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What the Bertelsmann-Napster deal means.
November 1, 2000 2:21 AM   Subscribe

What the Bertelsmann-Napster deal means.
"Hank Barry, chief executive of Napster, has suggested a monthly fee of about $4.95 might be appropriate, but he stressed that fees had not been set." (NYT article; grow up.)
posted by sylloge (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Not to stray off topic on the first comment, but props for the "grow up" comment.
posted by werty at 5:11 AM on November 1, 2000


I would absolutely pony up $5/mo to download a large number (unlimited unlikely) of songs. But let's be realistic: if it were $5 - again, tentative - I can't imagine that buying more than a few songs. Individual song prices I've seen are up to and including $1ish, and CDs cost $20ish.
posted by hijinx at 9:13 AM on November 1, 2000


Napster works on file sharing. The day they start only admitting subscribers is the day they cut their song database by 100%. So, Napster will absolutely suck until a lot of people subscribe. But they will have no reason to subscribe until a bunch of OTHER people have subscribed.

I don't think this can, or should work. If I'm going to steal songs, I want to do it from a free service.
posted by Doug at 9:33 AM on November 1, 2000


I think requiring a paid subscription is only fair if the users who are providing their paid-for drive space and bandwidth to the network are remunerated. Besides, I wouldn't pay to have access to mostly incomplete, blippy, poor-quality, misnamed files on a slow connection. I'll pay quite a bit for unlimited access to guaranteed-perfect MP3s on a guaranteed-fast connection, however, if someone would provide that service.
posted by daveadams at 9:57 AM on November 1, 2000


This payment plan will not work, if they keep Napster the way it is. The content provided is not Napster's content. It can be argued it's not the content of the people actually providing the copyrighted works. However, the copyrighted works ARE located on the servers of USERS. So if anyone's gonna get the money, it should be the people actually providing the content.

Of course that can't happen. And yeah I know before everybody gets mad at me, the artists should get paid directly. Napster will claim to be paying record corporations who in turn will claim the money's going to the artists. Instead of circumventing the record companies, this will ADD more middlemen who will each take the five finger discount as the money passes by, and the artists will end up getting even less for their efforts than they are now.

Napster can offer a toll for one to choose to use their lanes of the information superhighway, but if I'm paying to download stuff, why would I waste my time providing stuff to upload unless I get a kickback? Out of the kindness of my heart? Because I believe in free information? It's not free anymore. Gnutella and other systems are already learning that more people want to leech than give blood.

Inevitably the idea of making copyrighted material available online without proper permissions is going to become illegal. Yet another victimless crime has been invented, based on the percieved indirect effect this allegedly has on people owning said copyrights.

It's free publicity for the artists. It's theft. It's both. Law as we know it simply can't comprehend the potential rewards or dangers of this to any full extent. So just like prostitution, drug use and gun ownership, and other victimless crap, the established government system is inevitably going to try to stop what it can't control. This will drag music sharing underground. Music sharing will only be available to those who don't care about following laws anyway, so again the law abiding citizens (in this case people who share music for personal use and don't create CDs to sell on the black market) will be punished and those who are not law abiding citizens will do what they want, willing to take the risks involved.

Corporate america will win. The black market will win. People outside the U.S. will either win or lose depending on who's in charge and how they access outside the country.

The average American consumer will lose bigtime. Ain't it great to be in America?
posted by ZachsMind at 10:45 AM on November 1, 2000


sylloge: have some respect. There are good reasons for refusing to allow websites belonging to great big well funded corporations to watch your clickstream. You may not agree with them, but they exist.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 6:40 PM on November 1, 2000


if anyone's gonna get the money, it should be the people actually providing the content

As far a that sort of thing goes, I still really like the idea embodied by MojoNation.

Of course, MN doesn't really work either.
posted by Lirp at 6:55 PM on November 1, 2000


Music trading goes back into the shadows, but doesn't go away.

What this deal means is that Napster will be a source for music labels only. Hard to find bootlegs and independents will be gone. That was the best thing about Napster to me.

Grow up? Oh course, there is no trust that people will support the ones they enjoy. Can the majority of people be that bad?
posted by john at 11:41 AM on November 2, 2000


Can the majority of people be that bad?

Maybe we need to redefine "bad".

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:03 PM on November 2, 2000


Mars, sorry, didn't mean to be disrespectful, I just didn't want to rehash the same back-and-forth that seems to come up every time a NYT article is linked to. By all means, make your own judgements about privacy.

And John, I meant the NYT/registration/cookies stuff when I said "grow up".
posted by sylloge at 2:40 PM on November 2, 2000


OK sylloge.

Mars,

Maybe bad is not a good term. Irresponsible? Are the majority of people willing to DL music, enjoy it, and then NEVER support the artist?

I might be an optimist about humanity, but I really hope that's not true.
posted by john at 10:55 AM on November 3, 2000


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