I'm gonna snap this record, shove it up your arse & kick it - Napster Rant.


I have just learned that Napster is to be shut down. I have no cite because I learned it from word of mouth but I learned it from a very reliable friend who has strong affiliations with the music community. Therefore I believe this to be the case. And boy, am I pissed?

Remember the golden age of Rock ‘n Roll? Bowie was at his best, Marc Bolan & T-Rex were charting high, Lester Bangs was still alive and as gloriously vitriolic, sharp and lucid as he ever was. Remember when it was the music that mattered? Well that day and age, that vision, has long since crumbed away. Epic, wide eyed rock visionaries have been replaced by marketing driven Barbie dolls with few aspirations outside the fiscal. The dream was dead, or so we thought. Napster changed all that. It was simply a community, driven by one thing. Sharing and the desire to broaden ones horizons. It introduced me to more modern musical maestros than I can count. It gave me Counting Crows (who might as well not exist in Britain), Anti Pop Consortium (ditto), Aretha Franklin, The Beatles whom I’d never truly appreciated before, Jefferson Airplane, Simon & Garfunkel and even good old Weird Al. Their music (especially the Beatles & CC) spoke to me, taught me things about myself, helped me when I was depressed, all the usual stuff really great music can do for a person. I found them all through Napster. I could have found many more through Napster but now, thanks to the greed of multinational conglomerates and corporations I will never be introduced to them. Napster is dead. The dream has returned to the dust from whence it came.

Napster was such a great invention because it allowed people to broaden their horizons without spending a fortune on CD’s to test how much they liked the new genre they were about to step into. It allowed you to dip your toe in the water before you dived in. Doubtless some people say that paying is the honest way and that Napster takes money away from smaller, independent artists. However, I say that whatever Napster takes away from a small artist in profits it pays back tenfold in recognition. This recognition then influences the record stores to stock a wider variety of CD’s. Napster also allowed people who couldn’t get a record deal because they didn’t fit current trends, to spread their art to the masses regardless of the whims of a bunch of pony tailed fuck sticks whose only interest in music is the money it spins. For all those who say that Napster stifles unknown artists let me ask you a question. Please answer truthfully. How many of you have heard of the following artists?

  1. Dominic Miller
  2. C G T (California Guitar Trio)
  3. Death in Vegas
  4. Christopher Lawrence
  5. Witness
  6. Erin Mccevoy (sp?)
  7. AntiJazz
  8. PinBack
  9. Mates of State
  10. Minus

I’ll be totally honest and expose myself as the musical illiterate that I am and say that I’d never heard of any of them. I discovered them because each day Napster would recommend certain tracks to be downloaded and whilst all of them were good simply because they were different, the above artists simply blew my mind. All of the above artists are excellent, I mean truly superb artists. None of them (with the exception on Death In Vegas) had any CD’s in any of the many record shops around my area. For these people, Napster was the ONLY way for them to get their music into the homes of those who wanted to listen. Now these people will have to go back to playing in remote little art house clubs, unless they can get record deals which, judging by the outlandish and avant-garde style of music they produce, is unlikely. I suppose they could get their music onto sites like http://www.Emusic.com but again we are back to this problem of people without much money (ie. Me) unwilling and unable to risk the money on something which could be total shite and therefore missing out on the chance to broaden our horizons. In this respect mp3’s are worse than CD’s because they are non returnable.

Napster was Gods gift to 21st century music in an age when people are opining for the next Beatles, Led Zepp or REM. THOSE PEOPLE ARE OUT THERE!! Witness, Dominic Miller and especially Death in Vegas all fit the bill but now their chances of success are damned once again as people resign themselves to an empty, soulless diet of Aguilera, Spears and Backstreet. This is a real tragedy.

The reason the record companies are so far in the wrong here is because they simply chose to reject the most obvious and natural solution to this problem purely for the sake of naked greed. Remember when Metallica started this whole affair last Autumn? Well, surely the obvious solution was to arrange to remove Metallica’s music from the loop? Metallica would be happy, they wouldn’t be losing money. Metallica’s label wouldn’t be losing any money on Napster and the fans wouldn’t notice the difference as they’d carry on buying CD’s as they always did. The simple money hungry, blood sucking I’d-buttfuck-my-own-grandma-for-a-dime mentality of these corporate leeches on the anus of Rock ‘n Roll has resulted in a vast step backward for the consumer. The sensible way to have resolved this would have been to let the artist decide. To let artists like Metallica keep their vast profit margins whilst the majority of artists like Public Enemy, Offspring, NOFX, REM et al. co-operated and helped spread their music to their fans and to the public at large would have been the obvious choice but nooooooo. That was out of the question from the start. The record companies couldn’t abide the thought of any of their artists losing them a penny (even though record sales grew by about 8% during Napsters lifetime) and so they decided to ruin it for everybody.

So, I urge you, before we’re all made to kneel down and suck the fat, flaccid cock of The Man use this time to experiment with Napster, to expand your limits and see what’s really out there. Bask in the glory of true consumer control and exercise it while you still can.


Napster wasn’t shut down. They’ll only begin charging a small monthly fee (last I heard, it was $2.50, though I can be wrong). So you’ll still be able to get tons of music “without spending a fortune on CD’s”.

Or you can stop bein’ such a wuss and go out looking for Mp3’s on individual websites. Mp3’s existed before Napster, you know. And I’ve managed to snag up all the Mp3’s I’d ever want without ever logging onto Napster once.

  1. CD sales (all music sales, actually) were down in the 4th quarter of 2000.

  2. I find it disingenuous in the extreme for people who bend over backwards to obtain copyrighted material without compensating the creator for it to accuse others of greed.

  3. A single track download from emusic.com costs 99 cents. You don’t have 99 fuckin’ cents?

  4. However you feel about the record companies, the fact remains that the material on Napster is copyrighted, and the creators deserve compensation for their work. Maybe you don’t feel badly about that, but it isn’t your work being stolen, is it?

Even with Napster I never heard of them…hmmm

There are other free services out there. Some of them actually work.

I’m a great lover of Napster, I must confess. I’ve found music on there that I can’t get on CD. Stuff from when I was a kid from bands that haven’t recorded for decades. If those CDs were out there-and I have looked, I would snatch them up in a second for the rest of the album cuts that aren’t on Napster. I’m a college student with two kids, I don’t buy CDs often anymore (even if there was anything worth buying out there besides the ocassional movie soundtrack), I don’t have to, I have a heck of a collection of burned copies that friends have done for me. Will CD burners be recalled now? I figure labels lose more that way than from Napster. They do of my money anyway.

Just out of curiosity, how does Emusic collect their 99 cents? Credit card? So people without credit cards are just SOL?

I’m listening to the Wyrd Sisters, a kick-ass group from Winnipeg I heard once on a cassette which I then lost… thank god I found them on Napster before it shuts down. Try finding them in HMV or Archambault.

I heard somewhere that when Napster starts charging money, they will make it possible to download some music directly from their server, which would be faster than getting is from another user (maybe) and recorded at higher quality than most of what’s available on the internet (Personally, I don’t think going above 128k/s really makes that much of a difference, though.)

Actually I think $.99 is too much. If you are looking for new and interesting music, it is easy to go through 20 songs before you find something you like. I wouldn’t want to spend $19 on music I didn’t want. I’m not familiar with EMusic though, maybe they have some sort of preview function.

I just bought a CD recently because I liked the songs I downloaded from napster so much.

TheVoiceofReason wrote

As if it wasn’t bad enough you’re stealing from these people, you have to shit on their carpet on your way out. Who’s the real money-hungry, blood-sucker grandma-violator here?

I used to feel just like TVOR. I thought Napster was the best thing to have come along in years. With radio becoming increasingly corporate and increasingly bland, the chances of hearing something new and unique were slim to none. Napster gave music hounds like me a chance to hear quality stuff without buying it sight unseen, as I had always done before. I didn’t (and don’t) feel bad about it, because I bought about the same amount of music post-Napster as I did before–I was just happier with a larger portion of my purchases, having been able to listen to them before.

After some thought, though, I didn’t feel that way anymore. Why the change of heart?

I realized that Napster was not the grass-roots subversion of the corporate music machine that it was trying to make us think it was. It was sitting on a shit pot full of venture capital, and like so many other New Economy startups, it was operating at a loss to grab our attention before it grabbed our wallets. They didn’t want to eliminate the middleman, they wanted to become the new middleman. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

I would wholeheartedly welcome a widespread grass-roots version of Napster, which some programs like Gnutella have the potential to be. I would love to see Napster charge a fee and pay royalties like radio stations do–I know the analogy to radio isn’t perfect, but arrangements can be made. I think the companies are probably right to be fighting against Napster, but they could easily throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Dr. J

As I look at my hard drive, I wonder…

Why do I need almost 1500 songs? When would I listen to the almost 104 hours of them? How many songs do I listen to at any one given time?

I listen to only one song at a time. If I put my mp3 player on shuffle, I usually forward to the next track because I don’t like/don’t want to listen to what that song is.

I have a CD burner, but I’ve not made a music CD in a long time. I don’t plan on it either, because I usually end up not liking the songs I put on there, or I tire of the songs, or I don’t like the order I put them in.

I’ve burned CD’s of mp3’s for archival purposes, and to share with friends. I’ll get no true use of mp3 CD’s until I get a CD deck in my car that recognizes the mp3 format. That would have been great when I was driving hours at a time, but right now I have no need for that. The longest I’m in my car is maybe 2-3 hours.

Should the record industry be afraid of me? No. I’m not taking money from them, because I’ve bought the music I’ve liked. I’ve listened to many songs that have broadened my selections, but I buy CD’s of artists that I like. I might buy more of other artists, but I really don’t have the money to buy 6 or 7 CD’s for 10 songs that I like.

The record industry has not lost a dime from me. In fact, they’ve probably made more money from me than they’ll ever lose. How many CD’s did I buy for one song? Too many. How many CD’s do I own that never get listened to? Too many. How much money will I make if I sell these back to the stores(of which the labels see no money)? 1/5th of what I spent, if I’m lucky.

If anything, Napster has made me a smarter consumer. Maybe smart isn’t the word, but I am a more informed consumer, which the music industry appearantly doesn’t appreciate. In my opinion, Napster is more like an on-demand radio outlet.

The music industry makes money off the radio. We don’t buy music from the radio, we listen to it for free, and we could even record it from the radio. No one makes money from that, but no one cares. I can call the radio station, request a song, and they just might play it. I’m out of luck if my market doesn’t cater to a certain listener. I don’t get any good ‘black’ radio stations here in white Waco, so I can’t hear the latest by Chuck D or the Big Tymer$. But I can learn about these groups, and check out what they sound like before I make a trip to the record store. Did I steal that music? Maybe, but the label just made $20 because I listened to 3-4 tracks and liked them. Otherwise that CD would have stayed on the shelf.

I agree with the OP because it feels like the music isn’t the issue, it’s the money. It could be so easy to make more money from this situation, but they choose to ignore the future that slaps them in the face. I never was a big fan of Metalica, but now I even change the radio station when they come on.

Napster may not be the answer in the future, but until the music industry and the consumers can meet somewhere in the middle, Napster, or some other program, will live on. Once something reasonable appears, people will be more than happy to buy mp3s. Look at CD’s. I can buy 20 to 50 blank ones for what I’d pay for a music CD. It takes only a few pennies to create a CD, so why are we paying almost $20 for one? I’m all for the artist making money, but what is the percentage of the $20 do they see?

Actually, back in November the CEO of Nappy speculated at around $4.95/month but considering that so many groups demand a piece of the action that the monthly fee would likely be much much higher, assuming things stay as they are.

The idea of a “celestial jukebox” will inveitably come to reality, as it’s what the market demands. But for the immediate future, the overwhelming technological obstacles and the massive tangle of groups demanding compensation for music ditribution make the idea of the Napster we know and love plus a small fee a distant goal at this point.

This is the subject of Inside’s Dec 26, 2000 cover story. Good stuff.

[Edited by Alphagene on 02-12-2001 at 11:01 PM]

What I liked best about Napster was getting live and unreleased songs that you can’t buy even if you wanted to.

Glad it’s gone. People will still steal music, but it won’t be so easy for the non-computer-literate. Napster was basically a way to make piracy easy for everyone.

I have never visited the Napster site.
I am an ASCAP licensee, so I understand artisits wanting to be compensated for their work.

However, I am old enough to remember that every time there has been a improvement in home recording technology, the entertainment industry has cried gloom and doom about how it will destroy their profits. Everytime, the added exposure has resulted in the long run in bigger profits.

VCR’s: Movie industry said they would ruin profits because people could record films for free from TV/cable etc. Now Tape sales are a significant percentage of a films profits. In some cases tape sales are the only profits recouped. (i.e. direct to tape films.)

8-track/ cassettes: Recording industry once again said that these would “destroy profits due to piracy.” Until CD’s came along, tape was selling better than records. I know that personally, that I’d hear a new song from some friends tape that they may have given me, then I’d end up buying more of that artist.

Now, CD’s: In the dept. that I teach in, there are about four students (that I know of) out of forty that have CD collections of over 200 CDs. Of these about 40-50 are home burned discs. (in one case 10-15) That means that these students have purchased over 150 albums from legit sources. WHen I was in college I was the ONLY person that I knew that had over 100 albums. (In some cases several copies of the same thing due to needle wear.) I was considered a freak because of my huge collection. I notice that these students would sometimes have one or two pirates of a particular artist and six or seven legit CD’s of the same artist because of their fondness for that artist. So, the artist has “lost” that first sale, but gained it back sixfold on the back end.

Familiarity breeds sales. Why do you think there was the “Payola” scandel in the fifties in radio? Payoffs to radio stations to play recordings more often. Encouraging teens to buy what they had been hearing for free.

In the long run Napster will be a boon to the recording industry. THe companies will not have to spend as much money advertising their mid and low list artists. Napster will do it for them.

But the record industry should be afraid of 50 million of you.

Well, the $2.50 number was thrown around as speculation on some radio news show, and I think that it was mentioned that it would cover only “100 songs” or something. In either case, the beginning price will start off relatively high, but given the nature of the 'Net (and if Napster remains even as marginally successful as it once was), I’m sure the price will come down.

In either case, even $10 is an amazing deal… that could provide you with dozens of complete CDs, or even hundreds (depending on your 'Net connection speed).

Well, I am/was? a Napster user, but I can’t think of a single song I got from them that is still under copyright.
(Yep, I like old shit)

I think you all are missing the larger point though. Peer to peer sharing software has existed since before Napster, and will exist long after. It cannot be stopped, by the very nature of the net.

The day after nap shuts down, there will be a shitload of other options available. The record companies can’t win on this.

Personally, I would pay a few bucks a month to D/L songs.
Hell Yeah! I think it’s neat as shit.

You will never stop the kids from downloading/burning/selling new music though. No fucking way.

Believe me, peer to peer sharing has a lot more people than the record companies freaked out. In a few years when high speed connections are more common, you will see feature length movies, high dollar software, and who knows what being “shared”.

Er, my first paragraph should be, not “from them” but meaning whatever person who had the song I d/led.

But peer-to-peer on such a large scale? Do you have any idea how much “sharing” goes on over Napster?