Guitar News Weekly
Edition #94, June 12, 2000
CAN NAPSTER PUT AN END TO MUSIC PIRACY?
Article by Musicians Cafe:
We at Musicians Cafe are happy to join artists who are supporting Napster in its effort to survive against challenges by media corporations and the RIAA.
Technological advances have always taken on negative overtones when threatening the control of those in power. The major record labels have had it so good for so long that they forget that it was the technology of the CD that allowed them to double their prices for music, which was then being sold on tape and vinyl. They screamed that the costs were greater, but by now, we all know who the pirates were.
Any artist who has ever signed a deal with a major knows that if he gets an advance, that may well be the last money he or she ever sees from the label. Recording and promotional cost will eat up any royalties long before they trickle down to the artist. To be fair, there may be payments to the publisher. But nowadays, the publisher could well be a division of the label. The writer may receive money from the publisher, after all administrative fees are deducted. You get the idea.
Major labels have always done their best to get radio stations to play their records for all to hear, free of charge. The records are often supplied to the station as freebies. This is called promotion. And promotion is really what it's all about. With promotion, the label can sell it's product, the artist can set up tours and endorsements, the radio station can market its commercials and ASCAP and BMI can collect performance royalties for their members.
But the Napster approach has taken everything one step further. Now, an individual can listen to his own "radio" program on his own computer. He can listen to the songs he likes and not the ones the promotion people are pushing this week. He can eliminate the eighty per-cent garbage tracks which are on most CDs. It gives him control and it's driving the major labels crazy.
What the major labels have always done well is promote the artist, and this in turn allows the artist to make his fortune in arenas the world over. But what if the labels no longer provided promotion? Could others fill this void? The answer is yes! Corporate sponsorship is already moving in this direction and could certainly increase. Tour promoters could promote much the way it's done in sporting events. Independent artists can promote themselves as they are beginning to do on the world wide web.
Napster is not the villain. Ever since people acquired the ability to record, music rights have been in danger. Sound motion pictures put many organists out of work. Every radio station had a band of live musicians to play on their stations. Recorded music put them out of a job. Television shows and films brought music into your home and kept you out of the concert halls. But today, music is more a part of our lives than ever and there are probably more people making a living from music that at any time in history. All is well. And all will be well with or without major labels or Napster. So kick back and enjoy.
DISCLAIMER: Any comments, views or opinions expressed through the site or newsletter are those of their respective authors, and are not necessarily endorsed by, or reflect those of the Editor, Neil Shedden or GuitarSite.com, or publishers Hitsquad.
GNW has no position on Napster, for or against. It is merely a vehicle for discussion, to bring you guitar and music news from a range of sources and views, for your entertainment and information. You can have your say on this, and other issues, in the Guitar Forum: http://www.guitarsite.com/discussion/
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