take longer to find what you want at a distro site, or they may only provide you want they want you to have or hear. Or they could be charging you. It's mostly common sense, and a good utilitzation of the fair TCP protocol.

Go figure.... (1)

incognitox (123292) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416161)

Wow. I could have told you all that. Many people have realized that this was true for a few years. Only those who have condemned file sharing as illegal are out of the loop. I'd love to think that these surveys would convince big business to listen to the public, but I'm sure it won't. They would prefer to do focus group studies...

It seems that the major problem here is that groups like the RIAA are afraid or unwilling to change, either because of the expense associated with it, or for some other reason. If, when the MP3 standard was new, they had immediately started trying to create a system for distribution that involved payment, then there would have been no problems. The RIAA would have made some money (assuming that they priced downloads reasonably) and music lovers everywhere would have been grateful.

However, they started a witch hunt to destroy anyone who might have a new idea about how music distribution should work. They felt threatened, and therefore tried to eliminate the threat, rather than realizing the potential of it.

Just my two cents. And for the record I've been saying this for at least 2 years...





~i = an imaginary being~

Re:Short-sighted (1)

jallen02 (124384) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416162)

Until said bandwidth is mobile and nearly all devices that play music in any fashion can access these perfect reproductions of music anywhere and anytime I do not forsee this being incredibly short sighted.

CD's are the popular medium right now... sure I can burn them and play them anywhere.... that is not the point Katz was making IMO.

And honestly how many people do you think know the difference in a 128K and 256K Mp3 at this point? Not so many, and even fewer probably care if they do know

So given the fact that people are willing to pay for music, and the fact that right now Mp3's are of acceptable quality, I see this kind of invalidating your point.

Jeremy

Re:This is fantastic but it won't matter. (1)

prisoner (133137) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416165)

I should have been clearer. I didn't mean to convey that I have any illusions about what most people are doing on Napster. Only that it's convenient for people like me who stacked beer cans on top of CD's in college...:)

Re:Short-sighted (1)

antis0c (133550) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416166)

You still purchase the music for more than just the music on the CD. Personally any artist that I really enjoy I purchase the CD because I want the cover art, the insert, and the original CD itself..

near infinite bandwidth and perfect reproduction?

This reminds me slightly of Star Trek, one day a machine will come along that will reproduce any object simply by saying the objects name.. when that time comes, why bother buying anything anyway.. and what value does money have then? The only reason money has any value is because its a measure of work and materials..

shite (1)

MuddyFunster (139441) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416170)

Face it....record companys are shafted and will cease to exist as we know them.....

Just think: no more boy bands, no more spice girls, no more over the hill stars, all sustained by massive advertising campaigns and a sycophantic media believing the corporate hype.........

Maybe people will make music because they actually want to make good music.

Early downfall? (1)

bool (144199) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416173)

The problem, it would seem, is that systems such as file sharing really don't offer a reliable way to ensure the integrity of data. How much longer do you think it will be before there are groups of people that quest to destroy such networks by saturation them with bogus files or even worse viruses. You sacrifice a great deal of trust and integrity when using a file-sharing system.

----------
do { Work(); PayTaxes(); Eat(); Sleep(); } while (alive)

Baloney (1)

Rico_Suave (147634) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416174)

Of course people surveyed are going to say they purchase music that they "sampled" online... to say otherwise would cast an even more negative light on these piracy networks (oops, I meant to say "sharing networks")

--

Re:College students are pathological liars (1)

Rico_Suave (147634) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416175)

There are always exceptions to the rule. No one's saying that all college students are patholigical liars. But as I *am* a college student, most students I run into will take something free over something that will drain their limited resources anyday. Sometimes this is due to ignorance, sometimes it's due to "sticking it to da' Man", or simply being a tightass. But regardless, I know few college students who use it solely for "try before you buy" purposes (which isn't legal ANYWAY, it just *sounds* better to most people)

--

Re:Napster could have been a great marketing tool (1)

extar-bags (161628) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416179)

that might be the dumbest thing i've ever heard. "people won't download this because its long and sucks, but fans will buy it because.... well, because they're fans." it just goes to show how pompous metallica (read: lars) is, that they "napster-proof" their new cd by making it crappy.

----------

Blessed be, ye hackers (1)

spankfish (167192) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416182)

Blessed be, ye hackers
Ye manglers of code
Who twist and scrape the data
The find the motherlode

Blessed be, ye hackers
Inquisitive lads and lasses
Keep curiosity burning
While you sit there on your asses
:-)

--

How it is with any other product (1)

spankfish (167192) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416183)

  • The customer is presumed innocent.
  • The customer can generally try before they buy.
  • If the product breaks, it can be repaired

Why not with music and movies? I have a huge VHS collection. Am I going to have to upgrade all this in 5 years because VHS VCRs don't exist anymore, and mine's inevitably dead? That's a completely crappy deal if you ask me.

Same with CDs. No matter how careful you are (and I am pretty damn careful) they scratch like buggery, and are generally useless after 5 years. Why do they even bother selling them, why not just call it a three year license at the end of which you could pay a buck or two and get the media replaced. I've ripped all my CDs (well all the ones that don't suck) for my personal use just so I don't damage the damn things any more.

--

I can certainly live without Napster (1)

begonia (177694) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416189)

I use Napster and I like it. I especially like the convenience of carrying around sound as a digital file. But I also have found it (very) easy to record music right off my local FM stations with a jump from my stereo to my sound card. The quality is extremely high. Its very easy to take these digital recordings and edit them however I want with standard open source software. I then end up with mp3's that are (to my ear) the equal of what I can get with Napster.

Re:Napster could have been a great marketing tool (1)

bluesninja (192161) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416199)

Yes. Right. As everyone knows, sending out unrequested to potential customers urging them to purchase your product is a great way to make friends on the Internet.

This is revolutionary! They could patent it as the "Sounds Pretty Awesome, Metallica" system of marketing (SPAM for short, in case you missed that...)

/bluesninja

Still waiting for you to "share" your books Katz (1)

TheOutlawTorn (192318) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416200)

Well, it's getting close to a year since Jon started going off about the "revolution" in media (music, video, etc.) file sharing, and I have yet to see Katz put his money where his mouth is by making any of his books available online. Where are they Jon? Why aren't you taking advantage of this new type of marketing? Oh, what's that? Your publisher won't allow you to do that? Oh, I see, because you whored yourself out, that let's you off the hook? Hardly.

Jon Katz, Pundit, "Writer", and Hypocrite.

Grog... not... understand... (1)

TimboJones (192691) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416201)

Jupiter Research says it found that 45 per cent of online music fans are more likely to have increased their music purchases than online fans who don't use Napster.

Can someone please translate this sentence to English for me? The best I can do with it is: 45% of Napster users buy more music than the average non-Napster user (which would mean that 55% buy the same amount or less). This doesn't sound like a positive thing.

It seems to me that if Napster users bought the same amount of music as non-Napster users, that 50% of Napster users would be above the average non-Napster user and 50% would be below. It follows that if Napster users bought more music than non-Napster users, more than 50% would be above the average non-Napsterino, and less than 50% below. This particular statistic (45% are more likely) tells me that Napster users buy approximately 5% less music than non-Napster users. I haven't examined any of Katz's other statistics in detail, but just this one leads me to distrust that the numbers are being interpreted accurately.

I don't like this statistic, because I find Napster a useful tool to find great music. I discovered Nick Cave and Tom Waits through music sharing, and have since purchased 7 albums by each. I also discovered Guster, and have purchased all 3 of their CDs. Without music sharing, I probably would still not know about these fabulous artists, and it saddens me that I may lose this tool in the future.

College Student (1)

Putz19 (202601) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416207)

I am a college student that had Napster Killed... That was not nice. Since that has happened I have not bought one new CD(thats about 1 year now). I dont want to buy a whole CD for one song, I want to Download other Songs by an artist and hear the Songs in FULL before I waste $12-$16 on a CD that cost MAYBE $5 to make. I now only support the bands I like, I will buy there new CDS, but as for the rest, I am going to find way to get a taste of there music before I buy.

why believe collidge stoodints? (1)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416214)

they know the purpose of surveys that ask "have you bought more music since you started stealing more music?"

College kids are probably the savviest test-takers in the world. all i'm saying is, ASKING them if they buy more shows nothing, except that they like Napster and free music and want it to continue by telling the pollster what Jon Katz wants to hear.

(having said that, of course, i am still in favor of forcing 90% of all musicians into retirement, making all music totally free, and enacting more laws to prevent musicians from reaping monetary rewards for their music .. that oughta get rid of the backstreet boys, britney spears, and most of the rest of the crap .. i think Jello Biafra, Billy Bragg, and I would still be out there though)

Where does the money come from? (1)

micromoog (206608) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416216)

If I'm understanding you correctly, the money for all this comes from the people who actually stamp out the CDs and sell them.

As we move closer to 100% digital distribution, with no physical product, where does the money come from?

Also, why would I pay any significant money for a CD when it's legal for someone to download and burn the CDs locally, charging only for resources consumed (with a slight markup)?

Your logic doesn't change anything... (1)

dynamo_mikey (218256) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416226)

It doesn't matter whether you think this "previewing" of music is in the best interest of the record industry. THEY think it's theft, and they are not about to allow you to make decisions for them.

You can't force them to agree to something you like because you think it will be good for them anyway. The bottom line is if they don't like it (and the courts agree with them) then you can't do it.

dynamo

according to (1)

canning (228134) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416232)

According to a recent study by Greenfield Online.....

A survey by Yankelovich Partners for the Digital Media Association found....

Interestingly, reports American Demographics,....

According to me, any survey company can produce statistics to prove anything. Where are the statistics involving money? What is the dollar amount that could have been earned if every song downloaded was paid for?

According to me, surveys are for chumps.

Stealing? (1)

xenocidex (231561) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416239)

I am far from rich, but I still have a very large music collection. I use napster alot, but I can get entire albumns from friends alot easier (I have about five gigs of mp3's in a collection of 30 over 30 albumns). The strange thing is, even though my friend might give me the cd in mp3's, and I have a burner, I still end up buying the cd. Most of you woulnd't understand, but theres usually more to a cd than the music. Some cd's (like tool's undertow) artwork is worth 10 bucks by its self. For those of you who do nothing but download and pirate music, try buying the cd's of bands/songs you like. Once you get a large enough music collection, then tell me it's honestly not worth is to buy the cds.

I try before I buy! (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416240)

I only have a 56K modem. I'll be damned if it's worth the time, effort, and even cost of electricity to try to download an entire album. I very often will take 1/2 hour to download one song, and if I like it, I'll buy the album. I have a feeling that I'm not alone.

Re:the reason for p2p fs: (1)

AlgUSF (238240) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416244)

The reason against P2Pfs.... In a newbie chat room... Q: How do I re-compile the kernel A: mount -t p2pfs / eth0 (Or however the command would work)

Napster (1)

AlgUSF (238240) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416245)

I haven't bought a single CD since napster came out. I don't have a CD burner, but many of my friends do, and I just burn free CD's of only the songs I like. What really killed me is the fact that I had to pay for a whole album to get ONE SONG. When subscription based Napster starts, I will move on to Gnutella, etc.

Re:shite (1)

AlgUSF (238240) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416246)

Not In America..... We do things for money, except bums with will work for food signs (they just get money and don't do anything).

Compare to TicketMaster (1)

Baconator (240452) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416247)

It's all too true... how else could they possibly maintain their price structures? I mean charging $15+ for an album that came out 20 or 30 years ago is par for the course these days. When they lose their monopoly on distribution, prices will realign themselves at a much lower margin... I'm guessing more like $5 to $7 per album.

I think the apt analogy here to TicketMaster. It's not as though the sertvice they provide is very difficult or complicated -- it's that they have a lock on distribution that makes them rich. Can you imagine what would happen to their business if they had real competion at the distribution level? I can tell you that you wouldn't see those $5 mystery charges anymore...

If you download what you don't own your a pirate (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416248)

Jon, I understand you have to kiss-up to the /. crowd, but this is taking the cake. It so deep here now I have to have stilts.

-------
Most music downloaders aren't thieves or pirates but music lovers willing to pay for music.
-------

#1. They are still breaking the law by downloading music they don't have rights too. Regardless if they go out and buy it later they are still breaking the law. You cannot circumvent time here.

------
Artists have made more money from this new generation of music lovers than they would have without them.
------

#2. Oooh... I would love to see this proven, ain't no way in hell. What may really be the truth is that previously unheard of bands have made more money, but defintely none of the mainstream bands can be said to have made more money this way.

-------
Record companies and other corporations should be supporting file-sharing sites ratherthan hiring lobbyists and lawyers to intimidate, sue and enrage new and eager customers.
-------

Yes they should try to promote distribution of LEGALLY DISTRIBUTABLE music and film. However they have every right to shut down any service which does not control the distribution of content that they assist in locating.

Sorry Jon, but distribution of material you don't have copyright to was a crime before the internet and is still a crime.

One other question, just how honest do you think people are who anwser polls? Please tell me, I saw a recent one which the poll asked people who they voted for. The had nearly 80+ percent people who responded to the poll as claiming to have voted, amazing considering less than 40% were registered voters...

So Jon, this article of yours is frightfully stupid. It is a pure kiss-up article, which gleefully ignores facts and instead attempts to pass off as intelligent by blowing smoke up the backsides of readers.

Mod me down, I don't care, but this takes the cake for brown-nosing articles.

Come again, Jon? (1)

Mr_Tom (245153) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416250)

"And oh, yeah. Don't believe what you read about yourself. "

I'd just like to mention how pleased I am that Jon Katz always writes witty, incisive, balanced, cutting-edge, and thought-provoking articles.

;-)

File Sharing (1)

hawaiianshirt (245591) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416251)

I agree with some of the generalizations made here; I think the most important reaction to sharing mp3s, movies, etc, is how it is showing up in the business world. File sharing across the web via apps like Groove, etc, will become prevalent and make working with in groups over long distances easier. Maybe then I could finally work from home!

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc (1)

Lede Singer (253091) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416256)

Because of this, then, therefore this! Since the beginning of the Napster war, I've heard the argument that "people who download music, buy more music, therefore downloads lead to sales." Though I can't stand the RIAA, and I completely agree with the existence of music sharing, I think this is another week "statistic" supporting napster. Napster, I think, is bad for big bands like Metallica, but great for many would-be-Metallica's!

Re:Short-sighted (1)

Schnedt Microne (264752) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416269)

I made an MP3 the other day with incredibly tight compression. It's a recording of my 'Spiro Agnew Speaks Out' LP (a 33-1/3 RPM recording of Agnew speech excerpts.) It's a 22 minute long voice recording. By using the tighest compression/lowest sample rate, I was able to get 22 minutes of voice-quality audio to fit into a 1.4 MB .MP3 file. Amazing to fit 22 minutes of audio onto a floppy diskette I can hand out to friends.

Possibly it will be downloadable in the near future, drop me a line if you want the URL when it becomes available. It's amazing how with-the-times what Spiro Agnew said about cultural decay in the late 60's is today. Yes, it includes his 'nattering nabobs' sound bite.

Re:If you download what you don't own your a pirat (1)

okmar (266773) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416275)

They are still breaking the law by downloading music they don't have rights too

The only right that they have is the listening priveledges. Not mixtapes, not mix CDS, etc.

"Rights" terms some one who the song writing credits are attributed to, being ASCAP reg'd, and many other copy protection laws. I wrote it. Therefor I own the rights. I say you can listen to it.


.

The true fear & More (1)

Voira (267049) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416276)

A agree with you... and I would go further. Greedy record labels are not worried about losing record sales, but about being THEM and NO OTHER the ones that get benefit of this new emerging media (Internet)
Basically what they are doing is creating so many barriers and legal problems that only established powerful industries can get a piece of the cake, making it impossible for independent or startup companies.

Re:Mightn't the figures be skewed? (1)

Lover's Arrival, The (267435) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416277)

That is really quite something. I would guess that your dad is an exception though, because it does seem quite unusual.

Anyhoo, if the legal people have their way, it looks as though he will get his wish, and have to pay whether he likes it or not ;)

Napster could have been a great marketing tool (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1416304)

Instead of bashing Napster, Metallica should have been using it to market to the users. They could have emailed an offer to buy their CDs to every Napster user that downloads their music. I bet they could sell millions of CDs that way.

Some people send instant messages to people that download from them advertising their product or service - I think it is a great way to advertise.

Ugh. (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1416305)

The technology culture of Columbine is media. The media culture of Columbine is technology and culture media media culture Columbine. Media. The culture of media and Columbine technology media media culture media. Media. Culture.

Re:Mightn't the figures be skewed? (2)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416318)

My father who until about 6 months ago HATED computers uses Napster. But I did not tell him about it, he heard it on the news...I have talked to him about it and he said IF he could he would pay for the songs that he has downloaded...

Oh Yeah, BTW Jon... (2)

lambda (4236) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416319)

Will you be at the book-signing I want to schedule for my streetside book vendor? We're selling photocopies of all your books now.

Re:Hmm (2)

garcia (6573) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416323)

honestly, I know of just about NO college students that "try before they buy". We use Napster, download tons of songs and burn mixes. Everyone knows that there are very few albums that contain all hit songs...

Take a look at a college student's playlist. That will tell you what they are doing, not what they are saying. Most of the people I know (and myself included) have many 2-3 songs from one artist in a collection of over 1000 mp3's. It's the variety and the fact that we don't have to buy a 1000 disc changer that you put on random to get the song selections you want.

I have bought albums of only the bands I like and I don't need to worry about sampling them online illegally before I buy, they all support the free exchange of their live stuff. SCI, WSP, GD, Hookah, etc...

Oh and how many people were "trying before they buy" when they were leeching Warez from their local BBS or FTP site?

Just my worthless .02

Honor system doesn't work (2)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416324)

As Oscar Wilde said, "I can resis anything but temptation" - if someone /can/ dup a work for a needy friend, they will, it makes the 'supplier' a real nice guy ("Hey, I didn't have enough to buy SO-n-So's latest, but Fred ripped me a copy on his new computer! Gee, Fred's a real great guy!"), nobody will find out, etc. So there MUST be some kind of technical barrier to easy copying, to at lease foil the casual PC pirate, even if the expurt can always break it. I'm sorry, but that's the way it's going to work. Trust you? In business, you trust nobody. In God we trust, all others pay cash.

Re:here's a study i'd like to see (2)

FallLine (12211) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416327)

Yes, that might be kind of interesting. But don't forget that there are other relatively easy to use methods of attaining mp3s that many people do use. Like simply, using SMB filesharing, or using one of the other zillion alternatives like iMesh.

Lies, damn lies... (2)

sterno (16320) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416328)

To quote from above:

  • Jupiter Research says it found that 45 per cent of online music fans are more likely to have increased their music purchases than online fans who don't use Napster
This may be a technicality here, but what does the research say about the 55 percent you didn't mention here. If 55 percent of online music fans are less likely to increase or more likely to decrease music purchases then this stat is deceptive.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt Katz, but if you're going to say "don't believe everything you read", you might want to make sure you back your arguments more thoroughly.

---

very true (2)

austad (22163) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416329)

I download a ton of music using Napster, and I buy more CD's now than I ever did before. Primarily because I'm able to listen to entire albums of artists I never would have listened to before.

Most of the time I'll download the whole album as MP3's, burn them to an audio CD and pop them in my changer in my car. The CD's I end up listening to the most are the ones I end up buying. I don't buy everything I download, but it's stuff that I wouldn't have purchased anyway.

Marketing is mistaken... (2)

AhNewBis (42974) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416336)

It seems that if there is something that has not yet been tapped by some corporate source, and it is on the grassroots level (coders, geeks, and the like), then it must have some value in marketing. Since when has DCC and FTP been about marketing? Unless you consider 'selling' the 'name' of Razor1911 or Utopia being about marketing, never.

So, all of a sudden, something that wasn't invented in the 70's and can have a keen acronym (Oooh, let's go from B2C and B2C to P2P!) becomes a new paradigm for marketing!

It all reeks of greed to me.

What about technology for technology's sake? Wait, that doesn't have a place in the Marketeer's Internet. What's happening is that the same Marketeers who wanted some bucks out of the startup phenomenon (invented by geeks) ended up creating the dotCrash. Sites that used to have pure information have become disgusting monstrosities with hot flashing animated java-enabled banners that auto reload the browser every 30 seconds.

And now, the Marketeers have finally understood that their annoying auto-reload hot flashing java-enabled banner ads don't get clicked on. So, they want to have it so we'll either have to wait for the content we want (remember annoying shareware? 10 second countdown to click on 'OK' to get to the goods?), or it'll switch to banner ads every 30 seconds.

If these Marketeers have their way, the Internet is going to turn into the big section of ads that gets thrown away with the Sunday paper.

People want file sharing to get what they want now. They don't want to have to click through ads or go through the load 'Click on this ad, take the first letter of blah blah blah' to get pr0n or warez.

Which, as an avid user of Napster in the past, it's exactly what it's like. Money isn't the issue. I want what I want now. I might share files, I might not. But I want this song now and I don't want to have to go to a store and get it, or go online and wait for it to be delivered. I want it now.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still all for the chaos that ensues. It livens things up a little, and brings out the true nature of the parties involved (who would've guessed the MPAA, RIAA, Metallica, et al. were THAT greedy). The thing is, you try and take a transport method or abstract and tack on ads and sell things to people.

Maybe it all isn't about buying. It isn't about the abstract method, either. It's about the information that gets passed over the method. I want the song. I want the warez. I want the pr0n. The method is ignored, and that is the way it should be. File sharing isn't a new thing. But Marketeers hear a buzzword and sell it to other Marketeers which are blindly driving the industry to Core Meltdown.

I don't watch TV. Too many ads. I don't visit sites with plethoras of banner ads -- its disgusting. So much for Tom's Hardware, it used to be nice. Opera was very promising, and I was impressed at what it could do. Wait, version 5 has that nice ad. I understand that people need to make a living off of a webpage or off of a business, but I don't think ads are the answer. Ads end up turning people OFF of something, and people learn to tune them out. Isn't the whole point of advertising to turn people on to a product? And the whole product gets thrown away like the Sunday paper.

I'm glad Marketeers can't understand the acronym that the tech savvy are best at home with: RFC. Else there would be space set aside for a hot flashing java-enabled ActiveX animated banner ad. And probably space for a 'You've got mail!' bit, as well.

-----

amazing (2)

konstant (63560) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416342)

It astounds me how a forward-thinking crowd like slashdot can be so persistently retro when it comes to piracy issues.

When the DeCSS furor was raging, I read many comments dismissing DeCSS as an enhancement to piracy, on the grounds that 1) it is possible to make physical copies regardless and 2) DVD movies are far too large to transfer over the Internet. Nowadays Katz and others rush to the defense of Napster/Gnutella by citing the increased CD purchases they generate.

In both cases, it is only the stody old recording insdustries that seem to understand where technology is going!

Sure, it is impractical to transfer 3Gigabits of film to your friend today, but with the spread of broadband and improvements in compression, in two years it will be conceivable, and in five practical or even common. Similarly, people may buy CD's today for their high quality and ubiquity of playback mechanisms, but MP3 won't last forever, and its successor will surely have higher fidelity and broader support.

Maybe these technologies don't mean the (much deserved) death of the MPAA and RIAA today, but these industries didn't make it to where they are by only responding to immediate threats to their monopolies. They see where technology is heading, when remarkably the slashdot crowd doesn't seem to. And they're hedging their bets.

Yes, they both suck, boo-yaa, etc. But they certainly seem to be several years ahead of the resistance on pure philosophical terms.

-konstant
Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!

Re:Musician's Associations (2)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416343)

2 Questions.
1. Where do I sign up?
2. How much content am I required to generate per payment cycle in order to get my share?

It seems like this model could reward people who produce very little content or content of very poor quality on an equal level as those who produce lots of content or content of an excellent quality. That doesn't seem right.

Kintanon

File Sharing Sparks Interest (2)

foondog (87662) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416345)

I agree...I never seemed to listen to music very much and hardly spent much money on CDs until I went to college. Once I started downloading music for free and seeing what all was out there I got interested. It got me starting to listen to more music, buying CDs, and even got me listening to the radio more. Buying CDs and being forced to hear more radio ads has brought nothing but more money to these companies.

FoonDog

Re:Napster could have been a great marketing tool (2)

NTSwerver (92128) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416348)


Did you know that Metallica's New Album [bbspot.com] is supposedly Napster-Proof?

----------------------------

This is fantastic but it won't matter. (2)

prisoner (133137) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416356)

The war has already started. It's RIAA against everyone else. Look at RIAA's history, for these guys, everything is a holy war.

Too bad it's really going to quash this segment for people like me who just download "replacement" songs. Some (most) of my CD's from college are pretty torn up and since I own the fucking things to begin with, I don't feel bad about downloading them again....

Why can't Katz create hyperlinks? (2)

pjrc (134994) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416358)

Katz, nearly everyone else who posts to slashdot manages to include a link to whatever article they're talking about. Ok, you've got the paper copy and the website still only has December.... a point that a number of prople posting to this discussion seem to have missed when they write "go to the American Demographics site to find out". I went there poking around for a few minutes, only to discover this. I did find find this little gem [demographics.com] which says 59% don't think downloading music online (for free) is wrong, and another 11% thinks it's wrong, but they'll do it anyway. (12% don't have an opinion, leaving only 18% who wouldn't).

So, I was gonna flame Katz for once again not being able to create a link, but this time it looks like the article in question just isn't on-line. Still, Katz ought to have mentioned that right after the link that leads only to their main website. I suppose he did say "January issue" and the site shows that it's giving you material from December.

say say say what you want... (2)

Golias (176380) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416360)

"Nearly two-thirds of the 1,135 college students surveyed say they download music as a way to sample music before buying it"

And we all know that no college kid would EVER bullshit about something like that right? Right?

Everybody I know who uses Napster uses it for one reason and one reason only: Free music. It is choose-you-own-programming-radio, plain and simple.

I stop short of hyperbolic terms like "stealing", but Mr. Katz's argument ("Hey, we are just marketing your product to ourselves! By listening to your songs without paying for them, we will make you huge piles of money! In fact, you should probably be paying us!") is at least as silly and extreme as what the record executives are saying.

That's their story (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416362)

and they're sticking to it.

I certainly remember, in my college days, playing a little fast and loose with answers to those "What College Kids Think Abut XYZ" polls. The pollsters were just too easy to mess with!

Still, the survey is probably more right than not.

This isn't new (2)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416364)

Jon... you're preaching to the choir here. We have been discussing and thinking about these issues for months now. What we need is a real and effective defense against the kind of corporate greed and power that you describe. I would suggest lobbying, but it can be prohibativly expensive. It sucks to keep rehashing this stuff every time a new "survey" comes out. I fail to see what legitemacy this study has over any other. This one just happens to contain exactly what we want to hear.

Re:Musician's Associations (2)

wmulvihillDxR (212915) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416365)

But how do you determine which musicians are allowed in the pool?

Is anyone who can sing a note included? Or are only the top acts included? I wouldn't mind doing this for, say, classical musicians, or "non-mainstream" musicians. But I doubt you'll get The Backstreet Boys to share their millions with Yanni! The "Hollywood" aspect of many pop groups sell records. If you see Britney Spears in a skimpy outfit singing at the VMAs, you might go buy her record based on her image and not the quality of her music.

I think I need to better educated on the details of a Musician's Association.

Quips and Quibbles (2)

AstynaxX (217139) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416366)

Let's see... Napster is not a 'site' it is software, it is also a protocol [see OpenNap].

Otherwise though, the article is on target, if moderately redundent [the same basic arguement has appeaered repeatedly here on /., though never so well supported with honest to goodness statistics]. Hopefully, the industry at large will learn from these facts, rather than dying [though, honestly, their death would be of great use and joy to many]. I know many a former Metallica fan, as an example, who will never purchase anything attached to them ever again due to their heavy hande3d tactics. You'd think the powers that be would've learned, persecution only leads to the destruction of the persecutor.

-={(Astynax)}=-

Re:Hmm (2)

Aix (218662) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416367)

What it doesn't say is that if a student downloads a song to "sample and see if they like the album" and find that they only like a few songs, and not the whole album, they simply keep the good songs, trash the old songs, and continue to not by the albums.

But if you pay $15 for a CD and expect to get 8 to 12 songs that you like to listen to, but only get 2 good songs, who is getting ripped off?

If 80% of the songs on a CD suck, then why should I have to pay full price?

Napster gives me an alternative to the record companies that want to pawn off bad music on me and make a quick buck after having released a band's one or two big hits on the radio. How many times do you like all the songs on a CD? Without music "piracy" would you ever have a chance to know what you were buying beforehand? At least at the car dealership I can test-drive. What if they said "Sorry, you can only try it out in reverse and third gear - you can't find out how it runs in the rest of the gears until after you buy it."

don't trust surveys (2)

Dr. Awktagon (233360) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416368)

Yeah and most college students go to church every Sunday, never download porn, and begin studying for a test as soon as it's announced.

I believe in general that file sharing is more helpful than harmful (and for lawsuits generally the opposite is true) but I'd rather see several months/years of demographic data about spending on CDs vs. other types of spending or entertainment, for the general population and/or college students, etc, percentages of people who say they use napster, etc. Until there is real data, both sides will just massage the data in these surveys to say anything they want!

A true story about file-sharing (2)

Bill Fuckin' Gates (262364) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416371)

SNIP>>----
Sent: 11 December 2000
From: Bill Fuckin' Gates
To: Larry Ellison
Subject: napster-like file sharing corporate collaboration


Dear Larry,

Will you please share your UNIX password files with me?

Love,
Bill

----<<SNIP
SNIP>>----

Received: 12 December 2000
From: Larry Ellison
To: Bill Fuckin' Gates
Subject: Re: napster-like file sharing corporate collaboration


Dear Bill,

No, fooly.

Larry X. Ellison
Oracle Supreme Supervillain

----<<SNIP


See you in hell,
Bill Fuckin' Gates®.

Mightn't the figures be skewed? (2)

Lover's Arrival, The (267435) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416372)

It seems to me that the statistics regarding Napster users at present may be skewed. See, the people who use Napster at the moment are the moneyed 'techno-elite' - the only people I know who use Napster work at my firm in the IT department, all my friends. But most people I know who aren't wealthy and who don't have an interest in computers have never even heard of Napster!

What I am trying to say, in my incompetant way (!), is that these figures do not mean that Napster is an assured business model for the future, as far as the Music Industries are concerned, I mean. When Joe & Jane Bloggs have heard of it, and start to use it, the statistics may well change significantly!

All I am trying to say is that they are being to optomistic.

And in other news, 99% of convicts claim innocence (3)

FallLine (12211) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416373)

Ok, I admit it's a little inflamatory. However, ...

Nearly two-thirds of the 1,135 college students surveyed say they download music as a way to sample music before buying it.


Nearly two-thirds of those who downloaded music from the Web say that their search ended in a music purchase.


Interestingly, reports American Demographics, the Jupiter Study of Napster users found that 71 percent of those who use the site said they were willing to pay to download an entire album.


Most of these are pretty old (if I recall correctly), but these are all merely claims. Some might be lies. Some might be wishful thinking. Others may simply forget to pay. All certainly value napster and don't want to see if regulated out of existence...so we can assume that they'd want to defend it. Put simply, you can't simply trust this data alone as the last word.

Jupiter Research says it found that 45 per cent of online music fans are more likely to have increased their music purchases than online fans who don't use Napster.
This is the only potentially worthwhile piece of information, but I'd want more information before I really swallow it whole. I question how the data was gatheredm, in what context, and I question what it really means. For instance, if the general trend due to economic up turn is an increased purchasing of music, it would make sense for music fans (which tend to be napster users) to increase their music purchases more than non-napster users--even if their purchases are actually LESS due to the demand that napster sates. Furthermore, this does not address the question of what will happen once (or if) napster and clones become efficient at finding flawless copies of music, or once mp3 players become cheap and improve in quality.

But in a Greenfield Online survey of 5,200 online music shoppers, nearly 70 per cent say that they have not paid -- and will not pay -- for digital music downloads. This suggests that subscription-based services may be more likely and successful than a per-song fee system.

This potentially revolutionary model for marketing culture is about to be dismantled by the new partnership between Napster and Bertelsmann, which is giving the file-sharing site more than $50 million to develop software that will charge users for music. Bertelsmann says it will keep a part of Napster "free," but watch for yourself to see how quickly it shrinks.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this first bit of data, that 70% of shoppers have not, and will not, pay for online music terribly relevant to what Bertelsmann is doing? Katz seems to say that people are only willing to pay for a subscription service, yet any attempt to push for such a thing by the industry is met with extreme hostility.

Anyways, I have my doubts from my own experience with mp3s and with others I know. I've simply seen and known far too many people that have reduced or stopped purchasing CDs entirely due to Napster. Others I know would stop, if they could afford a decent mp3 player, or had a faster connection, or knew how to use these services better, etc.

Re:The true fear (3)

sargon (14799) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416374)

I disagree; I think the RIAA is concerned about both. The RIAA is built on greed, power, and paranoia. It will fight to the bitter end to maintain its distribution power and maintain glowing sales figures. It will question the results of these surveys just as Slashdotters have, it will come to a similar conclusion, and it will then use that conclusion to justify its own war against Napster and Napster's offspring.

I wouldn't be surprised to find that RIAA people read Slashdot in their efforts to come up with ideas to use in its fight. It makes sense: Slashdotters, as a whole, are more insightful than RIAA people. Slashdotters have a clue; the same can't be said of the RIAA, which continues to wear blinders and refuses to come up better ideas for the future.

Unfortunately, the same can be said of many other industries today. Take the telecom industry, for example....

Not for long. (3)

brad.hill (21936) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416375)

For now, we buy music on CD that we found on Napster. This is because the CD is a much more convenient format for most of us. We have CD players in our cars, in our homes, as walkman style devices, our friends have CD players, and we can physically take the disks with us easily to transfer from player to player.

In a few years, when digital audio players (MP3 or ogg or whatever) are completely ubiquitious and all connected to the network, I don't think many of us will still be buying CDs.

That's what the record companies are afraid of. The lifespan of CDs as the most convenient form for music storage is limited. It's already over for the hardest of the hard core geeks.

While this observation is legit, and should strike terror into the RIAA's heart, it should also be a lesson in how to combat it. Convenience is king and their cludgy protection schemes that make it a pain in the ass for customers to access their music JUST WON'T WORK. They need to make it easy. People love easy, people will pay for easy.

No proof here (3)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416376)

You're point that the execs are dunderheads for their stance is misguided because you refuse to see where they are standing. You cannot defeat an enemy until you understand what they are fighting.

Nearly two-thirds of the 1,135 college students surveyed say they download music as a way to sample music before buying it. The proliferation of online music is introducing consumes to artists they don't know, in almost precisely the same way department stores offer samples of food, perfume and other retail items. A survey by Yankelovich Partners for the Digital Media Association found that about half the music fans in the U.S. turn to look for artists they can't or don't hear in other venues, like radio. Nearly two-thirds of those who downloaded music from the Web say that their search ended in a music purchase. Music labels should have been donating money to Napster users, not threatening to sue them and chase the site off of college campuses.

Here you display your complete lack of the concept of how the big industry music moguls use the limited market for gain. They do not see expanded consumer choice as a way to make money, they see it as a burden of expanded inventory maintainance. Their ideal world would consist of a populace that had exactly one CD to choose from. This would give them only one title and artist to maintain and promote. For the execs more consumer choice only adds up to more discount bin titles as the fads come and go. Their goal is to limit choice to a few 'superstars' (ie, overpromoted mediocre artist).

And the much-libeled Napster users are dedicated music buyers, quick to reach for their wallets. Jupiter Research says it found that 45 per cent of online music fans are more likely to have increased their music purchases than online fans who don't use Napster.

Meanwhile 55% of online fans who used Napster decreased their purchases to zero?

The Jupiter study of Napster users found that 71 percent of users say they're willing to pay to download an entire album.

They also said that they were willing to pay for a trip to Mars; however, none showed the color of their money. My point is that a survey of what people claim they are willing to do is completely meaningless and no marketing exec worth his salt pays any attention to such surveys.

Interestingly, reports American Demographics, the Jupiter Study of Napster users found that 71 percent of those who use the site said they were willing to pay to download an entire album. But in a Greenfield Online survey of 5,200 online music shoppers, nearly 70 per cent say that they have not paid -- and will not pay -- for digital music downloads.

And there is the real proof. People will say that they will pay, but when it comes to actually putting the cash on the table...

This suggests that subscription-based services may be more likely and successful than a per-song fee system.

It means no such thing. It suggests that people want something for free and that they are quicker to lie about their willingness to pay than they are to produce their money.

Face it, Jon, et. al. The music industry execs have had a nice ride over the last few decades. New technologies have a habit of disrupting the ride, causing them to spill their champagne. While the new technologies often enable huge new markets, they very often cause a depression in existing markets. Someone makes it big in the new market, but that someone isn't necessarily the same people who are big in the market that is being disrupted.

New media provides people with the ability to communicate one-to-one the world over. Music execs are distributors who control the one-to-many communication pipelines. Their job is to control who talks to who. Change the pipleline and you change the job that they know and the medium they are able to manipulate. The Net not only changes but removes the exclusivity of the one-to-many pipeline altogether, leaving the execs out in the cold. We know that, and they know that, so cut the bullshit about how they should accept the changes with open arms. They would be fools to do so.

The music industry is on shaky ground that will quickly disappear into an ocean of one-to-one communciation. I won't be throwing out a life-preserver, but I also won't be claiming that they aren't drowning. (Sink, you bastards, SINK!!)

Re:Musician's Associations (3)

TurboJustin (34296) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416377)

What you (and most others on this post) don't seem to understand is that this is *already* how it works. The Backstreet boys share their revenue with Yanni, and Yanni shares his pitiful revenue with Britney Spears. Organizations such as ASCAP and BMI control distribution of royalties for music, whether you buy a CD or hear it on the radio or see a video on TV. Radio stations, clubs, MTV, etc.. all pay a blanket amount to ASCAP and BMI (both, regardless of whose music they play more of) and it is "fairly" distributed among the artists based on who is at the top of the charts this month. If you're very small, and only have a couple of published songs that noone ever plays, you may get specific payments (i.e. my dad had a song that was played at the '86 (?) olympics in LA, and he got a small check for it). This makes a lot of sense for handling digital distribution, because it's about as arbitrary as a jukebox or radio station might be.. keep stats on which songs are downloaded most and pay those artists.. bah-da-bing, bah-da-boom :)

here's a study i'd like to see (3)

tensionboy (115662) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416382)

recorded music purchases from students at college campuses that have banned "napster" programs vs. recorded music purchases from students at colleges that haven't banned it.

Music companies need to get their heads out... (3)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416383)

In the history of music sales, before Jan 1, 2000, only two albums ever sold 1 million or more copies in their first week of sales. In the year 2000 alone, five albums sold 1 million plus in their first week. It makes me wonder if stockholders should start the class action lawsuits; properly embracing online sales would definately 'enhance shareholder value.' Crushing it, though, probably hurts the bottom line, in so many ways.

Yeah, but what about the artists' say? (3)

Flat5 (207129) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416384)

When will people understand that it doesn't matter if Napster users are all angels (and they're not, btw). It doesn't matter if they go out and buy 20 albums for every song they download. It doesn't matter if Napster generates more revenue. It doesn't matter if Napster is their biggest break since the microphone.

What matters is that Napster has removed the artist's say in what happens to their music. If artists want to be stubborn and miss this "great opportunity," that's their right, and it ought to be respected. Pretty simple.

Flat

Well, duh (4)

Phaid (938) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416385)

Big Media has always been quick to shoot itself in the foot. They also said that the VCR would be the end of the film industry. Today's statistics don't quite agree with that viewpoint.

Just because a medium can be used to copy their product, doesn't mean it won't also increase their sales to the point that the lost revenue due to copying is offset a hundred times by the gains in sales.

What's it matter if two people run around with bootlegged copies of oh say a Lard album, when twenty people downloaded "The Power of Lard!", liked it, then ran over to Alternative Tentacles' website or Amazon.com and ordered their CD?

Thieves! Thieves and Liars! Hypocrites and Bastards!

Why?! (4)

tomcrooze (33802) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416387)

This survey was of college students! If you survey them, how many of these students would really say "oh, of course, I bought the music after I downloaded it"? Slim to none. None if they have a CD-writer. There simply is no way that this survey was accurate. Go to American Demographics [demographics.com] to find out yourself.

And oh, yeah. Don't believe what you read about yourself.

*feeling pretty stupid*
Isn't this reserved for April Fool's?

give it up (4)

kootch (81702) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416388)

we're all pirates and doing fairly illegal stuff

not to say that the RIAA is doing stuff fairly, but they are doing it legally.

i'll admit. i've bought 1 new cd in the part 5 months, while i've burned 200 high quality cds from mp3's with a bitrate for 192 or higher that I downloaded from Napster. I download the mp3s, burn the full cd's, then delete the mp3s to make room for more. I use amazon's recommendation system to pick out which cd I want next based on whether I like the one I just downloaded or not.

I bought that 1 cd because I couldn't find it on napster and I had $10 off at BN.com while I was buying books.

Don't tell me what we're doing is legal. It isn't, and shouldn't be. But I do it anyway because I love music but detest paying $18/cd

The true fear (4)

SuperguyA1 (90398) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416389)

I believe that the recording industry isn't woried about losing record sales, they're woried about losing their monopoly on distribution. A monopoly is much more valuable than the actual CD's.

Musician's Associations (5)

johnrpenner (40054) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416393)


--| piracy or copyright? the third solution |---

- copyright exists to ensure musicians get paid.
- the other side is that once an artist produces something,
it goes beyond them and many benefit.
- between consumers and producers now stands record companies
- but paying artists is only a step on the way to gaining profit.
in practice, many musicians (who play instruments) starve, while
marketing bimbos (spice girls) thrive - this is wrong.

- a fundemental qualitative difference between physical and
electronic goods is - if i have an apple and give you an apple,
i no longer have an apple; but if i have an idea and give you an idea,
we BOTH have an idea. therefore you cannot treat electronic things as
if they were actually physical goods, because they aren't!

- still, you must compensate producers of the original bits.
so what to do?

> MUSICIANS ASSOCIATIONS:

- the physical distributors and merchandisers pay into the musician's
pool that pays and feeds the musicians.
- the musicians pool distributes it equitably among its active producers.
- from the pool comesmore new music. which is given away for free.
unlimited digital copies for everyone, never again a dime paid for
anything that's just DATA.
- distributors get fresh music, and sell and package more STUFF.
- distributors pay back a percentage of sales back into the pool.
- so it comes back and feeds itelf (the most important part).

> RESULTS:

- so all software is free - you get mindshare from it.
- but if you make a physical whose value lies on the free music on it,
then a percentage goes back.
- but the artist is not paid direct - it goes to the musician's pool,
which doles out shares each month by percentage of overall downloads
from a service such as Napster.

http://home.earthlink.net/~johnrpenner/Articles/ St einer-Social.html

--

The Strength of the Wolf is the Pack;
and the Strength of the Pack is the Wolf.
(Rudyard Kipling)

Re:Well, duh (5)

cowscows (103644) | more than 14 years ago | (#1416394)

It seems to be more of an issue of perhaps the music industry sees the potential of online music sales to provide profit, but they just aren't sure how to best exploit it, and since it's hard to get an organization such as the music industry to change direction quickly, they might just be trying to control it as much as possible while they try and make the change, in hopes of avoiding smaller unknown companies from jumping in and grabbing up all the business. I don't really think of this as a valid excuse for all the headaches the record companies are causing, but it's maybe a slightly optimistic take on it all.
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