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"What the **** do you think you're doing?"
April 23, 2003 10:25 PM   Subscribe

What the **** do you think you're doing? People who try to download tracks off of the new Madonna album from peer-to-peer networks will likely get an MP3 full of silence, prefixed by this short personal message from Madonna (nsfw mp3). Hear the remixes that have already begun! Make your own!
posted by Espoo2 (80 comments total)

 
As my fiance said:
"when it concerns madonna, I don't have any sympathy. she isn't poor. she's just sanctimoniously making it clear what her main concern is -- money. I think the internet is a great tool for getting music out there. I'm not for piracy at all, but her condescending snobbery is so pathetic.

A message like that makes it so apparent that she reallly just churns her music out in a factory style... if she had put a lot of time and pride into it, I think it is likely she would want it out there. "
posted by Espoo2 at 10:30 PM on April 23, 2003


Yeah, um, friends of mine have complained about this once or twice, though not with respect to this album. I think there were some blank mp3's of "Hail to the Thief" wandering the networks for a while, probably still are. Certainly less insidious than the RIAA trying to DoS P2P servers, and maybe even effective until people come up with tricks for getting around it...
posted by kaibutsu at 10:31 PM on April 23, 2003


That message should also greet anyone who tries to buy one of her records.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:35 PM on April 23, 2003


It takes a special kind of lady to sound good swearing — Madonna just sounds bitchy. (NSFW)
posted by letitrain at 10:44 PM on April 23, 2003


It takes a special kind of lady to sound good swearing — Madonna just sounds bitchy.

Gone
The requested resource
/0400/dontfuck.wav
is no longer available on this server and there is no forwarding address. Please remove all references to this resource.
posted by Espoo2 at 11:14 PM on April 23, 2003


Copy and paste the URL into your address bar (or otherwise request the file in a way that does not reveal a referer header).
posted by zztzed at 11:18 PM on April 23, 2003


Another article

dontfuck.wav (1)
dontfuck.wav (2)
posted by woil at 11:22 PM on April 23, 2003


Of course, the funny bit is that madonna.com was very soon hacked, and links to the tracks put up (here is a mirror of the defaced page).
posted by chrismear at 11:34 PM on April 23, 2003


Can she be charged with promoting obscenity to underaged Kazaa users?
posted by HTuttle at 11:56 PM on April 23, 2003


madonna is weird.
posted by kv at 11:58 PM on April 23, 2003


What kind of compression is mp3 if a track comprised mostly of silence is of a convincing size?
posted by ODiV at 12:10 AM on April 24, 2003


ODiv, Normal, non-VBR mp3 compression will compress to a set bitrate...if it's a 128kbps mp3, you'll just get very "good" quality silence. Variable Bitrate (VBR) compression, on the other hand, reduces the bitrate in sections of the audio that don't have much data anyway - silence, low-pitch sounds, mono sounds.
posted by Jimbob at 12:23 AM on April 24, 2003


yeah, one of the tricky things about file compression is that you are, to some extent, trying to second-guess the input you're recieving. If you're into math, you might check out Lovasz' notes on computational complexity. [postscript file; try ghostview] The chapter of particular importance is chapter 7 on information complexity, though the whole of the text is fairly interconnected... That's rather more abstract than the stuff that goes into the mp3 encoding algorithms, though, which I've little knowledge of. Other than that it sounds like ass below 160kbps. *grin*
posted by kaibutsu at 12:37 AM on April 24, 2003


F*ck Madonna.
posted by drstrangelove at 12:53 AM on April 24, 2003


Hahah, legend. If everyone put out blank files when they released an album, p2p would be ruined. Superb :))))
posted by ed\26h at 1:59 AM on April 24, 2003


Just to be clear.

If you don't own the album, and you download the MP3 from kazaa (or similar) you are almost certainly stealing.

Now, you might justify it (they artist is rich) or not care (I'm too poor so I'll take it anyway) or protest (I don't agree, so I'll break the law!)... but your really not going to have much credibility if you pretend there is no problem.

Of course, anything that gets in the way of piracy (music, software, movies) will be met with righteous indignation.
posted by soulhuntre at 2:18 AM on April 24, 2003


Hahah, legend. If everyone put out blank files when they released an album, p2p would be ruined. Superb

Far from it. . . People would tag those files, or delete them, and someone would rip their own. It's been done before. Just not in such a juvenile and desperate way.
posted by Espoo2 at 2:21 AM on April 24, 2003


Yeah, it's be like a total gamble. Could be good, could be a lot of rotten old swearing.

Heheh, I guess to moral of the story is... if you want something, but it :)
posted by ed\26h at 3:15 AM on April 24, 2003


It's not stealing. Christ, get your terminology right if you're going to be so sanctimonius.

To wit.
If I go in your house and take your car, that's stealing.

If I go in your house and make an exact copy of your car, but don't deprive you of the car or limit your ability to drive it, but because of recent copyright adjustments to what was previously known as unrestricted use and a draconian law that nobody wanted nor even knew about until it was too late -- well, even then it's still just copying.

If I can listen to it on the radio for free, and a friend of mine can tape or burn a copy and give it to me for free (see case law), then I see nothing wrong with KaZaA. Technology cannot be "turned off" or rolled back, and the entertainment industry is soon going to have to realize that it's their business models that are outdated, not the nations laws. They're just going to have to open up their little guild so all the other children can play in it, too.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:16 AM on April 24, 2003


I downloaded one of those silent tracks - I like it - I might buy the original
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:50 AM on April 24, 2003


If you don't own the album, and you download the MP3 from kazaa (or similar) you are almost certainly stealing. (emphasis mine)

So tired of this bullshit. What part of "copyright infringement" don't you people understand?
posted by walrus at 3:53 AM on April 24, 2003


Having heard her new single I think she should be asking herself this question.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:35 AM on April 24, 2003


Yeah, if only it was called "fluffy-bunnykins infringement"... then it wouldn't be wrong at all!
posted by ed\26h at 4:36 AM on April 24, 2003


ed\26h, do me a favor, willya: make sure you show up in every discussion of a P2P network and mention it's stealing, ok? So far you're only at 99% of relevant threads.
posted by yerfatma at 4:54 AM on April 24, 2003


Does the John Cage Trust know she's distributing high quality recordings of silence?
posted by dchase at 5:02 AM on April 24, 2003


ed\26h, you have convinced me. I shall here and now state unequivocally my firm and immovable belief that every time someone downloads a copyrighted music track which they did not purchase, they are committing child rape. Yes, child rape. Won't someone please think of the children?
posted by walrus at 5:02 AM on April 24, 2003


I just hope it's not considered stealing for me to rip the remix - cuz i'm taking it to my local dj
posted by worldinflux at 5:05 AM on April 24, 2003


How utterly unsurprising that no one has yet managed to say something positive about Madonna. At least I was surprised in the Beatles thread. Personal opinions aside, your collective attitude problem about this astounds me, because you have let an obvious dislike of the record industry and the artist in question totally eliminate from your equation that it is an artist who makes the music that you download. I am continually amused by the "be-all, end-all" opinions of a lot of non-songwriters when it comes to this point. Soulhuntre put it in a way that bears repeating: but your really not going to have much credibility if you pretend there is no problem.

In fact, Espoo2, Madonna sometimes makes excellent use of the internet for promoting her music, as she did last week by streaming her entire album through Mtv.com with only a simple "This is Madonna" message spoken twice in each song. I listened to the stream twice, and decided to buy the disc as a result. (Not one of her best, but a few interesting tracks along the way. I'd listen to Music instead.)

Using the internet to get your music out should not be equated with working hard on an album and then giving it away for free. Yes, Civil_Disobedient, you can hear *some* of the album on the radio for free. That's how the album promotes itself. But, to justify downloading by saying that you could steal the music in some other way just as efficiently is boorish. How is an artist supposed to make money? Or, even find out if anyone is listening? And don't just say that you "usually wind up buying an album if you like an artist." Like her or not, respect her or not, Madonna worked to create this art. If it's too corporate for you, or if it's overpriced, or if you object to it on a personal level, then don't listen to it. Or anything else, for that matter. There's plenty of free music here at MeFi.

I'd say she definitely has the right to tell you to fuck off; i would too.
posted by krisis at 5:06 AM on April 24, 2003


yerfatma: This thread being the remaining 1% then?
posted by ed\26h at 5:16 AM on April 24, 2003


your collective attitude problem

Oh for christs sake, no-one buys more CDs than me. The attitude problem is firmly held by an industry that sees its customers as its enemies. They've got their draconian heads stuck so firmly up their own arses that I'm surprised they aren't giving themselves indigestion.
posted by walrus at 5:18 AM on April 24, 2003


I'm not too indignant over this. Madonna can do what she wants, within the law, to protect her copyrights. In essence she (or more likely a representative) took advantage of the very nature of peer to peer networks to try and protect her copyright. It's a hack that in the short term might be successful. She seeds several sites with her doctored versions prior to general availability. A bunch of people find it and download it and in term further propagate it. So now even once her music is distributed illegally you only have a chance of downloading the real goods. No legislation was requested, no arrests were made.

I think that Madonna should realize that she's probably making an overall negative impact on her popularity, but it's her business whether she realizes and accepts this or not. Whether you agree with this form of music distribution or not it is here to stay. There's still room for artists to make money and in fact I think the only real losses are on paper. The RIAA makes a claim that they've lost $20 * "number of copyright violations" yet are still profitable. Their calculations would only be correct if it were true shop lifting. I, substrate, walk into Sam Goody's and walk off with a copy of Madonna's latest. I have then cost the music industry real dollars.
posted by substrate at 5:18 AM on April 24, 2003


The point is, that if you believe their figures that five times as many tracks are downloaded as purchased, consider that CD burners are penetrating something like 70% of the home computer market, and look at the miniscule drops they've had in sales figures (which could also be explained by a number of other phenomena), you have to realise that mp3s don't really affect their bottom line. Here's my surmise: those tracks which people are illegally downloading, they would never have bought anyway. So why the big fuss? It's not the pirated mp3s, it's the fact that they can see their monopolised distribution model being opened up in the near future, and that will hurt them.
posted by walrus at 5:25 AM on April 24, 2003


i buy tons of cd's.

i find it funny that the cd's that i really want are never really fully available on p2p networks. a couple of tracks here and there, but never all of it. i think that says something about the over-hyped and over-marketed artists like madonna. new album......she's in all sorts of media, whether good or bad. that's the price you pay for making a deal with the devil.......she has a high visibility, as are much of the artist on the p2p networks.....you can snag anything that's being over-hyped.

if some of these artists could go play their fucking instruments and go around with their hat up-turned none of this would be a problem.....others have got wise to the 'problem' and used it to their advantage. there is something to be said for the musician who goes around plays 100 shows a year....they could care less about p2p because all it's doing is spreading the word, which is all they ever asked for....you like it....you pay for it. there's also something to be said for over-hyped, over-marketed crap.....it sucks and she got what she deserved.
posted by oliver_crunk at 5:45 AM on April 24, 2003


Actually, Madonna could be creating legal trouble for herself by putting out these fake MP3s with her name attached. As the EFF's Wendy Seltzer points out:
I doubt Madonna has thought about the damage these planted spoofs could do by diluting her trademarks. Trademarks, after all, are intended to protect consumers by defending a source's association with quality goods and services. If the same name is increasingly found on deliberately poor quality music files -- or curses, with the authorization of the trademark holder, duped listeners might reasonably stop thinking favorably of the brand -- giving a plausible argument that the artist had diluted or abandoned her own mark.
posted by grimmelm at 5:49 AM on April 24, 2003


Actually, oliver_crunk,i get the feeling that Madonna originally played a lot of the tracks on this disc -- they have the sound of something that sounded cool and intuitive to a still-learning guitar player. She's even played a couple of them on TV, but i think that her producer layed down most of the guitars for the album.

Not all musician's who play 100 shows a year care less about P2P, though some of them are making all of their profit through touring and really don't care to much about their recording profits at all. If i ever sold my music, through a major or minor label, i would definitely be offended by people trading it around for free.

Meanwhile, walrus, i was more referring to the "How dare she!" attitude about Madonna, not the more general p2p attitude expressed by MF users.

Sadly, this is probably my last word on the matter today, as my office beckons. Have fun.
posted by krisis at 5:51 AM on April 24, 2003


if it's overpriced....then don't listen to it

I don't think music is something that should be reserved for upper and middle class people with loads of disposable income, which is sometimes the situation given the amount of cd's some people want to buy and the cost of that amount.

Aside from their network connections, there's a reason p2p technology exploded with college students. They want the music, but can't afford it.
posted by dogwalker at 5:56 AM on April 24, 2003


I don't think music is something that should be reserved for upper and middle class people with loads of disposable income, which is sometimes the situation given the amount of cd's some people want to buy and the cost of that amount.

let's not forget about the outrageous ticket prices artsists like madonna have been charging also.
posted by oliver_crunk at 6:01 AM on April 24, 2003


The dance remix rocks!
posted by swerve at 6:14 AM on April 24, 2003


Ok krisis. I was probably over-reacting a little anyway. But with all of this, the point which I can't get away from is that an industry which I have spent shed loads of my hard-earned cash supporting for my entire remunerated life, wants to squash my ability to find new ways of enjoying music. I call bullshit on all of them and their minions. Looks like you got caught in the crossfire there, for which I apologise.
posted by walrus at 6:21 AM on April 24, 2003


I dunno, bought and downloaded the music....without problem...buying was a problem for my bank account, but hey....the music stores had stickers like this on the cd:

'With taxes around 5.5%, THIS cd would be cheaper, too'.

I found it cool.
posted by Sijeka at 6:25 AM on April 24, 2003


Knowing what we know about Madonna and her pop culture historical contributions, has anyone considered that perhaps through all this she is making a statement on P2P? From the start of her career she has always encouraged people through her music and videos to question what they already believe, so why are we not giving her that credit now?

And Krisis is correct. I listened to the entire album yesterday on MTV.com. Consider the message she may be trying to send. Or perhaps she is using the Internet in new ways to get her music out there, but still wants people to respect her right to earn a living off of it.

an industry which I have spent shed loads of my hard-earned cash supporting for my entire remunerated life, wants to squash my ability to find new ways of enjoying music.

Actually, walrus, your supporting the industry is a side effect. You don't buy music to support the industry but to hear the music. And the industry doesn't produce music for your enjoyment but to make money off of it.

P2P for me has always been about exposure. All I've ever wanted was a way to hear new stuff without having to spend the money on it, then I'll go out and buy what I like. Madonna's use of the mtv site is ingenious. She's in control of the situation, is allowing me for FREE to hear the ENTIRE album at a high-quality feed, and though it's not stellar work it is good enough to make me now want to go out and buy the CD, which I will now do. I'm grateful that she has taken this approach, not resentful.
posted by archimago at 6:43 AM on April 24, 2003


substrate, that was an excellent post. I have one minor quibble, however: I don't think all of the losses are just "paper losses" and that the only time the industry (or artist) is damaged is theft of a tangible product. But the losses clearly aren't (amount of disc * number of times downloaded), either. To my mind the equation goes something like this:

Damages = (number of people who did not purchase product but would have if they not downloaded it * price of product) - (number of people who did purchase product, but would not have unless they had downloaded it first * price of product)

For all I know, that number could be near 0, or possibly even negative (i.e., no damages -- extra profits). From my own personal experience, I can say that downloading has led to me buying more tangible music than I would have otherwise. From the industry's perspective, downloading has been a good thing for this consumer.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:51 AM on April 24, 2003


I don't get it, why would anyone want to listen to Madonna anyway? I'd rather listen to the silent tracks.
posted by Outlawyr at 6:52 AM on April 24, 2003


pardonyou?

Thanks, I agree with you, I was just running out of time and I couldn't think of how to phrase it without bringing in statistics.
posted by substrate at 7:00 AM on April 24, 2003


I don't get why so many people are so offended by this. I mean, really, the Napster (and other lesser services) thing was a great thing to take advantage of while it was around, but did you really think it would last forever? If you were wise, you would have seen where it was going and built up your collection before it went away. It was a nice bubble during which you could pad out your collection. But move on. As much as I enjoyed it, I never got around to thinking I had some kind of right to have the music without paying for it. A big defense of file trading is that you get access to artists not otherwise promoted by the record companies, but that's not Madonna. And how long do you think Madonna or any other artist can afford to make music that's just going to be given away for free? Making a record is an expensive process--and, yes, bad albums result, but so do good ones. Expecting it to be free is just as ridiculous as expecting to like every song on every album (and people even complain about that).

If nothing else, Madonna is sending a message to fans who might take into consideration that she doesn't appreciate her stuff being traded freely. I might be more willing do download something from, say, Courtney Love, since I know where she stands on it. And for someone who doesn't like her stuff, why would you be downloading it anyway? (It sounds like the old warez collectors, who prided themselves on downloading tons of programs but could not tell you what half of those programs did; really, how many people ever really used Photoshop?)

I like Madonna's stuff; those who don't could at least express some respect for the fact that she's not playing it safe--and she probably could and make tons of money. She's going in interesting directions, playing around with it, taking the chance that radio might not get into it (and they may not). And though she's made some silly turns along the way, you've heard from her enough to know that from the heart she approaches her work as an art form, not simply as commerce. Even the particularly bad stuff is informed by a reach for something a little bit deeper.

Still, there's nothing sillier than the synthesis of comments here: I can't stand her stuff--and it's hard to download, too. (reminds me of the joke: 'the food here is horrible--and such small portions')

But, you know, for other artists I respect (Radiohead, Grandaddy, Wilco, Sigur Ros...) I have always made a point of paying for the album, even if I've impatiently downloaded some tracks.

This thing Madonna is doing isn't particularly new, either. I hardly even bother with the P2P networks anymore, because anything popular I've tried to download lately has been screwed-up files offered as MP3 songs. (This particularly happened when I tried to listen to some stuff from Chicago; with different titles and different filesizes, all the songs were the same clip of old scratchy music, probably put there by the record company.)
posted by troybob at 7:26 AM on April 24, 2003


You know, I don't think premium champagne and Beef Wellington should be reserved for upper and middle class people with loads of disposable income. There are lots of stuff out there that people want, but cannot afford -- that doesn't mean they have a right to them.

If you really can't afford a lot of CDs, then you're going to have to think harder about what you're going to purchase. I'd love to own about 10,000 books, but I have neither the space or money for them -- guess what? I don't download illegal copies of these books, I get what I can from libraries, buy selectively, and don't worry about the rest. If you can't afford =any= CDs (but you can afford an internet connection and all the hardware needed to listen to mp3s? hmmm, suspicious) then learn to play music for yourself. In addition to regular instruments, there's also voice & body percussion, so you can't claim that's too expensive for you.
posted by meep at 7:36 AM on April 24, 2003


How is an artist supposed to make money?

Two problems with this line of reasoning. First, it ignores a larger issue, which is that artists have a hard time making money not because all their music is being pirated, but because even the best artists only get 5-10 points on an album. That's for the famous artists. Bands just getting into the 'biz shouldn't more than a couple of percentage points, max. But as I'm sure you'd point out, this is the choice that some artists have made. They'll dance with the devil if he's the only one on the dancefloor.

But with the internet, that's changing. A band still needs to be promoted, but distribution -- the industry's bread-and-butter -- is becoming far less lucrative. I believe in a decade the recording industry will be fragmented into two sections: the marketing machine, and the distributors. The markup for distribution overhead is very, very small, as Amazon.com should show you.

The second argument I have with bringing up the "poor artists' income" is that nobody said being a musician was a great way to make a living. It's nice to be able to pay the bills playing music if you can, even better if you can become rich and famous I suppose. I wish I could make a living writing books. But writing isn't' going to cover rent next month, so I'm probably going to pick a different job. I can still write if I like, and perhaps after a few years of writing at night, one of my stories will take off and I'll be able to make a career out of it. But I'm not stupid enough to depend on that happening.

There's a reason for the "struggling artist" cliche'. The arts have been historically subsidized by those who have a passion for the art itself, not out of a need to make money from it. Even Michelangelo had his Medici Sugar Daddy. But I doubt very much that those who find their inspiration in the arts will suddenly abandon their love when they realize they can't make a buck off it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:43 AM on April 24, 2003


Damages = amount of disc * people who would ordinarily have bought it, but instead downloaded it for free

However, this is not measurable, and besides it's no good for propaganda value, so they'll keep claiming that every single downloaded track is a loss in real terms.

archimago, I'm aware it's a side effect, wrt the big companies. My point is that they won't make money off me forever if they try to treat me like an enemy. I like ninja, for instance, because they avoid all of that bullshit, by letting loads of websites offer free downloads of their artists tracks.

Also, I have supported them, and other independent labels, by dint of hosting music videos for them on my website for free (before you go apeshit, I did it with their full knowledge and approval). I've also filmed their artists (and other labels and artists) and put up free footage of their gigs. They like lots of people to get their stuff for free, because they see it as promotion for the few people who will actually go out and buy the CDs. This is the kind of attitude from a record label which I can live with. They're regular people.

In contrast, I believe that the RIAA see us all as just economic units. They love to sell us eight tracks of filler bundled with the two tracks we actually want, because there's a big wad of money in it for them. They'll lose this game, though, because they are making enemies of their potential customers. The indie companies like ninja who see it as a great distribution model will win.

And that's what the fuckers are scared of.
posted by walrus at 7:48 AM on April 24, 2003


The indie companies like ninja who see it as a great distribution model will win/

I meant "who see it as a great promotional model".
posted by walrus at 7:54 AM on April 24, 2003


Of course, it would be a shame not to mention Gillian Welch's Everything is Free --from an amazing artist way more likely to be screwed over by file sharing than Madonna.

Everything is free now
That's what they say
Everything I ever done
Gotta give it away.

Everyday I wake up humming a song
But I don't need to run around
I just stay home
And sing a little love song
My love and myself
If it's something that you wanna hear
You can sing it yourself.

posted by troybob at 7:58 AM on April 24, 2003


you've heard from her enough to know that from the heart she approaches her work as an art form, not simply as commerce.

ya know....i respect her. she's talented and accomplished. but let's be real here......if she isn't about the cash.....i'll be damned.

full page ads. tv commercials.

she obviously has enough money to not give a fuck about p2p. but its obvious what side she stands on. and rightfully so, she has made a career in the industry (what are the odds on that anyway). but to not recognize, as others have (ie david bowie, chuck d....hell even phish) that the future of the music industry isn't to shut p2p down but to find away to move forward with this new way of distribution is lame.

streaming the album is cool and everything.....but pissing off your fans who might want to burn a couple of tracks before the album hits the stores is just stupid. and it shows her lack of understanding about the issue here: p2p isn't going to be stopped, might as well suck it up and come with something creative instead of telling the people who've spent money on her work to fuck off.

i bought a charlie hunter cd the other day. he was giving away a couple of tracks off the the new cd on his website. i downloaded them and liked it. i wanted the whole album. he wasn't telling me to fuck off.
posted by oliver_crunk at 7:59 AM on April 24, 2003


Actually, walrus, the damages aren't even that high, since the industry would also have to take into account the number of cds people bought only because they downloaded the music first and liked what they heard. Those are sales that would not have taken place but for downloading.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:01 AM on April 24, 2003


oliver_crunk: Sure, her stuff is promoted really heavily, and she wants to make as much as she can off it. I'm just saying that she could make a lot more money if she just stuck to the same old thing; we tend to be repetition-compulsive, so buyers would eat it up. If sales were her only motive, she would do this; I don't think that's the case.
posted by troybob at 8:12 AM on April 24, 2003


Good point, pardonyou? That's even harder to measure though. the point with the equation I posted above is that it is measurable. Currently it's around the 5% mark, unless you agree that the economic "slowdown" combined with massively rising sales of alternative media like DVDs and computer games have also affected that figure. In that case, it's negligable.
posted by walrus at 8:19 AM on April 24, 2003


yeah....i agree....her motive is keeping the record industry as it stands intact.....so that the brittney spears of the world are the next generation to benefit. and god knows we need more of that.
posted by oliver_crunk at 8:20 AM on April 24, 2003


Dammit, I keep posting before proofreading. My figure is not directly measurable, but we can put an upper limit on it.
posted by walrus at 8:20 AM on April 24, 2003


[Comment made on not enough sleep, nor caffeine, as I get ready for work]

It's just Madonna being abrasive and seeking publicity again. Why is this news?

[/Comment made on not enough sleep, nor caffeine, as I get ready for work]
posted by Vidiot at 8:23 AM on April 24, 2003


but let's be real here......if she isn't about the cash.....i'll be damned.

I have to disagree slightly here. She's made the whole album available for a free listen on mtv's site. That's pretty brave, especially considering how much her music is changing with each album. She's basically saying, "don't rely on the brand name and just go out and buy the album. Listen to it first and then decide if you want it."

but pissing off your fans who might want to burn a couple of tracks before the album hits the stores is just stupid.

No, what is "stupid" is the assumption that you have a right to, or even DESERVE, free downloads. I'm all for file sharing and free downloads, but I don't think I should have a right to them. Most of Madonna's fans I would bet were listening to her long before there was P2P and I would also bet are not going to be pissed off because they have not been provided free samples.

The advent of Napster would make a great cultural study -- how it has somehow infused in people the idea that they deserve free stuff.

On preview, what troybob said.
posted by archimago at 9:00 AM on April 24, 2003


The advent of Napster would make a great cultural study -- how it has somehow infused in people the idea that they deserve free stuff.

Stop the thread, I want to get off. Just one more piece of bullshit to call. When I was at school, about thirty or fifty of us used to pool music, because we had fuck all pocket money. We'd take it in turns to buy the new vinyl, and then hand out five copies on C90 tapes. Those people ran off five copies, you get the picture. It wasn't perfect quality, but it was free. Of course, as soon as we all got jobs, we preferred the real stuff. In fact, a lot of time and money has been spent since by yours truly, in replacing those C90 tapes with pukka CDs, which I then turned into mp3s because I don't have time to look through five sets of shelving just to find the thing I want to hear. The only thing which changed with napster/kazaa/etc was the scale, and the fact that you can also use those suckers to preview the music one track at a time.

I'm quite proud of the fact that I've never child-raped any music online. All the stuff on my hard drive, I have the CD somewhere, if you can just wait three hours for me to dig it out. Reason being, that the quality of anything I ever downloaded off napster was too crappy to listen to, compared to the stuff I'm ripping myself. In the end, I realised pretty quickly that it was just like those C90 tapes at school: good enough until you can afford better.

So for people like me with lots of loose cash (ie your target demographic, RIAA, if you're listening), the illegal filesharing stuff will always be a shitty alternative to just slapping down a few quid for the real thing. But if you give me guaranteed quality with decent catalogueing and fair prices, I'll pay for it every time.

The problem the RIAA has is that they're used to their lazy oligarchy. Give it time, and it will come crashing down around their ears. You don't win in business by assuming that the customer is wrong.
posted by walrus at 9:37 AM on April 24, 2003


There are lots of stuff out there that people want, but cannot afford -- that doesn't mean they have a right to them.....

I see. People short on cash don't have the right to listen to music. Art, literature, music, and films should be kept in the middle and upper classes, where they can be fully understood. My mistake.
posted by dogwalker at 10:08 AM on April 24, 2003


"...for people like me with lots of loose cash..."

Hey, walrus, old buddy-how 'bout lending me a fiver? I will gladly pay you Tuesday.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:20 AM on April 24, 2003


No, what is "stupid" is the assumption that you have a right to, or even DESERVE, free downloads. I'm all for file sharing and free downloads, but I don't think I should have a right to them. Most of Madonna's fans I would bet were listening to her long before there was P2P and I would also bet are not going to be pissed off because they have not been provided free samples.

i don't have the right to free music. i'm not into madonna so i didn't download her music. i would think that you would have to be into her music to download it.....so lets say you were a madonna fan who bought a couple of her albums and had heard the buzz about the new album (who hasn't it's everywhere) coming out and wanted to here a couple of tracks. you went d/l them and all you got was madonna cursing you out.....what would you think?

i know what i would think.....fuck this shit, i'll take my 15 bucks elsewhere. and not because you deserve free samples, but because most of the people downloading the tracks actually want to hear them and bump them in their car before buying the whole thing.

there's no doubt in my mind that giving free tracks away has increased my consumption of cd's.
posted by oliver_crunk at 10:27 AM on April 24, 2003


mr_crash_davis: my liquidity isn't what it should be this week. Would it be ok if I emailed you a fiver's worth of stolen mp3s instead?
posted by walrus at 10:41 AM on April 24, 2003


there's no doubt in my mind that giving free tracks away has increased my consumption of cd's.

Kinda like those little sausages at Sam's Club.....
posted by Espoo2 at 10:44 AM on April 24, 2003


found this quote, which was what i tried to paraphase above about 'playing your fucking instrument', it's by john fishman:

I could fucking care less if everybody downloads our album off the Internet. We're not in a position to be screwed by that at all. We have the one thing the Internet can't touch -- live music. If you can actually go out and play your fucking instruments, you won't be replaced by the Internet. If you're a good live act and you put on a good show, people will buy a ticket to see your show.

For years, people were going "Oh, Phish don't sell a lot of albums." Maybe someday we'll have some hit single or hit album by accident. But at this point, it can't hurt us. Before, it would have done a lot more damage, because everyone is expecting the follow-up. And if it doesn't sell, you just disappear, and people think you're done. Then the Internet comes along. If selling records is your bread and butter, welcome to the land of the doomed.

I like being part of the minstrel class [laughs]: go out and earn my alms by putting my hat on the ground. If people think you're worthy, they'll pay for your music by coming to see you live. There are just some things you can't improve on.
posted by oliver_crunk at 10:45 AM on April 24, 2003


Nice quote, oliver_crunk. Also interesting to note that Phish has probably best embraced the digital distribution methods the internet easily allows. While their concerts can be legendary, if you miss a show you wish you'd seen, you can download lovely SHN (lossless compression) or MP3's of the whole show from Live Phish for a couple of bucks.

Another reason to make your bread and butter off of actually performing your instruments in front of people is that you saturate the p2p networks with hundreds, even thousands of versions of songs. Try looking for a copy of You Enjoy Myself on KaZaA and you'll be inundated with a slew of different versions from dozens of different shows. I've tried collecting all the Phish recordings ever made and had to stop at around 200 when my hard drives filled up.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:42 AM on April 24, 2003


So is the message copyrighted?
posted by feelinglistless at 2:39 PM on April 24, 2003


...but because most of the people downloading the tracks actually want to hear them and bump them in their car before buying the whole thing

That's rich. Let's just add qualifications to the argument as we go. A big justification for MP3 sharing is the idea that one can listen to the album before deciding whether to buy it. Well, Madonna helped that along--you could listen to the entire album before going out to buy it. An especially nice thing, considering she's going in a creative direction that a lot of people just won't get into. So then you complain because you can't take the songs into your car to listen to them. Next you'll bitch because she didn't send you a free CD player to listen to them on.

People short on cash don't have the right to listen to music.


Lame. Can't wait until you start up the boomboxes for the homeless movement.
posted by troybob at 2:53 PM on April 24, 2003


hey man....that's cool. you can defend madonna and her fuck off attitude to her fans all you want.

it has nothing to do with bitching or complaining about the fact that it isn't free. it's about respect for people that are putting food on her plate. the same people pirating the music are the same people going out to buy it.
posted by oliver_crunk at 3:50 PM on April 24, 2003


the same people pirating the music are the same people going out to buy it

I tend to buy the music, if I like it. You might. But this is MetaFilter, not a Congressional hearing, so we can be a bit more honest about it.

Most people file-trading albums back and forth are doing it so they never have to pay for the music. No matter how many justifications or exceptions you want to wrap it in, it really is that simple.
posted by troybob at 4:05 PM on April 24, 2003


...and, really, I get what you're saying, oliver_crunk. I appreciate the fact that you pay for the music of artists you respect. I do so, if only to be sure we get more music from them down the line. But it's naive to assume that most people feel the same way.
posted by troybob at 4:08 PM on April 24, 2003


that may be......let me know when you actually figure out how many dollars those people are taking out the hands of madonna.....i'm sure it's an astronomical number.
posted by oliver_crunk at 4:11 PM on April 24, 2003


i don't think it's naive to assume that most people feel the same way about supporting what they respect......the whole record industry is built upon repeat sales. if you bought a "insert whatever artist" cd and you liked it you're likely to buy another if it's available. and even then sometimes it's not and you have to go through other avenues such as p2p to acquire more.

i would say there's more 'one hit wonders' today then 10 years ago......and it's not because of our respect....it's because of the record industry.
posted by oliver_crunk at 4:16 PM on April 24, 2003


Most people file-trading albums back and forth are doing it so they never have to pay for the music.

Where is your proof of this?
posted by biscotti at 4:16 PM on April 24, 2003


What the fuck do I think I'm doing?

I know, Madonna, I've been a baaaaad boy, and now I need to be spanked. :)
posted by Blue Stone at 4:25 PM on April 24, 2003


Proof? Common sense works. I love file sharing, but I stop at the point of blowing smoke up my own ass. For pretty much everyone I know who does it, file sharing is free music, period.

I'd love to screw over the RIAA as much as the next guy...they've messed this up big time. They told everyone to convert to CD format because CDs were so cheap to produce, and then they never brought down the prices as they said they would. They can't come up with an online distribution model. They suck.

But really, it's kind of sad to buy into these pathetic little high-school-/college-level arguments defending our right to have something for free that is not free to produce. And that is all it is--a bunch of spoiled kids grabbing onto any little rhetorical loophole they can come up with to justify keeping the gravy flowing.

I can't believe you're asking for proof. Could it be that you've repeated these weak arguments so much you're actually starting to believe them?
posted by troybob at 4:32 PM on April 24, 2003


Ahh, the death throws of a dying industry and the glorious pain of change. I'm sorry folks, but its in the air. Progress takes precedence over the status quo sooner or later. You can put a temporary halt to it, but you can't stop it in the long run.

The fact is, paradigms are changing. Technology is changing. The ultimate question here might seem to be the good of the individual (artist) versus the good of society (consumers). In the past, there was a cost to provide entertainment/art to the people and so those who could afford to pay for it were the ones who received it. The mediators between the consumers and the artists were the fat-cats.

Now, in fact, the middleman is finding that his role is no longer necessary because of technology. In truth, society as a whole is better off because of file-sharing. If more people get to hear more music, that's good for everyone because everyone's well-being is increased. As far as the artists, they will continue to produce music and perhaps will make even more money as they find their ability to communicate directly with their audience enhanced.

The only people who have anything to lose are the fat-cat middlemen mediators, but of course, they're the ones who can afford to sway political opinions. *sigh* The glorious workings of a plutocracy. You can write all the laws you want to turn people into criminals and thieves, it doesn't mean they really are.

The laws will all crumble into obsolescence eventually as the technology and society overtakes them.
posted by PigAlien at 4:34 PM on April 24, 2003


Most people file-trading albums back and forth are doing it so they never have to pay for the music.

Where is your proof of this?

One doesn't have to "prove" something as well-understood as human nature. If people can get away with something, they will. You might as well ask for proof that most people exceed the speed limit, or proof that most people don't report income on their 1040 that they know the IRS has no way of knowing about, or proof that most people don't buy the shareware they use. All you have to do is think about it for a second and go, "Oh, wait, I don't need proof for that, because I know it already!"
posted by kindall at 4:41 PM on April 24, 2003


Lame. Can't wait until you start up the boomboxes for the homeless movement.

Hey, when it comes to supplying the homeless with electronic devices, you're either with us or against us.
posted by dogwalker at 5:01 PM on April 24, 2003


I tried to download the bogus file on kazaa and I got the real song instead.

Damn.
posted by evilcupcakes at 7:01 PM on April 24, 2003


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