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[FYI] Salon.com: Making dollars, making sense


Making dollars, making sense

Two Kosovo benefit projects helmed by Pearl Jam and the
Beastie Boys show how bizarrely record companies will act
around new technology.

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June 9, 1999 | The six massive record distributors that
span the globe fought for years against consumers'
ability to record crummy-sounding albums on
crummy-sounding cassette tapes. Now that kids can
quickly make perfect copies of perfect recordings on
their computers, the majors are going bat shit.

In the brave new game of digital downloading, two
recent skirmishes provided object lessons in just how
bizarrely record companies are behaving as they
confront the new technology. In both instances, the
catalyst is laudable efforts by multi-platinum rock
bands to do a little charity work. In the first, Sony
Music may have spent fully $1 million just to avoid
having to deal with Pearl Jam releasing a single song
on an MP3 site. In the second, one of rock's hippest
acts finds itself, oddly, in bed with a filthy-rich
software company doing its best to provide the labels
with a copy-proof download standard. Both stories are
tied together with marketing plans and branding
schemes, but neither has a happy or tidy ending,
suggesting that these battles will continue for the
foreseeable future.

[ ... ]

Kristian Köhntopp, NetUSE Kommunikationstechnologie GmbH
Siemenswall, D-24107 Kiel, Germany, +49 431 386 436 00
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