Wednesday, February 21, 2001 by Dave Winer.
Last summer I fell in love with music again, thanks to Napster. I had my checkbook out, along with ideas for new ways to experience music using the Internet. Software, music, networking, playlists, writing and community. What a killer combo. Everyone was excited. People were talking about music in supermarkets. It was so cool!
Well, it all went to shit after that. Then yesterday a proposal from Napster to give the music industry the keys to music on the Internet, and the damned music industry told them where to stick it -- not a nice place.
I went to a dinner in SF on Monday put on by NY literary agent John Brockman. Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow was there, as was Sean Parker, one of the authors of Napster. I got an update, and got my clarity back. What's happening is crazy and suicidal, as stupid as the browser wars and the dotcom mania.
This morning in a post to the Decentralization mail list I figured out what should be happening, if everything were right.
1. Napster should be working with the music and software industries to get copyright info included with MP3 files universally and easily.
2. Napster should be coordinating work with banks and credit card companies so honest users can pay for the music they use, easily, with one click.
That's it. Anything more complicated is suicide for both Napster *and* the music industry. Never mind what's right and fair. This is what is. We'll look back two-three years from now and this will be what should have been done.
When are we going to get smart and play our collective hand with style and power?
Not much more to say except..
Give the users what they want dammit.