João Paulo Monteiro jpmonteiro at
Thu Feb 15 16:20:06 MST 2001

Maryann Bowers wrote:

> I suppose I'm going to get a dressing-down for my naivete, but I
> respectfully submit that I'm baffled by the reaction of people like "Jose"
> with regard to Napster remaining a free service.  It's important to remember
> the only means of offsetting the costs of recording, distribution, and
> promotion of music is income from record sales.  Record companies front an
> obscene amount of money, in good faith, to artists for these costs, and
> unless labels restructure themselves into a public service, they expect to
> recoup.  Royalties from sales, on or off the net, are the average,
> non-DietCoke-sponsored artist's only income as well.  Following your logic,
> every cd at Tower should be free to everyone, and no one should be allowed
> to make their living writing and performing music.
> Yes, of course, ideally artists/studio engineers/video directors/record
> store employees/Napster code-writers should control the means of recording
> and reproducing cds, making videos, etc., but as the model stands now,
> unless everyone along the chain of production agrees to work at a loss, or
> the government radically changes its stance on funding for the arts, sales
> and royalties are the only means of paying that perky Brittany Spears for
> bringing her particular brand of joy into your daughter's life.  The only
> obvious alternative, if record labels go under at the hands of technology,
> is you could start seeing commercial messages in the middle of the song
> you're downloading.  If  I'm missing an incredibly obvious solution, I'm
> more than happy to be enlightened.  (ps. People who run record labels, and
> the thousands of employees who've lost their jobs the last few years, are
> painfully aware of the technology and its impacts.)

In the latest issue of 'Science and Society', David Laibman proposes paying
musicians an annual wage from public funds. Above some basic minimum wage,
income of musicians could be increased, in porpotion to the number of downloads
of their stuff, up to a maximum limit.

João Paulo Monteiro

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