Is Napster illegal? Tough question…
Actually, the issue really isn’t whether Napster is legal or not. The corporate suits and rich-bitch musicians would argue so, but it’s just a cover for their fears. They’re basically afraid of Napster because its done something that hasn’t happened in a while, but so desperately needed to happen. Napster has opened a door, a gigantic door, allowing the music industry to evolve drastically. Many people are insecure about this, but there’s really no way around change. It’s a natural phenomenon. Things need to change.
Figure this, did you really expect musicians to be making CDs forever? Or to put out a CD, then tour for a year, then take a year or two on the next disc, then tour, then make a CD, then tour, then blah, blah, blah, same old, same old?……No, because that would be boring. In fact I’m sure many people would agree that the music scene, sans a few shining moments by some ingenious artists, has been pretty uneventful for the past decade or so.
Lo and behold Napster! A program that allows anyone with a computer, a pair of speakers, and a decent amount of memory space, to share any and all kinds of music with anyone else. Talk about an expansive idea, its no wonder why “accomplished musicians” feel so threatened by Napster. They’re used to making a tangible product, i.e.: CDs, and selling them to get a profit that is also, in a sense, tangible: Money.
The problem musicians have, first off, is that they can’t expect the music industry to stay the same way it is now. Successful bands want to keep and enjoy their profits, but they shouldn’t try to sue and lobby for laws to freeze the evolution of the music industry in its tracks. It just doesn’t work that way. No one ever guaranteed them everlasting fame and fortune, but they act like they deserve it since they have it right now.
The other problem that musicians have is that they truly can’t back up the claim that Napster has taken away approximately $12 million worth of album sales. I’ve seen numerous studies performed yielding some very different results. For example, ________________ did a survey of ___________ and found that not only did they not buy fewer CDs because of Napster, they bought more. The reasoning: Napster works basically like free promotion. People can browse through all the music they were ever interested in, but they still want to buy the CD. So when they find something they like they’ll go out and buy it.
So many people simply get caught up with the big fiasco over the copyright infringement that they forget about the other implications brought about by the simple piece of software: That the world is turning digital. It’s really not very far off until we’ll be able to store thousands of songs onto a single optical disk. It’s all based on the rate of technology’s development, or Murphy’s Law. The growth is exponential, so eventually no laws will be able to prevent the transferring of digital music. But that’s the point of all this technology, right?…to be able to exchange ideas almost instantaneously. After all that’s what music is in the first place; just a few ideas. Who knows, this might be just what the music industry needs right now. There are so many really terrible bands and musicians out there, taking audiences and resources away from the really talented artists. But if bands are forced to rely more on the quality and originality of their music instead of just having good promoting connections or friends in the business, then the quality of music would drastically go up. Musicians have been lazy lately and they might even need this to make them get off their butts and redefine why they are doing what they are doing.
So, Napster really isn’t the issue at hand. Those whiney, insecure musicians and businessmen that are in it only for the money use Shawn Fanning and Napster merely as scapegoats. They see only the loss of revenue and other negative things in this evolutionary phase in music, when they could be marveling and embracing the opportunity presented them by this new stage of musical development.
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