NOTE: THIS IS ALL MY UTTERLY BIASED PERSONAL OPINION. IT IS A RANT. IT IS NOT A POINT BY POINT PLAN FOR WHY WE SHOULD KEEP NAPSTER. JUST WHY I THINK IT’S SO SAD THAT IT’S GONE.
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 Epic, wide eyed rock visionaries have been replaced by marketing driven Barbie dolls with few aspirations outside the fiscal.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?
- Dominic Miller
- C G T (California Guitar Trio)
- Death in Vegas
- Christopher Lawrence
- Erin Mccevoy (sp?)
- Mates of State
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.