Love unloads
June 14, 2000 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Love unloads This is one of the more comprehensive and insightful takes on the RIAA vs. Napster vs. Record Companies that I've heard. It's long and rambling, but it makes a lot of sense to me.
posted by y6y6y6 (35 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Me too."

The entire article is well worth the read, and is really good food for thought. I hadn't pegged Courtney Love as being one of the more articulate, opinionated artists, but I stand corrected.
posted by hijinx at 8:35 AM on June 14, 2000

Courtney love is my new hero.
posted by monstro at 8:53 AM on June 14, 2000

Props to Courtney's stance on the whole RockEm SockEm robots battle between the major record labels and technology. I really hope that major news media, all atwitter about the incestuous's latest coup to shut down Napster, decides to pick up this story. It's one of the first to offer a balanced view on the debate, while also schooling people on the seriously tweaked world of major label economics. Of similar interest is's>latest update on the Dead Kennedys vs. Jello Biafra court case - also an interesting read.
posted by NickBarat at 8:56 AM on June 14, 2000

She's certainly my Short Duration Personal Saviour for the moment. Both brains and boobies. Ah'm smitten!
posted by ZachsMind at 9:38 AM on June 14, 2000

I was totally unaware of the "work for hire" debacle. It's an amazing story in its own right.
posted by icathing at 9:41 AM on June 14, 2000

Wow, I didn't really expect such a convincing argument coming from Courtney Love. Brilliant.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 9:51 AM on June 14, 2000

Makes me also rethink my position on The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince or, Prince. Remember all of that "slave" mentality he flaunted? Maybe he wasn't too far off, after all.

One more scary thing from the Love article: notice that there are four major record companies. That's it!
posted by hijinx at 9:52 AM on June 14, 2000

steve albini was saying pretty much the same thing (with economic breakdown and all) back when there were seven major record companies.
posted by maura at 9:58 AM on June 14, 2000

And those four record companies work together to form the RIAA.

Picture a street corner with gas stations on all four sides. Maybe one says "Bob's Gas" and another one is a "Stan's Gas" and then there's "Yvonne's Gas" and "Moe's Gas" looks like they're all owned by different people and maybe they are.

But if Bob and Stan and Yvonne and Moe are all getting together for regular meetings to agree on the price of gas per gallon, suddenly that street corner can get very expensive.

RIAA is screaming at, napster and other baddies, but people have been pointing fingers at the RIAA for long before this. They're the enemy, and have been for a very long time.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:01 AM on June 14, 2000

You know what really scary? Let's say I really like her work and I want to pay her directly for a copy/CD/MP3. I can't!!! I have to pay someone else with the understanding that she will only get a tiny cut. That's not fair. I understand that it costs money to promote and distribute, but if I want to get the music directly from the artist I can't. Because they don't own it! It's not theirs to sell.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:02 AM on June 14, 2000

Would that be 'saucy superhunk Steve Albini'?
posted by EngineBeak at 10:05 AM on June 14, 2000

"At this point the "record collector" geniuses who use Napster don't have the coolest most arcane selection anyway, unless you're into techno."

Hell yeah!
posted by hobbes at 10:38 AM on June 14, 2000

If you're not happy with the selection on Napster, rip some of your cool arcane music to MP3s and offer it. If other people do the same, the selection automatically gets much much better.

Great article from Courtney Love. But I have to say-- what the hell is UP with that woman? She's obviously got some smarts, and her songs are acidic towards celebrity and superficiality-- so why the boob job, the nose job, the stupid comments in interviews about how Gwyneth Paltrow is a poser for hiring away Love's "personal stylist"? I want to like her, if for no other reason than this article, but I don't get her.
posted by wiremommy at 10:53 AM on June 14, 2000

I don't know... 'twas an interesting read, though.
posted by hobbes at 10:55 AM on June 14, 2000

You forgot killing Kurt Cobain. ;)

But really, truly, I am shocked to hear myself say this: I completely agree with Courtney Love.
posted by solistrato at 11:01 AM on June 14, 2000

I just liked this quote:

"We [music rockstars] want to be treated with the respect that now goes to Web Designers."

Damn, so are web designers the real rockstars now? ;)
posted by vitaflo at 11:10 AM on June 14, 2000

She has a lot of good things to say... but she *vastly* underestimates the quality of MP3 encoding these days. Even as I type I have Bryan White's "I'm Not Supposed To Love You Anymore" playing in Napster's player. It's a 44.1KHz track, encoded at 128KBps. Now, I'm not listening to it on a $12,000 stereo system, but it is representative of the music in my MP3 collection: mostly solo piano and or guitar backing.

I'm *very* particular about piano reproduction, since I (pretend to) play, and I'm much less unimpressed than she is.
posted by baylink at 11:51 AM on June 14, 2000

Courtney Love surely thinks so. She wants to learn to write "Linux code."

You know, Courtney Love is a very intelligent woman, but I've thought she was a creep since she tried to beat up Calvin Johnson. Or was that all a rumor propogated by indie-kid fanzines? (The phrase "Superhunk Steve Albini" made me do a spit-take.)

I mentioned the work-for-hire thing on Don Henley was testifying against it. Lest we forget, the RIAA is not working for the artists.

(And finally, I thought the whole Prince-changes-his-name thing was all so he could record albums until his previous contract with Warner Bros. expired, as they had the exclusive rights to "Prince" albums.)
posted by snarkout at 11:53 AM on June 14, 2000

Bollocks. Failed to close a quote there. It should read:

I mentioned the work-for-hire thing on my site a while back, when Don Henley was testifying...
posted by snarkout at 11:55 AM on June 14, 2000

I agree about the audio quality of MP3s. I was about to post asking what was up with her ranting about that. Has she listened to MP3s? Maybe she's thinking RealAudio quality stuff?

"And I don't care what anyone says about digital recordings. At this point they are good for dance music, but try listening to a warm guitar tone on them. They suck for what I do."

I think here she misspoke, because obviously CDs are digital recordings, and probably all her work in the studio is done digitally.

Oh well, I'm being picky. Overall the speech was good. I think it probably loses something in the translation to written words.

posted by daveadams at 12:01 PM on June 14, 2000

> Damn, so are web designers the real rockstars now?

Yes. Just last week I got a million dollar advance on a project. I'll be going on tour with the other 300K I got. Don't forget to buy a shirt. You'll have to pay $20 to view the site though.

My agent is working on a deal with Letterman, and SNL called the other day. Sounds like you got left out. Have your people call my people.

Oh ya, and people are always coming up to me and asking me for my autograph. For sure. Web designers get MAJOR respect. If you don't believe me, just ask Kokkte and Zeldman.

I think she being a bit silly there.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:03 PM on June 14, 2000

> Damn, so are web designers the real rockstars now?

Well, if you believe Courtney's math, most of us probably make a better salary than most real rock stars.
posted by ratbastard at 12:05 PM on June 14, 2000

I cannot stand her! Die Courtney Love! Ugh!
posted by FAB4GIRL at 12:19 PM on June 14, 2000

And I do believe it - as mentioned, Steve Albini said the same thing in Maximum Rock And Roll years ago. I don't say Rock stars are living on some sort of horrible carousel, but they sure ain't working for themselves...
posted by jsapn at 12:24 PM on June 14, 2000

this was posted on hole's official site way back in mid-May (, has a link to a few related articles.

I personally like ""If these major labels aren't going to do for me what I can do for myself with my 19-year-old Web mistress Brooke, which is drive millions and millions of people in less than a month by just doing that Web site, and providing real content for that Web site, then they can go to hell." "

posted by mkn at 12:39 PM on June 14, 2000

Way to go Courtney Love. I've never listened to her music but this is one of the most articulate, straight forward rants on the current state of record company greed I've ever heard.

If you're not happy with the selection on Napster, rip some of your cool arcane music to MP3s and offer it.

For all the hype about Napster, I found the system pretty much unusable. In hundreds of attempts I only managed to successfully download three files. In order to upload, the program seemed to expect me to put all my files in a single folder, with no subfolders! I don't THINK so!

Guess I'm just grumpy because I think the concept is pretty cool but I can't actually make it work...


posted by Mars Saxman at 12:40 PM on June 14, 2000

Mars, in order to upload, you just need to put all your sub-folders into a single folder called "MP3s", and point Napster at the "MP3s" folder. It will find the tracks in the subfolders on its own.

Downloading is tough if you're on a modem-- any time you try to get a big file without a broadband connection you're going to run into problems like that. It's worsened on Napster because people can cut off your connections if they decide they don't want to sacrifice the bandwidth that's taken up when you download songs from their computer.

I had no trouble with Napster, but I have been attempting to run Gnutella and it's baffling me pretty thoroughly. So I empathize, Mars!
posted by wiremommy at 1:04 PM on June 14, 2000

(she even left the 7-eleven line in!)
posted by maura at 1:16 PM on June 14, 2000

I remember when Steve called C.L a Psycho Hose Beast in Newsweek years ago. She was a thief then (stealing publishing rights from Kurt) and she's a thief now (stealing Words from Steve). Steve calls them like he see's them, and once again has proved he is never wrong.
I wonder what his take on Napster is?
I know he is not fond of bootlegs, except maybe for a rare Leather Nun demo that no one could pass up!
posted by thirteen at 1:26 PM on June 14, 2000

all i have to say is...

go courtney.
posted by y0bhgu0d at 5:42 PM on June 14, 2000

>In hundreds of attempts I only managed to successfully download three files

ouch, I guess it won't be appropriate to say that I've downloaded more than three in the last 12 hours, for *backup* purposes that is...
posted by mkn at 8:18 PM on June 14, 2000

"This may be the end of a 90-year window when it was possible to make money off recorded music"
William Gibson

How many other things is this true of? Don't fight change, fight stagnation.
posted by john at 10:06 PM on June 14, 2000

(how's this for incestuous? :-)

Mark Nicoletti wrote a very nice appraisal, over on Kuroshin (oh, excuse me: "Kuro5hin" :-) of the Love speech.

It was one of the most literate things I've read all day.
posted by baylink at 7:19 AM on June 15, 2000

(Apologies, that's Mark *Coletti*.)
posted by baylink at 7:20 AM on June 15, 2000

Hey, Snark? Thanks for that link about the lawsuit; that's spiffy-cool stuff. My legal newswire (source, for those of you who might have wondered, of some of the stuff I post here) hadn't even mentioned it, which I find unusual...
posted by baylink at 2:43 PM on June 15, 2000

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