wStoned Out Loud
As the Rolling Stones began their tour while welching on the more than quarter of a million dollar deal they made with my Friend, I started this e-Blogazine journal to document some of my experience of the fallout, and to create a forum for discussion and resources to reform the Music Industry. May Artists, Musicians, and Free People everywhere find it useful.

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wArticles of Note

-- John Perry Barlow: Slouching Towards Hollywood --

-- John Perry Barlow: Napster and the Death of the Music Industry --

-- Delene Garafano: "Working" for the Rolling Stones --

-- Janis Ian: The Internet Debacle --

-- Janis Ian: Fallout --

-- Steve Albini: The Problem with Music --

-- Evan Coyne Maloney: Why the Music Industry Wants To Trash Your Computer --

-- Courtney Love: Courtney Love Does the Math --

-- Courtney Love: Courtney Love Does the Math
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-- Doug Chick: Don't Legalize Hacking by Record Companies --

-- Dave Manchester: We're Goin' BoomBoomBoom --

-- Dan Gillmor: We must engage in copyright debate --

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wTuesday, September 03, 2002

Rocky Ramirez: Internet piracy increases word of mouth, competition

Rocky Ramirez has written an excellent editorial, the online news organ of Texas Tech, ran this editorial August 29 by Rocky Ramirez.

LUBBOCK, Texas -- We have all heard the propaganda. They say piracy is killing music.

You might remember the touching little video Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich put together for the MTV Video Music Awards (or was it the Movie Awards?) a couple of years ago. You know, the one where he went into some kid's room and started stealing crap while the kid on a computer sat there dumbfounded.

It may be the case because of the negative spin piracy has gotten. When Napster shut down, you told yourself, well maybe it was wrong to download MP3s.

I have two words for that kind of sentiment-F*** that!

It disgusts me when I see Dr. Dre looking into a camera with a sad, puppy-dog face and saying, 'yo dawg, it ain't right to be pirating my @#$%!'

The guy who really gets me, however, is Ulrich. Metallica is a band that worked its ass off to get where it is, and now the members of the group are biting the hand that fed them.

I read this incredible column (yes I can read) by a guy named Mark Jenkins, a film and music reviewer for The Washington Post.

Apparently, (and almost all of us are too young to remember this) in 1978 the Recording Industry began to slump in sales.

They began to blame "a larcenous new technology" called cassette tapes. The international music industry even had an outraged official slogan, "home taping is killing music." Sound familiar?

It's obvious why the big labels want to blame their current lagging sales on the Internet.

My question is, why are the artists getting involved too? Why do I have to lose all respect for a Metallica, a band I once considered the greatest in the world?

The answer should be on the tips of all of your lips; it's plain and simple, and it's called greed.

"Oh! We musicians put our heart and soul into or work. We deserve to get our money!" they say. True, musicians do deserve to get paid. But, millions upon millions?

Does Metallica really deserve millions of dollars for their latest and worst album, "Re-Load"?

Maybe they deserved it for "Master Of Puppets," because at least the album influenced every single hard rocker that has ever palm muted an open low E string.

But, unfortunately, that's not how it works. There are bands out there that work just as hard, if not harder than Metallica does now.

The Microphones for instance. The group consists of one guy, Phil Elvrum, recording all of his music on lo- fi equipment, then mixing it together and creating a sound that is so beautiful it doesn't register in your head the first time you hear it.

Let's not even go into his mind-blowing songwriting. If the lyrics are not read in the context of liner notes, they could easily be confused with an upper level lit text.

Have you ever heard of the Microphones? No. Have you ever bought the man's CD? No. Does Elvrum work as hard as Metallica?

Well, his CD took almost a year to complete, and if you've heard it, you know that it is a seminal piece of production work-on lo-fi equipment (which means he isn't recording on the fancy boards that you see on TV, instead he is recording on not much more than a Tascam cassette player) to boot.

So hell yeah he works as hard as Metallica. Do you think Metallica does its own production?

No way, the group has a team of sound guys to do it for them. And you know Elrum doesn't make the big bucks like Metallica does. Hell, I probably have a bigger apartment then he does.

The only reason I know of The Microphones is because of the Internet.

The only way that I could get any of the music was through MP3 swapping. And because of that swapping, I am able to create something that the big label execs fear worse than baldness, word of mouth.

That's how they control the music that you listen to.

They have control over the word-of-mouth advertising. They use their mouthpieces -- commercial radio, MTV and commercial rock magazines.

You see The Vines in Rolling Stone and then hear their single on the radio. To top it off, you see they have a new buzz worthy video on MTV. So you think to yourself "this band must be good."

That's how they get you. The Vines as it turns out, blow pretty hard (Nirvana knock-offs should at least sound like Nirvana).

But I bet you would have never guessed considering all the exposure they get. It didn't work like that before, or at least it wasn't this efficient.

What Napster created was a new forum for word of mouth.

That scares the hell out of the recording industry. What the industry doesn't want is competition from good music. They'd prefer to churn out so-so music and maximize their profits by not having to promote a great new band. It's easier to make a band look great, than it is to make a great band sell.

Competition, as we all learned in high school economics, breeds a better product. And better music betters us.

Lars Ulrich, Dr. Dre and the Industry are trying to tell us that by creating competition for them, we are killing their music.

Well, that's the best argument for piracy that I've ever heard.

(C) 2002 University Daily

posted by gathering moss at 2:43 AM

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