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Re: Metallica vs. Napster

6/2/2000 1:41 PM
Re: Metallica vs. Napster
"Metallica had 300,000 of their most devoted fans banned from Napster. Do you think these 300,000 people are ever going to purchase another Metallica CD? Talk about lost CD sales!"
I'm one of those fortunate souls who works inside the music business and once I learned how the business works I was blown away! The way you think everything should be is pretty much the opposite.  
One example is not all rock stars are rich!! Sugar Ray (newer band) went platinum (over one million records sold here in the states alone not counting sales in other countries) and they appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone. Now common sense would say that they had "made it" and were now rolling in the cash! Then the business end kicks in... they signed a sketchy contract and when they appeared on Rolling Stones cover they were all still on salary for about $250.00 a week!!! A bit twisted to say the least.  
Anyway this happens to far more bands than you can imagine. The do NOT got a dollar from the labels when they sell a CD. All that money goes to "recoup" (industry term which means you have to pay back money you "borrowed" which is much like a bank loan). Now the kicker is most bands will NOT make any money until they have either a hit tune (and then it's not full proof, ala-Sugar Ray) or their album sells big.  
Now let's say the band had an album or two out and the third album sells big. They are so "in the hole" from the other two records that all that money goes back to the label (bank) to repay what the label has shelled out for tour support, the recording costs to record the record, paying the producer's royalties ..."Yes" they get paid out right AND get what's called "points" (percentages) on each and every record sold.  
Sooooo to make a very complicated business somewhat simple....the ONLY way bands make ANY money (without being a major rock star) is from publishing and merchandise sales. So every time a CD is played in the radio or used for a commercial the artist gets paid. When they sell shirts, hats, etc. (Merch) they also get to keep this money (Unless the label is evil and takes a cut from that as well--which happens!!).  
Now the ONLY bands get to eat, live, and pay their bills is from Merchandise sales at shows or from publishing. Now Publishing is when a song gets played on Radio or used for Commercials or for live concerts that are aired on TV. Now here's the real kick in the teeth and this will kill you!!! BANDS DO NOT GET ONE RED CENT FOR HAVING THEIR VIDEO(S) PLAYED ON MTV, VH1, MUCH MUSIC, OR ANY OTHER SUCH PROGRAM!!!!!  
They deem this as free promotion that is geared to sell CD's. When someone digs a video they can go out and buy the CD (that's what they count on). Now you figure most bands spend about $500,000.00 for their first video and that's CHEAP!!! You have to keep in mind that they are spending this money knowing they will not get any money from the video-channels so they are counting on recouping (paying [back that money) through CD sales.  
Now once a band pays back all the expenses THAT'S when they finally start making money!!! This bring us to a most interesting topic. Napster.  
When people burn CD's for their friends or download the album for free off from the net then it's "lost sales" and this is where the music industry and many big bands are freakin' out!!  
Bands are not able to recoup the money like they used to be able to do and now a huge percentage of bands will never recoup the money and consequently this hurts the artist the most!  
So when you look at it from this view you can see the argument. I use Napster so I'm not going to sit here and be a hypocrite but I DO understand the argument. If you play, write and try to sell your own tunes then this will soon apply to you when you get a record deal.  
"Many music lovers find and sample music they like on Napster, then go out an buy the CD."
Usually people who download the tunes they want do not purchase the CD's. That's a statistical fact. People download the tune(s) they want for free so they do not have to purchase the whole CD for one for two songs.  
"The Record Company CEOs are playing a game with the Napster type of web sites. They are most likely using artists like Metallica and now others. It's a "You ain't gonna get our music for free" game. It's a "Ha, I gotcha" game. And humans love to play those games."
Let's say 30,000 Metallica fans downloaded only one song each. Now multiply 30,000 times .05 cents and then again by $2.00. The total you get is the total amount of money that taken out of the pockets of the ARTIST, not the label! Yes the labels make money but the artist who are struggling are the ones who really take the hit on this.  
Now labels count on CD sales to generate money to send artists out on tour (it's called tour support) and if that money isn't there then the tours get smaller and smaller and some bands will not be able to tour at all.  
"Money good. Napster good. Metallica bad"
Artists make their living selling their music. It's that simple. It's sort of like someone docking your paycheck where ever you work. You expect the make a certain amount of money each week/month/year. Now if you worked 40 hours a week you want to get paid for 40 hours, correct? What if someone started dipping in and suddenly you working 40 hours and only getting paid for 30 hours?  
There are two sides to every debate and in my humble opinion there is good and bad. I'm all for the artists making money but when you can't payback the label you may as well work at Buger King because the artists are usually making about the same amount each week regardless of what the fans think they are making. Of course huge artists are not hurting but the up & coming bands are.  
And now, a word from our sponsors:

5/22/2000 2:42 PM
don't get excited about it. napster represents a wave of technology/media that will NOT be quenched... it won't go away. all they've got to do is set up an offshore site to house their servers, and there's shit the US Govt can do about it.  
this thing's gonna happen whether ANYBODY likes it or not. the music industry is obviously not too thrilled about the concept--i.e. the end of business as usual--but too bad!  
5/22/2000 5:01 PM
John Stokes
The Napster issue is just one example of the big money corporate machine squashing anyting that gets in their way.  
Check out the ongoing litigation and arrests that happened over the DeCSS program. MPAA has their highest powered legal team trying to kill off some teenage hacker in Norway, and sites like and For those who don't know, movies on DVD are encrypted with a system called CSS, which prevents digital copying and enforces the regional control, so that europeans can't watch American DVDs. Some kid in Norway reverse engineered the crypto and put a program called DeCSS on the web which breaks the encryption so that you can watch any DVD anywhere on any machine. Hollywood blew a fuse and had the kid arrested and jailed, in Norway. However, by the time their attornies obtained all the arrest warrants and injunctions against posting the crack on websites, the cat was already out of the bag. They sued several sites that had the program available for download. They're also suing sites that tell you where you can download it (through links to other sites). The program has been so widely distributed, that they can't hope to kill it off, but the litigation continues. You can download it right now from foreign sites! They're also trying to go after anyone who has downloaded it by demanding the site owners turn over the connection logs. If you try to download it, do so through an anonymous FTP service. The strange thing, this one has never been over illegal copying, but access control! MPAA intends to control where and when you can watch the DVDs that you have purchased.  
Then there's the CP-Hack utility that decrypted the password for CyberPatrol, and listed all the web sites that it blocks. The Canadian and European kids who wrote that were also arrested, and had to turn over their copyright rights to the publishers of CyberPatrol. That has been effectively squashed, but it was widely distributed before the legal axe fell. I'm sure it's available if you knew who to ask.  
I'm sure there will be yet more examples, as the DMCA goes into effect. It specifically outlaws any reverse engineering or anything that circumvents access controls.  
We watch our constitutional rights become more eroded daily by big money interests.
5/22/2000 6:04 PM
Business Dude in a Suit.

Why the big firms are bugging about this is not about CD sales.. It's about PUBLISHING. Back pub is a cash cow at the Sony's etc of the world. Some 20% of revenue (or more?) and it's going 'bye bye' through somewhat low down means. They can't really sue Napster BC 100 more will spring up. (but they'll try of course..) I mean loaning your tunes to your friends is not illegal is it?  
You can sit and gloat at the big boys getting a shiner, but a lack of respect for what is owned and what is not will eventually bite us all in the ass. Like the a-holes who jump subway turnstiles, the commuting public will pay. Dig?  
You heard it here first.
5/22/2000 6:28 PM
John Stokes
Hey 3-piecer with the tasseled loafers,  
Look man, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, and I welcome hearing the other side of the arguement, so better understand why big money does what it does. You don't need to hide your identity behind an anon posting.  
What about loaning a CD to a buddy? What if he tapes it while he has it? How about if he has a CD writer and makes a CD copy? I think most of us have done that at least once in our lives. Hell, one of my buddies loaned me the CD of HIS band (he was out of original copies), and told me to go ahead and burn myself a CD copy if I wanted. I did! Is that illegal as well? I had the guy's verbal permission.
5/22/2000 6:30 PM
Metallica has said many times that they do not have an issue with people recording/bootlegging their "live" concerts. From there you can MP3, wav, whatever you want to do with it!  
What they do have a problem is people ripping off studio versions, i.e. there albums, and distributing them across internet, mp3, etc, without permission (i.e. royalties)! That's what Napster has done.  
As far as people calling them greedy, thats kinda absurd! When was the lastime that you received your weekly paycheck and handed it back to your boss. I like my job, but I'm not going to show up if they're not paying me. It helps to pay the bills too. If expecting to get paid for the work I do is greedy, then maybe I am greedy.  
And then I see stupid comments like, "But they're so rich anyway." Or other stupid comments like, "And those 300,000 distraught fans/Napster users that will never buy Metallica albums."  
Who cares! James, Lars, Kirk, and Jason are probbly pretty well off financially speaking. But I'm sure they don't earn as much as we think they do per album.  
We could all give are opinions on capitialism, communism, and other socialist ideas of why things should be free or why people are greedy, but the Napster issue is clear:  
They did not "ask" to use Metallica's "album" songs!  
They distibuted them without permission!  
Can you really argue with that.  
5/22/2000 7:29 PM
ken gilbert get with the program...
"They did not "ask" to use Metallica's "album" songs!  
They distibuted them without permission!  
Can you really argue with that."
well, no, that IS what happened, after all. i don't think we're argueing that though.  
the point here is that distribution can now be accomplished by ANYONE with access to the internet. the hardware is there, the access is there, the demand is there.  
how are you going to stop the internet ready population of the world? not bloody likely!  
obviously being a professional musician, or artist in general, is contingent on getting paid for your work.  
therefore you--as a professional musician--better invest some time researching possible methods to TAKE ADVANTAGE OF digital proliferation.  
i mean, this is a crazy concept--remember stephen king's latest book, the e-book? think about it.. the only overhead he had was to pay the security company that provided the copy protection scheme (which was ingenius in and of itself). THAT'S IT. he didn't pay anyone to print it, and didn't have to deal with how many copies to run, and how to distribute it, etc etc. it was all done for FREE. how much did it cost you to "register" the book and gain full access? like a buck or two..  
so the reader pays less money, and the writer pockets more of it. *that's* amazing. excuse my french, but fuck the middlemen. what kind of contribution do they make anyway? marketing hype, salesmanship, greed--it's gone on long enough as it is.  
suing people isn't going to accomplish anything whatsoever. does anyone here really think metallica is doing the RIGHT thing? yeah, right. i can tell you one thing--even if they "win" their legal battle, the endgame marks them the losers.  

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