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Napster Not To Blame

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the killing-the-messenger dept.

Music 620

enjo13 writes "Slate is running an article on the music industries recent troubles. It articulates exactly what Slashdot has preached all along.. that the Music industry is suffering at its own hands and has no one to blame but itself. All I have to say is... finally." There's actually been a number of pieces like this, but I think this one says it best.

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First Strong Bad (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122049)

Come on fhqwhgads!

Re:First Strong Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122380)

s/First Strong Bad/you suck ass, motherfucker/;
while (1) {
print "you also lick my nutsack\n"
unpack( "My_Dick", "into your mouth" ) and
do { "lick my nuts again" }
while you_lick_my_nuts_just_once_more();

I feel that this article is in error (0, Troll)

Tim_F (12524) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122050)

Napster is indeed to blame for the decline in sales. It is much easier to download something than to go to the store and pay for it. And besides, once downloaded, you can then burn it onto an audio cd.

Wrongo. (1)

2names (531755) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122102)

Napster is not to blame for declining sales, the production of crap is. When the music industry puts out a good album/record/cd/whatever, people BUY IT. When they put out shit, people don't buy it. Lately they've been putting out gigantic fuckloads of SHIT. Simple as that.

Re:Wrongo. (2)

Matthew Luckie (173043) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122143)

Yes, you are exactly right. Last time I pirated music i made sure it was shit music that I would never even consider purchasing.
Nice logic.

Re: um, no (2)

subgeek (263292) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122364)

you obviously aren't involved in downloading music and never really were.

sure the kids download stuff instead of buying it, but they wouldn't buy as many anyway. sure when people were introduced to napster, they downloaded tons of music. i'll bet most of it is a listened once or twice and never touched again. i wouldn't buy a cd i would only listen to once or twice.

but i have downloaded music. if i like a song or a band, i buy the cd. if i don't like it, i erase it. it's more of a try before you buy thing than not paying at all.

i hope all of the corporate propaganda tasted good when you swallowed it all.

on an aside, it would be interesting to see how the sales of blank cassette tapes have changed since the sales of blank cd media has increased. i'd like to see them compared on a minutes of storage basis, as well as dollars.

Re:Wrongo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122181)

is a fuckload more or less than a shitload of assloads?

Re:Wrongo. (1)

ShavenYak (252902) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122273)

Judging by the acceptability of the words on TV, I would guess that
fuckload > shitload > assload > buttload
but, there's no way to determine from that if
fuckload > shitload * assload
so the answer to your question is unknown.

On the other hand, you asked if it was "more or less" so the answer is much more likely to be "yes" (it is more or less) than "no" (they are equal).

Re:I feel that this article is in error (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122135)

Please provide links to studies supporting your opinion.

Or go away.

Re:I feel that this article is in error (5, Interesting)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122139)

It is much easier to download something than to go to the store and pay for it.

I think the "easier" part is the crux of the issue. If record companies make it easy to download and pay (a reasonable price mind you) for your music then a majority of folks would. The key is to make it easy and cheap and this will destroy any blackmarket or free file sharing communities. Make so easy and cheap that it is not even worth saving it your disk in most cases.

The video rental market is a great analogy. There was a lot of concern that when video rentals people would just copy video's and share them with their friend and sales would plummet. The opposite is true because it is just not worth the hassle and space.

Not really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122229)

Ever copy a tape? Copies of VHS blow chunks.

Not to mention the fact that VHS, original or copy, is prone to rapid decay. (Call me crazy, but I'm one of the people who *watches* the movies they own, because, damnit, I *like* watching them.)

CD's don't decay, at least not from use, and if we're talking mp3s sitting on a hard drive, there is no decay.

That said, you're right - if they made it easy and cheap, people would buy their music online and download it.

I don't know about not saving it - the vast majority of people are still on modems. (But then, the vast majority of music thieves (I refuse to use the word pirate. Arr.) utilize broadband.)

I think you are correct. (1)

InTenCity (588142) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122274)

It costs a lot of money to manufacture a CD, but it would cost the music industry very little to sell downloads of there music. If they sold there songs at say $.50 to $.30 USD for one downloaded song, they would probably sell a lot of music.

Re:I think you are correct. (2)

ShavenYak (252902) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122345)

It costs a lot of money to manufacture a CD...

Yeah, if you think $0.50 is a lot of money - and I've seen that kind of pricing in quantities of a few thousand, I can only guess how low it gets if you press millions.

Perhaps you meant to include the cost of recording, mixing, mastering, graphic design, and such, but those are one-time expenditures and get spread over all the CDs, adding another fraction of a dollar to the cost (at least for major labels).

That said, you're probably right that folks would be willing to pay $0.50/song for downloads, but only if none of their friends had already downloaded it and copied it for them.

Like DUH! (1)

FuzzyGuru (599844) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122052)

gee.. so Napster was a good business model, eh?

Re:Like DUH! (3, Funny)

flewp (458359) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122189)

Yeah, really. And Duh! According to the current poll it's the screaming dancing guy from MS. Sheesh.

Anyone here have a spastic colon? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122054)

What's the pain like? I think I may have it.

yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122059)

let's preach to the choir some more!!

like stones to a monster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122072)

one word: yes.!

Hasn't this been said... (2, Insightful)

basilisk128 (577687) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122074)

...many many times? The recording industry just wants to blame something other than themselves for the loss in profits.

Re:Hasn't this been said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122175)

What loss in profits?

Re:Hasn't this been said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122367)

in the past, if an music release SUCKED.....we said "man that SUCKED!"

now all these music industry fucktards now get to all chime in unison "it's napsters fault it's napsters fault"

oh boo hoo you fuckers....just because parents stopped giving their kids all this cash to blow on useless slick commercialed garbage.


What is this (1)

youBastrd (602151) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122078)

Dumb question -- does anyone know what is? Because we were all just suckered into going to a site with all these MSN ads everywhere.

Is it a news page? I've never heard of it. Has Slashdot been inadvertantly used as advertising for this website?

Re:What is this (0, Offtopic)

krinsh (94283) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122138)

I've been reading Slate for many years; and often printed it before they charged a subscription fee (at one point - which I do believe was shortly after being taken over by MSN). It may be an MSN-centric publication in some ways but I've always found it to be pretty interesting. Of course, regardless of what the numbers say; and irrespectful of the fact that we ARE IN A RECESSION, it will be the music-swappers' faults this happened. Just like it was cassette tapes back in the day, right?

Re:What is this (1)

Roosey (465478) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122206)

Slate is an online news magazine that focuses primarily on contemporary issues and current events. It's part of MSN's conglomerate of websites and can be found linked in the sidebar as the 'Opinion' part of "News and Opinion."

I found it through awhile back and I've been reading it regularly ever since. Their political and economic commentary is usually interesting (this article being an example of one of the better ones I've seen there) and fairly witty. Good stuff, at least in my opinion.

Re:What is this (3, Informative)

KelsoLundeen (454249) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122213)

What are you, twelve years old?

Slate has been around for years. Almost as long as Salon (if not longer.)

Michael Kinsley used to edit it. (The same Kinsley who used to sit off to the side of Buckley's _Firing Line_ and goad good ol' Bill with nuggets o' thought.)

Wait, if you don't know Slate, you probably have no idea who W F Buckley is either, right? Or his National Review?

Last time I saw WFB was on Charlie Rose. WFB hosting for Rose. My god. What a painful experience that was.

Anyway, do yourself a favor. Even if you think NR is fulla shit and WFB is fulla shit then hop on over to (a) Slate (occasionally), (b) National Review (occasionally), and (c) the New Republic (occasionally).

You don't need to agree with the views -- but dear god, my boy, get yourself at least a respectable smidgeon of political knowledge -- and awareness of the "standard" political rags -- so you can refrain from posting bizarre stuff like "What is this Slate thing?"

Re:What is this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122325)

Don't be so hard on the guy. Slate is by no means on the same level as the New Republic or the National Review. It also hasn't been around nearly as long, at least not in the mainstream. I've been reading it for some time but it falls into repetitive satire most of the time, which makes it get boring fairly quickly. Not a bad read from time to time, but certainly nothing to base your political opinions on.

Re:What is this (1)

KelsoLundeen (454249) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122366)

Okay, you're right. It hasn't been around for long. I apologize. It just seemed strange to me that he thought it was some sort of conspiracy to click on MSN ads. I figured most people -- even if they don't like Slate -- at least have *heard* of Slate. But maybe not.

True, Slate is part of Microsoft. But it's by no means anything like the "astrology" section on or whatever else MSN has on its portal to suck in clicks and generate revenue.

Re:What is this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122309)

yes. it is a dumb question.

blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122085)

"ditto ditto ditto"

Napster is to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122087)

I will be the first to admit it. I do not buy cd's because I can download all the music I like for free and burn them.

Re:Napster is to blame (1)

threeFiddy (602650) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122348)

I would bet that you are not the majority. I for one like to download music to see what I like and what I don't like. If I find something I like it is alot more convenient to simply go out and buy the CD, then to find all the songs in a Napster clone.

The only difference is, I don't spend my money on garbage one hit wonder CD's...Which I wouldn't have wasted my time on anyway. Either way, the recording industry will get no money from me unless they make good music!

the RIAA themselves said it! (3, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122092)

The RIAA found that young consumers are less likely to forge strong bonds to the music that they buy and are unlikely to either buy previous albums from an artist or subsequent albums.

So. Music today basically blows. The major component of the music market are less likely to buy a ton of CDs from one artist and are instead more likely to just hop the bandwagon for a short time...

Re:the RIAA themselves said it! (1)

Totally_Lost (177765) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122223)

Then why does the same audiance even take the time and enegry to rip and collect hundreds of CD's? There must be some status in collecting bad music they would never listen too :)

Re:the RIAA themselves said it! (2)

garcia (6573) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122324)

it's not that. My roommate and I have a large MP3 collection that we use during parties. We have one of the widest and well-liked collections (so we hear).

We collect a range of music (whether or not we feel it sucks, there's always the "next" button) so that just about anyone that comes over can hear something that they appreciate. It keeps the serious drunkards happy.

Re:the RIAA themselves said it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122349)

So. Music today basically blows.

No no no. You're not thinking like a good RIAA stooge. There's nothing wrong with today's music. It is in fact todays young consumers that blow.

Great - now will Someone ressurct Napster? (2)

szyzyg (7313) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122096)

It'd be nice not to have to go and find another job....

The problem is... (3, Funny)

thelinuxking (574760) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122098)

Napster and its successors are obviously not the problem...its just like the article says...its those damn cassette tapes! Ban them!

Slate is hardly unbiased journalizm (0, Troll)

Totally_Lost (177765) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122099)

It is interesting to have this form crying about copyright violation of open source code today, while continuing to deny that the film/music industry has exactly the same copyright protections.

Re:Slate is hardly unbiased journalizm (2)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122195)

Sorry dude, there's a diff.

Anyone sharing Britney doesn't claim that it's their own work (who would *want* to, but that's another item).

SigmaDesigns copied code and claimed it as their own work.

See the diff?

Re:Slate is hardly unbiased journalizm (1)

Totally_Lost (177765) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122243)

SOrry dude ... anybody riping and collecting works they don't pay for are simply stealing - which IS a form of calling it theirs when they didn't pay for it.

It's not the pirates... (3, Interesting)

thanq (321486) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122105)

Britney Spears' latest album has moved 4 million copies--a big number, but less than half what its predecessor did.

That's one statement that sums it all up: music industry's slumping sales are not because of the pirates, it's because of the crappier cookie-cutting kind of music that's being rewarmed over and over and over.

I won't believe that Britney's albums are not selling as well as they used to because everyone wants to get them for free.

(aside from the obvious, why would anyone listen to it, not mentioning OWNING a cd with her music???)

Re:It's not the pirates... (2, Insightful)

i7dude (473077) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122194)

its not just that... a lot of the 14 year olds who bought her earlier albums are now 16 and much they dont buy them, being cool, and peer pressure are a much more dangerous to the 10-second-attention-span-entertainment industy.

"like, you briteny was like my favorite when i was 14...but i'm like sooo much older now and i like listen to cooler stuff now."


Re:It's not the pirates... (3, Interesting)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122225)

"I won't believe that Britney's albums are not selling as well as they used to because everyone wants to get them for free."

Take, for example, my neighbors kid. She's 14 and can't afford a $20 CD so she asked her mom. Her mom says something like: "All her music sounds the same. Just listen to the radio." She asked my son if she could download it at my house.
I told her I was doing her a favor, and gave her 3 phish CDs.
The good news... now she wants to download phish cds.

The point? Well she wasn't buying CDs to begin with - this is not lost sales. Downloading the legally traded phish stuff does build word of mouth fan base for phish. Maybe it will generate sales for them in the future.

The why rip and collect it if so bad? (1)

Totally_Lost (177765) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122262)

This is a totally BS argument - people don't rip and P2P share a million copies of shit. It's pure theft, with an everybody is doing it excuse.

Re:The why rip and collect it if so bad? (1)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122326)

Maybe it's not shit. Maybe some people REALLY like it. That is not the point. The point is, people are not willing to pay the asking price and are seeking other means of acquisition. This is not the fault of the P2P networks. If the music were of a quality and price that would lure consumers to the store to buy, the p2p networks would decline. Give the people what they want and they'll buy it. Push them less than they want or charge too much and demand will decrease.

Re:The why rip and collect it if so bad? (2, Informative)

hawkbug (94280) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122334)

People don't rip? Myself, and 4 other people I know with mp3 players in our cars or portable mp3 players sure as hell do. Granted, I download some songs here and there, but also rip 10x more than I download from purchased cds. I don't want my cds sitting in the car melting from the heat, or getting scratched because some fool doesn't know how to handle them correctly. I love groups like 311, and have gone to great lengths to even purchase their unreleased stuff off their own website. Don't tell me people don't rip music just because you don't, and as a result end up stealing everything you listen to.

Sounds like my daughter (2, Interesting)

gregw51 (152615) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122271)

She likes the teen-pop stuff, but it doesn't stick. She figures out that the new album from band A sounds just like their last album, so she moves on. Pretty much the same stuff with a slightly different twist, but she sure wants a lot fewer CD's now than she did a year ago.

Re:It's not the pirates... (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122303)

Hm. Well, people /could/ buy older CDs if they wanted to -- there are still people who enjoy classical music, or doo-wop, or 60's/70's rock, et al. Do they, or do sales for non-new music drop off that rapidly?

(It wouldn't surprise me if they WERE very low; the few times I've ever been in a music store, older, presumably less-hip music generally seemed to be cheaper, which suggests to me that demand isn't that high.)

A somewhat similar article, (5, Interesting)

AtariKee (455870) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122110)

at least in subject matter, ran in both the online and print editions of USA Today on June 5. The article was very well written and insightful; something that surprised me considering the rag it ran in.

The online version is still up here [] .

so flippin obvious (1)

poil11 (186519) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122111)

the music that is coming out today sucks. there is no good albums. the only great albums that came out so far this year have been from independent labels in my opinion. there is no music for the teeny boppers who grew up and don't listen to nsync or birttaney. they are sick and tired of brittanty and want something better. but there is nothing better, cause the music industry just wants to make a buck. its there fault that more and more people are getting free mp3's. if they put out better music at cheaper prices that they should be. the industry would do much much better. 15, 20 dollars for a cd, BLAH. i remember hearing a rumor that they would lower pricesa long time ago. blah, hasn't happened. music industry is only faltering because the music that gets put out is crapola.

It's not just the music industry (5, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122118)

Looks like Ford [] is getting into the act.

Re:It's not just the music industry (1)

jat850 (589750) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122179)

Holy CRAP, that article feels like it should have been posted on April Fool's Day...

No, no really, please someone tell me that article was a joke and I missed it.

Re:It's not just the music industry (1)

jat850 (589750) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122205)

Hmm, forgive my ignorance, I should have spent a few minutes looking at the rest of the page.

/me takes off his gullible hat. :D

Re:It's not just the music industry (1)

Ageless Stranger (540738) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122247)

The article was a joke and you missed it. Are you happy now? :)

Re:It's not just the music industry (1)

jat850 (589750) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122288)

s/happy/feeling sheepish -- yes :)

Those darned stats (1)

Whispers_in_the_dark (560817) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122121)

"More than two-thirds of CDs bought in the United States sell to consumers who rarely or never download music files from the Web, Forrester concludes."

What's the percentage from the general population that downloads music files from the web? If it's more than 15% I'd be amazed.

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics."
--Benjamin Disraeli

Re:Those darned stats (1)

Totally_Lost (177765) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122304)

that's easy 2/3 of the population are morally straight, 19% of the population doesn't care about music CD's, and 15% are just plain thieves without any moral compass.

One Problem (0)

jwilcox154 (469038) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122127)

It doesn't matter how much evidence there is supporting Napster (or P2P in general), the RIAA will bri, er, I mean Lobby congress and have some compelling evidence of their own to present to them.

If CON is the opposite of PRO
Shoudn't that make CONgress the opposite of PROgress?

One question.. (0, Troll)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122130)

What the fuck is LNUX doing at 1.54? Buyout rumors?? Why would anyone want them?

exactly what I have been saying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122146)

Napster is NOT to blame. The users are! If those lazy lowlifes would just buy music like normal people, napster would still be with us. Damn you hippies make me mad.

Cut you hair and buy some decent cloths
and stop using Linux

Catch up to the 21st century, start using Windows!

This is speculation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122147)

I want solid proof. Can you show me what the recording industry did at the exact same time as napster, without napster existing?


Then you cannot claim that napster did good or bad in the music industry, period.

Feel free to speculate all you want, but don't pass it off as fact (btw - file sharing still exists, btw).

finally... (2)

jukal (523582) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122148)

...we have reached the point in which it is impossible for people to understand that music business is - business.

Even if that CD costs $4242 in the store, it's a product. If you want it, buy it.

I wouldn't be so sure (5, Interesting)

targo (409974) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122162)

Personally, I can definitely say that the labels are getting less money from me than they used to.
The main reasons are:
1) Very often I want to listen to just something very particular, and I believe it is silly to pay (and ask) $15 for just one song.
2) Convenience. Using file-sharing programs, I can get anything I want in a minute or two, in a convenient format that I can copy to my laptop and listen in my car or whatever. Buying a CD will never give me that. And yes, I know that there are ways to buy single songs online etc but the choice tends to be crappy, (the late) Napster and its clones have always had a better and more interesting choice.
I believe that there are many people who share these reasons and there's going to be more and more every day. Now, the point is that the music industry could definitely do a better job here by making it cheaper and more convenient to get what I want but it is also wrong to say that online music sharing has no effect on their revenue.

Even the Once-Cool Now Sucks (5, Interesting)

superdan2k (135614) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122174)

Even proven acts that I've been a long-time fan of have been getting worse and worse. Two prime examples: Bad Religion and Public Enemy. (I like my music with a social/political bent.) Bad Religion hasn't put out a *solid* album since 1991's Stranger Than Fiction, but I buy them anyway, in hopes that they've gotten back to their ass-kicking roots. The newest Public Enemy album (Revolverlution), which I purchased yesterday, is worse than Bad Religion's recent efforts -- there are a few original, new songs on the disc, but there's also live performances of old songs, remixes of old songs, an interview track, and two PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS by Chuck D and Flava Flav.

Don't get me started on the dogshit that passes for Aerosmith music as of late.

The point is, it's not just new artists targetted at the 18-25 market...all of music is sucking ass lately. Sometimes, I think that there was more to the move to ban Napster and other P2P systems than just the "loss of sales" argument. I found some real gems on Napster -- stuff I'd never listen to before, Napster started me on a blues kick that continues to this day, for example. God forbid that the record companies should have to start dropping their NuMetal Poserbands and Bling-Bling Flash-in-the-Pan Rap Acts in favor of signing some bands with real musical talent, because real musical acts are harder to sell than a prepackaged pseudo-lifestyle.

I guess part of why music sucks is that the idiots in the RIAA know they have a losing formula, but stick to it because it's all they know.

You're both right (5, Insightful)

xant (99438) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122338)

It's not just new music, but it is caused by the music industry. Haven't you ever noticed how frequently good bands break up and reform into other, newer good bands? Personal conflicts with the other band members are usually cited as the reason for the breakup, but the truth is good bands break up because they get bored doing the same old shit, and they need fresh blood and fresh directions to keep making good music. Band breakups sometimes result in less good music, but I think the new (and different) bands that result are better for music quality on the whole. Think of it as sexual reproduction for music; more genes being passed around means more advantageous adaptations.

Yet at the same time, the music industry wants bands like Aerosmith to stay together for album after ass-like album, and usually, they have legal language in the contracts to enforce it for the first few albums. (After those few, if a band is still popular, they may have the clout to be able to write their own contracts. But they're usually dead by then.)

With very few exceptions, bands that have been around forever suck because they've been around forever, and their sound is tired and dead. But people keep buying their albums, as you just said yourself. The music industry, including the artists, realizes this: big name = more sales. New artists have little choice in the matter but to stay together. Big artists who get greedy try to stay together; big artists who care about the quality of their music go on to try different things. Those different things may not sell as well, but they sound better.

Re:Even the Once-Cool Now Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122342)

Add the falling quality of music videos to the falling quality of the music itself. I'm all in favor of looking at beautiful women, but I'm really tired of the gratuitous jiggling women that populate all the videos MTV shows these days. There is the occasional cool video, still, but it looks like the majority of video producers have not the slightest amount of creativity.

"Uhh, what should we do now?"

"Hey, let's have some naked chicks dancing!"

"Yeah, that's cool! You're such a hipster. Let's do the same thing for the next video."

i don't believe the RIAA is so clueless.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122177)

I'm sure they know exactly why they're losing sales. I'm sure they don't care.

Blaming 'piracy' is not only easy, but the laws that have been passed to prevent it give them a much tighter control over their industry than they ever had before.

Pirates be damned - they want us to pay a royalty every time we press play on our WalkMans, no matter whats in there. And they inch closer and closer to this goal every time a P2P client goes online.

I mean you're going to tell me Britney's latest only sold 4 million instead of 8, because 4 million of us pirated it, and not because our throwaway culture simply tired of her? Or it perhaps simply wasn't as good as the original?

(myself I have no way to rate which album is better, my crap-o-meter is broken)

Both sides make stupid assumptions (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122178)

"The RIAA, of course, has studies that say otherwise."

But we'll ignore them because this one says what we want it to say. Don't fall into the same trap as they do. Just because you may buy more CDs because of downloading music doesn't mean everyone does. Just because you enjoy the ability to download music doesn't mean it's not detrimental to the music industry. I do believe that p2p services harm the music and entertainment industries. However, I believe that the benefit to consumers is greater than the detriment to the industry. The ability to be able to find any music, whether new, old, rare, or common, is wonderful. The music and entertainment industries (although with Congress) need to step up and start giving consumers what they want, because eventually it will end up biting them on the ass.

Hold on. (3, Interesting)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122188)

Now don't tell me that you can look back and say "well, it isn't napsters fault".
You CAN'T. You need a study that shows what happened when Napster came around. We have plenty of those. Now you need a study that shows what happened, in the exact same time period as napster, without napster. Anyone got a time machine?
Napster (and other file sharing programs/piracy) MAY OF done the music industry bad. Napster (and other file sharing programs/piracy) MAY OF done the music industry good.
But there is no possible way you can say it is one way for sure. File sharing still exists and is still widely used (KaZaA and Morpheus come to mind), so there is no possible way we can look at stats and compare.

So take this article with a grain of salt, not with absolute conviction.

Re:Hold on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122228)


It drives me up the fucking wall when I see this. The last time I saw it was when I was 14 and was proof-reading someone else's writing assignment.


And to think, increased constraints are just.... (2)

3seas (184403) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122192)

beginning to happen..... The Dark Ages again....

Was watching a Voyager rerun last nite - it was broadcast in digital and had more digital corruption in it and the analog air wave static..

First time I saw that epsoide, it wasn't being broadcast in digital format and look fine...

Like music I guess TV is going down hill too.

All in the name of anti-piracy.....

It works too......if nobody wants it.....who's gonna pirate it?

The ultimate in piracy protection!!!! yeah buddy.....happy now?

Occam's razor again (2, Insightful)

r_j_prahad (309298) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122197)

For the past few days I have been seeing on TV some extremely negative reviews about Eminem's new music video. I have not seen it myself, but if the news is accurate it is one of the most revolting pieces of putrified garbage that the U.S. music industry has ever perpetrated on the American public.

So they are staying away from this trash in droves, and the RIAA is blaming piracy? The truth is more likely that there has been a sudden unexplainable outbreak of good taste by music-listeners.

Napster has nothing to do with it, nor does RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122198)

There are no self inflicted wounds here. It's simple economics. When the economy was great, people bought music. Now that it's not, they're not.

I think it's finally just time to stop... (3, Interesting)

TheCrayfish (73892) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122202)

...making new pop and rock music. If we arbitrarily assign 1957 as the first year of Rock and Roll, then we've got 45 years' worth of music we can all go back through and mine for gems (as long as it all stays in print, of course.) I mean, until everyone owns "Marquee Moon" by Television, and at least one album by Nick Lowe, The Clash, Argent, 10cc, Pilot, The Soft Boys, The Undertones, The Velvet Underground, The Sex Pistols, Eddie Cochran, Elvis Costello, XTC, Radiohead, Badfinger, The Who, The Flaming Lips, and Love, why do we need anything new?

Napster started it all (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122208)

I used to buy a lot of CDs (40-50 a year), happily laying down $15-20 each, sometimes for a CD I would listen to once - which is my point: Napster may not be hurting the sales of the U2s, Pink Floyds, and Rolling Stones of the industry, as these are quality bands who put out quality albums (mostly). But imagine the effect on the sales of some of the recent spate of flash-in-the-pan acts... I liked Linkin Park's last few singles, but the truth is that I was sick of them long before I bought the CD. The same is true for a lot of acts.

Napster popularized P2P, and really brought about the try-before-you-buy mindset that alot of people have developped since in buying CDs; the effect has been lowered sales of mediocre products. David Bowie will continue to sell millions of CDs despite P2P, good luck to the middle-of-the-road acts though.

Also, P2P brings about lowered "thought-out" purchasing decisions much more than impulse buys. I would think that music that appeals to teenagers who have less disposable income (and thus are more prone to thinking out how to spend $20) will be much harder hit than music which appeals to the more affluent "older" crowds. It's a terrible thought, but I bet Britney Spears would have sold many more albums ten years ago - wheareas I doubt that an artist like Eric Clapton is much affected either way.

Napster to blame?! (1)

bDerrly (246981) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122217)

What I find annoying is this...who among us actually used Napster for any period of time? Sure I used it for a few weeks right before the huge craze. But after that I decided IRC was still better than Napster. Napster didn't do anything besides create a media craze for this thing called "mp3s" which then spawned innovations like "mp3 players." The only reason Napster made it so big was the response of the millions of automaton drones spread across American that only know how to follow the latest trend.

Boycotts ahoy (1, Interesting)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122219)

I think a lot of the decline is sales is the price of albums nowadays. It's ludicrous to pay $20 for something that costs less than $1 to produce. THAT'S probably what's killing consumer interest, but digital piracy makes a handy scapegoat. If piracy ended tomorrow, the sales would barely move I think.

Don't know about anyone else, but I've boycotted the recording industry for over 2 years now. Haven't bought an album since late 1999. There's albums I want, I'm a music junkie, and it's been like qutting heroin, but I flat out will NOT part with one single cent to the bastards anymore until they get a clue and stop publishing LIES.

For the record, no, I haven't pirated albums I would otherwise have bought. I've simply gone without, which given how much into music I've always been has bee REALLY hard at times, but I just can't, in good conscience, finance this insanity.

Re:Boycotts ahoy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122272)

What about independent labels? Check out Touch and Go [] or Thrill Jockey [] .

yay (1)

greymond (539980) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122233)

another good common sense article - to bad it still wont make that much of a difference.

Ever take economics? (3, Insightful)

nsanit (153392) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122236)

Nowhere did the article bother to talk about the woes of the economy.

Maybe I'm just a freak, but I know if I'm trying to curtail my spending, as many are in the uncertain economy, music purchases would be one of the first things I'd stop.

I know, their sales have been diminishing since before the US economy started heading south, but it's a possibility.

Maybe if the price of a cd was less than 700% profict for RIAA (dont know the number, but I know it's HUGE), and they cost what they were worth they would sell more.

I know this is theory, but I was taught in my econ class back in college that the sale price was where the supply and demand curve met. That point was the price that the consumer considered 'fair'.

Maybe RIAA needs to think about THAT. Maybe more and more consumers are thinking that cd's are just not worth the money and are settling for what's on the radio and not buying cd's. I'm sure some are turning to P2P software too, but I imagine that really is the minority.

I dont download music (used to - delted them all) and I will buy cd's. I've not bought one in almost 6 months because there hasnt been one that I think is worth the money.

Maybe I didnt think there were any worth the money because they are cookie cutter as the article stated. Maybe it's because it's just too damned expensive.


Re:Ever take economics? (1)

questionlp (58365) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122379)

Actually... they mentioned it in the article... although quite briefly though. From the last couple sentences of the second paragraph:
There's also been a recession, of course, and resistance to CD prices that have grown much faster than the inflation rate. Perhaps the most important factor, however, is the major labels' very success in dominating the market, which has squelched musical innovation.
I guess the fat rich execs don't even see a recession because they themselves have a load of cash somewhere (be it in stocks, banks or off-shore accounts).

Hypocritical bastards... (0, Troll)

tempest303 (259600) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122241)

Yes, that's it! It's ALL the RIAA's fault! They MADE you download the software, and held a gun to your head to click that "Install" button. Then they theatened to asault your families if you didn't "share"* as many MP3s as you could!

* what a laughable term for what Napster was about. Yeah, it wasn't "stealing" in the traditional dictionary definition, but what would you have said if someone were "sharing" binary-only modified copies of GPL'd software? Would that still be sharing? Or would it now be stealing?

For that matter, if the music the RIAA put out was SOOOO bad, why are all you jerkoffs so desperate to get your hands on it via Napster, Gnutella, et al? You're as shitty as the **AA fuckers you're supposedly against.

Finally, for the record, I am a GPL-phile. This doesn't mean I'm for "Everything should be Free Beer!", but rather that I feel I must have a degree of respect for ALL intellectual property rights, even the ones that I think suck, excepting, of course, anything that skirts honest Fair Use.

That said, dare to challenge your views! And feel free to mod me down, bitches! I have no fear of /. hypocricy!

Re:Hypocritical bastards... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122370)

Wrong, many bands support things such as napster and audiogalaxy. It's when the RIAA speaks for everyone and gets them shutdown is when people get pissed.

I have a friend in a band and all his stuff on audiogalaxy that he would be glad share with the world is now blocked because of the RIAA.

The RIAA Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122244)

I have found the RIAA's behavior over the last few years intolerable, and refuse to have MY culture owned by a bunch of big greedy corporations. I simply do not buy new CDs anymore. Instead I just listen to the music that I already own, and look for music online that is non-RIAA encumbered.



_ph1ux_ (216706) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122250)

of course not... we've known all along - its Canada!

(* 0.19 0.33) = 0.627 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122255)

Haha... Well, I'm for downloading, but I thought the fact that the article implied downloading couldn't account for the 6% slump was funny since of the 33% of cd buyers who download (according to the article), 19% don't say that they are buying as many or more cd's as they used to.

What do you know? 19% of 33% is 6.27%

Re:(* 0.19 0.33) = 0.627 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122328)

Hmmmm... If only statistical analysis were that
simple. Still, it is interesting. Everyone is so quick to downplay the effects of downloading that they don't give both sides fair analysis.

Finally? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122270)

Finally what?

Slate isnt exactly mass media.

this isnt finally anything .. this isnt new .. we all know music companies fucked themselves .. and this article isnt going to change anyuone minds or inform more people. Not the fault of the article, but sad fact is that slate is read by tech savvy people who are already on our side and/or know about all the p2p issues anyway.

Don't get it (1)

PEdelman (200362) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122281)

I still dont get it; everybody and their dog downloads music and burns it on CD instead of buying it in the store. Yet, every story here on \. claims that the drop in CD sales is not caused by illegally copying and how bad the RIAA is (sure, the RIAA is bad). Could somebody please explain this to me -- I've never followed economy class, but to me all the music industry bashing just sounds like some crappy arguments to cover the fact that file sharing is just convenient (in many ways, not just economically).

If the artist shows up on a lunchbox ... (1)

Raiford (599622) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122298)

Here's the indication that you have a weak product. If the artist shows up on a kids lunchbox you will eventually lose money. This will probably occur after the initial flash. The truth comes out that there is no real talent there and your big product has no sound market base. The base will shift to the next big no talent flash.

Here is the big difference in today's music world compared to the past: past markets were more stable because you promoted talent and not product. Additionally, your target audience had an average age > 13 years old.

Why I hate the RIAA and loved Napster (1)

Angus McNitt (542101) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122300)

I don't like the music industry. I know that is an amazingly profound statement, but the majority of bands I like and music I like get suppressed by the US record lables. Most of the indie bands I like now publish mp3 (or ogg) not audio cds and just request donations for studio time. I loved napster 'cause it gave these bands national or international exposure.

Sometimes I wonder if they, RIAA, feared that more. They are on such a power trip, that the lost or degradation of that power was a bigger threat to their way of life than lost profits. If bands could get direct access to the fans, without needing the corporate ties to get an album out and get it airtime, why bother?

Napster not to Blame (2, Interesting)

gn08979 (602850) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122306)

Hmmmmmmmm. I could buy the Shrek soundtrack for $19 or I could buy the Shrek DVD for the same $19. Whats wrong here? Seems we get a lot more content on the DVD. I can download movies from the net, why isn't that hurting the studios? Perhaps, and this is just a hunch.......there are far fewer stupid people willing to buy the crap that the record companies are trying to shove down out throats? Could it have anything to do with content? Now I now that there are some DVD's that I just "must have" the first week they are out. I can't remember the last time I anticipated such a CD (OK, I bought the last Chili Peppers CD on the first day it was out, BUT, that is partially because Best Buy sould it for $13 for the first day of release only)

the economy is down in general... (1)

osterday (162597) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122322)

i realize that there are a few posts like this, but anyway...

with the economy on the down side and unemployment on the rise and in the middle of a "recession", doesn't it make sense that there is less disposable income out there so sales will be down? look at all the layoffs, etc. does the music industry think it's immune to the world around them? i work for a .com still in start up mode struggling to stay afloat. i used to buy cds all the time. recently i think i've only bought three cds in the last six months and not many more in the last year or so. also, most of the music coming out isn't as good as the stuff i can _listen_ to on the 'net. i'm sure there is some impact of the p2p networks that has hit the music industry - maybe now they'll take notice of us - the music listeners.

When it comes to music.... (1)

Query_Squidier (247764) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122332)

Radiohead. Most intelligent, gloriously groovy music in existence. Sorry for the off-topic, had to retort to Britney Spears... ack.

Heh...Ad at the "bottom"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4122339)

Anyone else notice the Joranda ad at the bottom of the article?

Jornada 568 Personal Digital Ass
Meetings, appointments, projects, and deadlinessometimes its hard keeping it all together. Organizing isnt the issueits about...
Up to 20% off everything you ...

Wow! My own Personal Digital Ass! I'm *so* excited!

Color me unimpressed (2)

shaldannon (752) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122340)

OK so we got a story on Slate. Slashdot says this all the time. Big Woop.

Let me know when it shows up in Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, or some of Jack Valenti's ti^Hrade mags.

The issue really isn't about "someone else just joined our bandwagon." It's about who just joined your bandwagon, and if the who doesn't include the folks making, marketing, and distributing the music, then it really doesn't make a whole hill of beans worth of difference, does it?

Innovation is still out there... (5, Interesting)

Kraegar (565221) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122343)

Maybe the Big 5 will learn from people like Ani Difranco - new, original, heartfelt music. She has her own label, Rightease Babe [] and is doing quite well in both CD sales and profits.

She even does things like put *full* sample tracks on her website. *gasp*

And her sales and profits climb...

And her music continues to be her own...

And her music continues to kick ass.

Are you reading, RIAA?

Not again (1)

porkface (562081) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122353)

Everyone is correct to say that there was a problem and that something had to be done. That does not make Napster et al right. It was widespread looting. There is a system folks. Follow it or lose it.

A half-done article? (3, Insightful)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122360)

They seemed to start to go in the direction.. they talked about how MTV, for example, managed to launch the video-based British (re)invasion by providing an avenue for a 'different' musical style to enter the market, and how the current market has become monopolized and bland.

They didn't however, go the the next stage of the argument -- that P2P networks have provided an avenue for (currently) non-mainstream artists to get exposure and market share.

They also seem to miss the question of whether the rise and fall of Napster coincided with the rise and fall of CD purchases. These seemed like obvious next steps for the article, but then it just seemed to .... stop.

Don't know if it counts... (1)

JasonMaggini (190142) | more than 12 years ago | (#4122372)

..But I haven't bought a *new* CD in ages.. either by way of or the local megachain, I stick to used.
If enough people are doing that, maybe it is taking a bite out of sales.
Of course the RIAA is no doubt trying to weasel in on that, too...
Plus, as noted above, music as of late is proving Sturgeon's Law - 90% of everything is [crud|crap].

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