Rip. Mix. Burn. Lame.

by Crom

I was waiting for my mom in the airport to pick her up from her return from Mexico. I studied the cryptic board they have that tells you arrivals and departures, truly only the wisest of men can decipher its madness. I noted with dismay that my mother’s flight was delayed an hour. In an effort to stave off the insanity that would shortly follow, I wandered to the gift shop, purchasing iced tea, and the February issue of Wired. The main focus of the issue, and ultimately the topic that inspired the Led Zeppelin style cover art, centered on the current tragic end to the music industry. With the finger pointed, naturally, to the mp3 whores of the world. I sat down to wait the endless time I would have to endure to pick up my mom. And she walked around the corner. I told you that thing was hard to read.

I didn’t pick up the magazine again until about a week later, when I noticed it on my coffee table, and remembered how much I’d wanted to read the article on the downfall of the most grotesquely rapacious trend whores on the planet. I was disappointed, the article was very thin, and sadly didn’t really take any kind of position. I knew they weren’t out to crap all over the music industry, but they didn’t’ even seem to have anything regarding the main articles actual topic. The thread seemed to wander off into a deep look into the life of Hilary Rosen, the flesh eating copyright fiend pay rolled by the industry to murder any infringement on their domain. Don’t get me wrong it was interesting but they cluttered the point of the cover topic with a lot of useless crap before ever getting down to the nitty gritty. Two very distinct ideas came out of the issue.

#1 : The music industry, despite the obvious failures of their attempts to stop music piracy, are still going to attack any source of piracy like a soccer mom on the last turkey at the store during Christmas. Because no matter how many people make them look like asses, no matter how many times some clever code monkey fires up a P2P solution to their latest dumbassery, they have to continue the fight. Now they’re fighting a holding action, merely keeping the onslaught at bay, but should they give up, the world would eat their asses for breakfast the next morning, and not a single soul would be in His Master’s Voice buying up copies of Britney and Nelly like cotton candy at a fat camp. Tragic end to Satan’s reign on earth.

#2 : The peer to peer world, and the internet crowd in general, will never stop smashing in the head of the music industry, until they feast on the gooey insides. Like Luke Skywalker frantically smashes Vader’s saber over and over until victory, the people who want to pirate music will find a way. Especially with the likes of KaZaa and Morpheus et al. breathing down the necks of the delivery boy at the record store. The sad rigmarole the industry goes through trying to smash these P2P networks will only make the next incarnation that more wary of the avenues of attack. A very intriguing portion of the Wired issue, broke down the legal backing and filling performed by Niklas Zennström and his cohorts in order to send a giant “Fuck you” the music and motion picture groups. Which warmed my heart, because regardless of how fucking brutal the ripping of content is, the knee-jerk National Socialist reaction by the entertainment world gives an air of putrid fascism. Perhaps being taken down a peg or two was something they needed.

The shocking tone throughout the issue was in the perception of the people ganking the music. The comments of all party’s involved in the takedown of the music distribution networks always spoke about the enemy they fought like they were greasy skids on the street corner, ripping off LP’s from the local Virgin megastore, or stealing money directly from the pockets of the Senior V.P.’s of the recording world. They seem to have this hazy image of the standard music pirate, and it reads like a 1950’s dope fiend movie. Greasy jeans, dark eyes, and the crazed look of a PCP crazed axe murderer! But the sad reality is that it’s not some annoyance like the early 80’s and on where the punkers are making tape copies of music and passing it around to everyone at a concert. It’s not the same issue, but they’re dealing with it in the same fashion. And that in turn led to another nugget of wisdom within the magazine, that the music industry has perpetuated this with their iron clad fist of doom style of business, and their complete dead brained attitude towards the information explosion. It was assumed when these issues started cropping up that they’d be dealt with in the same expedient fashion and ruthless blood letting that standard infringement had been dealt with. Only they didn’t get it.

Much akin to the US and ‘Nam they weren’t prepared for the attack style. Guerilla pirating techniques and underground distribution methods. That eventually ballooned into a full blown network of people all ripping and distributing at a rate more alarming then warp 9.5. And now they need to change their business. A complete paradigm shift in the way they do music sales. In their haste to scoff at internet distribution of albums because of the supposed lack of guaranteed funds, they were backdoored in the pooper by us, the music hungry masses. Akin to Luddites fighting space aliens, the music world got rocked. And now they’re realizing, much too late, that they shit the bed. The bad part is that before it gets better, it’s going to get worse. They’ll charge you up the ass for an album, and they’ll flay anyone who leaks it alive.

The money making machine that thrived on brain dead pop divas and drug dulled rock stars in order to precipitate cash isn’t on the ball anymore. And, no matter how many blood sucking lawyer types they sick on the few poor bastards with their names on the lease, it isn’t going to make things any better. Embracing the information explosion is now the only avenue, the sickness is the cure. Jump on and whore out that bandwidth for all you’ve got, because if you made all music you produced available via subscription, over excellent quality networks, with no bullshit fakes, without charging people their left nut to get access, you’d get a lot of people who are sick and tired of the bullshit of P2P networks, and hopefully you’d not go out of business. Of course this suggests that paying some foppish nancy boy 34 million dollars for his EP about his latest break up is not going to fly anymore. They dug a giant hole, took a crap in it, then someone pushed them in. And no one, not even their mothers, is going to cry about it.

  • Rip. Mix. Burn. Lame.
  • by Crom
  • Published on March 1st, 2003

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