Metallica Are Fucking Morons by Chris Randall (aka Sister Machine Gun):
As for SMG songs on Napster, who fucking cares? You want a song, download it. You want art, buy the record. MP3s are like cassette singles that
record labels give out in the millions. (I have in my house a box of 300
Sins Of The Flesh promos, that contain the entire album. These were given
away with abandon, probably to the tune of 15,000 or so. It sure did hurt
I am a strong proponant of Chuck D's New Business Model, in which you make
your music, make it available, and if people like you and like it, they'll
buy your CD, which has something extra, and come to your show, where you
make the real money. In my _long_ experience, this model will win out over
the normal model, because the independant artist can roll with the punches.
I'll even give you a metaphor. The RIAA is a semi truck full of labels and
artists. An independant label (I'll use Positron!, but you can pick one at
will...) is a Yugo, which can only hold a couple people and their stuff.
The entertainment industry is a busy two-way street. You have to make a u-turn.
Which one would you rather be driving? The new business model will win out over the old one, trust me on this.
It's hard to turn this industry, and it certainly won't turn on a dime, but
labels like ours are finding that you can make a decent living if you just
provide a quality product in a timely fashion, and operate with a sense of
propriety. I _HATE_ the majors, and have little respect for artists that
whine about (a) their deals, (b) their fans or (c) piracy. Which brings us
Lars, Lars, Lars. You are such a fucking idiot, I can't even begin to put
it in to words. Rest assured, I'll give it a try.
For exhibit A, I propose Cliff 'Em All. This VHS video has a sticker on the
front that says "If this is priced more than $19.98, steal it." On the
back, it says it is, among other things, (and I'm directly quoting James
Hetfield here) "a compilation of bootleg footage shot by sneaky
So, if you have a video camera, you're sneaky. If you have a computer,
you're a thief? There is _no_ difference, in the eyes of the law, between
taping a live show and trading it with like-minded individuals, and making
an MP3 of a song and doing the same. Both are equally illegal, under the
Copyright Protection Act.
So, why does Metallica apparantly sanction one, but not the other? Who
On to exhibit B. Metallica has always sanctioned the taping of live performances, but the
recent Load tour took this to a new level. On the entire tour, at any show,
you could buy a 'taping ticket' through Ticketmaster. If you had one of
these tickets, you could then bring in your sound or video recording
equipment, and set up in a special area designated for the purpose. You
could either tape with microphones, or from a board feed provided by the
band. Metallica has always maintained that they are better on stage than
they are in the studio. So they are, in their minds at least, allowing you
to record their best face.
Of course, it always has been, and probably always will be, illegal to make
a recording of a band's performance and trade or sell it. But Metallica was
trying to duplicate the touring success of artists like Jimmy Buffet (top
grossing touring act for the last 5 years) and the Greatfull Dead (top
grossing for the 15 years before that.
Those two artists realized a long time ago that there was little money to
be made in selling records, when compared to the money you could make
playing to sold-out arenas every night. The Rolling Stones know this. Pink
Floyd knows this. Chuck D also knows this. Metallica knows this, but
they've had a couple tours tank, and it makes them worried.
Anyways, Napster's purpose is to make trading music over the internet easy.
Trading music over the internet is illegal. Thus, by definition, Napster
must be illegal. But technically speaking, the program and company aren't
breaking the law. You are, when you use their services. Kind of like it's
not Smith and Wesson's fault if you use one of their products to blow some
stupid cunt's head off. However, the end result is the same.
There is no practical way to stop people from trading MP3s. Anyone that
thinks Napster is the end-all-be-all for this sort of thing obviously has
no experience with IRC, the _real_ clearing house. If Napster is a smoking
pistol, IRC is one of those chain cannons in the nose of an AH-64 Apache
Helicopter, the kind that shoots bullets made of spent uranium 30 times a
second that chew up Iraqi tanks as if they were Pez candies.
So, since there is no practical way to stop it, the obvious choice is to
embrace it. When you think about it, which would you rather have? All the
songs of the Burn album on MP3, or the CD itself, if you were going to
listen at home? You'd rather have the CD, I'm willing to bet. In fact, I
have bet. I don't even bother searching for MP3 sites that contain my
music, and the Rarities and Remixes compilation is comprised almost
entirely of MP3s we have released at one time or another.
I search Napster for SMG all the time, but only out of curiosity. Usually,
you'll find the song 'Burn,' and the AC/DC cover we did for Cleopatra. Not
much more. You would be hard pressed, if you were actually a fan, to
collect my entire released catalog merely by using Napster. I submit that
you couldn't do it. And if all you want to hear is the song 'Burn,' well,
I'd be an asshole to make you spend $17.99 (or whatever TVT is charging
these days) for that one song. Go ahead and download it, if you can. If you
like it enough, you'll go buy the record. If you don't, no hard feelings.
Back to the subject at hand. Metallica is a band that exists at the level
it does today as a direct result of bootlegging, where one jackass
meshback-capped redneck is giving a mix tape to another of the same
persuasion, increasing the band's attendance at shows, and thus album
Metallica now has money, as a direct result of bootlegging. Metallica now
spends the money they made that way fighting bootlegging.
Metallica are fucking morons.