Tuesday, August 8, 2000 by Dave Winer.
Today several pieces appeared on the Web that are noteworthy in the development of music on the Internet. The first is from the artist once again known as Prince, a mysterious man who makes luscious music, and has been independent of the music industry in various ways that aren't very clear to me.
The Prince article, if he wrote it, is quite clear on the morality of music on the Internet. He's in agreement with Courtney Love's theme, and goes further, to him music users can be more than contributors to the tip jar, we're given some credit for intelligence and ethics, which is more than I can say for the music industry and the press, who label us pirates, often without questioning the label.
For technical reasons the Prince article is impossible to point to. To read it, which I strongly encourage you to do, go to his site:
Then click on 4 The Love of Music. Scroll through the article. I know it's a frustrating read. But it's worth reading in full. Here's a quote to motivate you.
"The real music lover looks 4 an MP3 of the song online, downloads it and burns it on2 a CD. He knows that he doesn't have a perfect copy of the song (MP3 is, after all, a sound 4mat which does involve a certain amount of loss in sound quality), and it is clear, in his mind, that if the original album is ever released under the above-mentioned conditions, he will purchase it, bcuz he wants 2 discover other, lesser known tracks by the artist that r not available online, bcuz he wants the best possible quality, bcuz he wants 2 xperience the original release in all its aspects (cover artwork, song selection, etc.) and bcuz he wants 2 compensate the artist 4 his work. But y should the music lover have 2 wait 5 years, 10 years or even longer until the record company condescends 2 re-releasing the original work of the artist? Y should the record company have such control over how he, the music lover, wants 2 xperience the music?"
Except for the part about burning CDs, exactly right! Why should we wait? Or put another way, haven't we waited long enough?
Public Enemy released a new song publicly in MP3 format, a welcome act, it's great to see well-known artists use the new medium to talk about the old medium. I want more of this kind of music!
I've written about it twice in DaveNet and twice in Scripting News, and now the story that AOL is operating a Napster-like service through its WinAmp subsidiary is in Upside.
It's significant that AOL is merging with Time-Warner, one of the RIAA litigants. The irony is that RIAA must now sue one of its members, or lose all credibility with the users and the press, and hopefully the judges.
With feet in both the music and the technology industies, AOL is capable of handling the negotiation as an internal matter, then they can inform their members on how to pay for the music they use.
They must now get their story straight.
Summary: Through RIAA, AOL wants to shut down Napster, while running an equivalent service. Which is right?
PS: Thanks to Upside for picking up the story! Let's do more of these collaborations.