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Music Media

Ask Metallica About Napster 627

Members of the band Metallica have agreed, through their publicist, to answer questions from Slashdot readers about their recent legal actions against Napster and Napster users. They did a live chat interview Tuesday on the subject with a crowd rounded up by and Yahoo!. Now it's our turn, so let's give them a fine, thorough, Slashdot-style grilling. (more)

Notes before you post:

1) Due to an anticipated high volume of questions, please confine yourself to one question per post, and keep it short! As usual, we'll allow 24 hours for posting and moderation, then select 10 - 15 of the highest-moderated questions and send them to our interview guest(s) by e-mail. Answers will be posted as soon as we get them back, hopefully within the next week.

2) Please read some of what other people have had to say before posting; Richard Stallman made some comments about Napster and Metallica in his interview here earlier this week. Bruce Perens has written an interesting piece on Napster and Free Software which we also suggest reading, along with Jon Katz's most recent editorial about this brou-ha-ha. We also suggest a fast look at this story (and the comments attached to it), and possibly a quick perusal of other material on the subject previously published here and elsewhere.

3. Credit where credit is due: Emmett Plant set this up. It wasn't easy. Please thank him profusely. He deserves it.

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Ask Metallica About Napster

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    What were you more surprised by: The fact that Napster makes it easy to access music, or that there were actually as many as 335,000 people out there who had any interest in Metallica?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How do you feel about artists doing the exact opposite by embracing Napster and the MP3 community, such as Chuck D and Limp Bizkit?
  • Metallica used to actually advocate bootlegging of their music as a means of promotion? Now that that bootlegging and fan promotion has achieved you much success, don't you feel that you've now become a corporate dog deserving to be shot down as such?
  • In your interviews on the subject already available, you assert that Napster is a piracy tool. Are you aware that:
    • Napster does NOT store or provide files. It simply allows one computer to connect to another. Napster is NOT a music archive, and has NO illegal material stored ANYWHERE on its servers.
    • Napster is NOT just a find-an-mp3 software. It has chat rooms which allow indie artists to promote their material, fans to discuss material, etc.

    It seems to me that the REAL problem is with people putting entire CD's online, THEN connecting to Napster. The REAL crime is when an individual makes copyrighted material available, NOT when the Napster service is abused. It seems to me that a much stronger lawsuit would be one against an individual who makes these materials available. Why aren't you pursuiing individual claims against the biggest perpatrators, rather than Napster? Is it because you're afraid of alienating your fan base?


  • by BOredAtWork ( 36 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @09:38AM (#1091608)
    I read the transcript of your fan chat at with great interest. And I'm totally disgusted with the answer you gave to the following question: "What do you hope to accomplish with this lawsuit?" Lars responded, "The ideal situation is clear and simple - to put Napster out of business." At a later point, Lars states "We're not saying that bands who want to be part of Napster should not be allowed to."

    Lars/Metallica, how on earth can you hold these two ideals, which are POLAR OPPOSITES? You say that it should be an artist's decision whether or not they want to participate in this new medium, yet you also say you want to kill it outright. My question is this: How do you feel that putting Napster out of business and thereby removing that right-to-chose from EVERY other artist is fair to anyone but yourselves? Also, how do you justify this point of view to fans of non-signed bands who depend on Napster for distribution?


  • by BOredAtWork ( 36 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @10:36AM (#1091609)
    Why don't you consider making your copyrighted materials available online YOURSELVES? The sound quality of an MP3 can be easily controlled - you could put up 1:00 clips at a lower quality on your web site. I (and many others like me) don't buy an album until we can listen to at least 3/4 of it via MP3's. Radio singles are great, but that's usually 1 song off of a 12 to 16 song album. Napster proves that people have a HUGE desire to sample music before they buy it. Why don't you make samples available on your web site?

    Also, do you realize the amount of live material that Napster users share? I own 9 Metallica CD's, and have no less than 30 mp3's of live concerts, interviews, etc. I'm hardly "ripping you off". However, I am an avid Napster user, because it's a great way to find rare live material. Why don't you make high-quality mp3's of an occasional concert available on your web site?


  • What evidence has the RIAA presented that shows that mp3s are harming artists as they claim? Cuts both ways. They can go after Napster for strictly legal reasons, but if they're going to make claims about harm to the artists, they should at least back them up. The RIAA and MPAA among others have actively been trying to pervert copyright into serving their needs exclusively, rather than serving the nation as a whole as it was intended. Given that, I don't think they can claim that just because copyright laws were broken that the it necessarily follows that the artists are getting the shaft. I think they've already done more than enough harm to the rest of us.

  • We're terribly sorry about the gross overuse of Master of Puppets puns in the posts here!

  • by Danse ( 1026 )

    I can download an entire cds worth of mp3s in less than 10 minutes. This is much more convenient than ripping them myself. Plus they'll already have all the related info added usually (i.e. album title, etc.) so I don't have to do that myself. This way I can leave my cd collection at home and listen to the mp3s at work.

  • This is a multi-part question. Many people think that the RIAA's claims of harm to artists are way overblown. Has any research been done on the actual effects that MP3 distribution has on artists? For instance, do you know that the people downloading the music do not own the albums? Do you know whether they actually keep and listen to the MP3s rather than purchasing the cds, or do they delete what they don't like and buy what they do like? Could MP3s actually be helping record sales by exposing people to more music that they would not have purchased because they had never heard it? Has there been any investigation at all of what's really going on before the lawsuits were filed?

  • Is the availability of MP3s allowing people to be more discriminating in their purchases since they can listen to an album before deciding to buy it? Do you believe that people should or should not be able to do this?

  • Do you believe that a significant number of your fans will download your music to avoid paying for it?

  • Do you believe that the current model of distribution is becoming outdated and that a better model should be found that eliminates much of the overhead associated with the cost of a cd today, thus reducing costs for fans and increasing profits for artists?

  • Is it desirable or possible, in your opinion, to link artists and their fans more directly so that fans can support the artists they like without feeling like they've been taken to the cleaners by the record companies and middlemen?

  • I've reposted the above questions in the main thread. I separated them into one question per post there. If you think any of these are worthy questions, please mod up the individual posts since the the post I'm replying to is not likely to make it to Metallica due to having too many questions in it. Or maybe you'll just mod me into oblivion. You could do that too :)

  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @02:38PM (#1091622)

    (1) This is a multi-part question. Many people think that the RIAA's claims of harm to artists are way overblown. Has any research been done on the actual effects that MP3 distribution has on artists? For instance, do you know that the people downloading the music do not own the albums? Do you know whether they actually keep and listen to the MP3s rather than purchasing the cds, or do they delete what they don't like and buy what they do like? Could MP3s actually be helping record sales by exposing people to more music that they would not have purchased because they had never heard it? Has there been any investigation at all of what's really going on before the lawsuits were filed?

    (2) Is the availability of MP3s allowing people to be more discriminating in their purchases since they can listen to an album before deciding to buy it? Do you believe that people should or should not be able to do this?

    (3) Do you believe that a significant number of your fans will download your music to avoid paying for it?

    (4) Do you believe that the current model of distribution is becoming outdated and that a better model should be found that eliminates much of the overhead associated with the cost of a cd today?

    (5) Is it desirable or possible, in your opinion, to link artists and their fans more directly so that fans feel like they can support the artists they like without feeling like they've been taken to the cleaners by the record companies?

  • You were quoted before as saying that Napster commoditizes your music. How exactly is music art when it is sold by a giant record label, and a commodity when shared among fans? It seems that you got that backwards. Don't get me wrong - I think you have every right to protect your intellectual property - but your earlier statement seems to indicate that you are more interested in commodotizing music than making something which people enjoy.
  • The argument, if I recall correctly, on one side has been that Metallica's music was "art", not a disposable commodity to be traded like bubble-gum cards.

    Challanging this are two barbarian armies. One one flank ride the techno-anarchist Huns, with their fiersome Napster-throwers and vorpal blades of Gnutella. Their war-crys are ones of "freedom to copy!" and "death to rules!".

    On the other flank ride the more sedate, but no less fiersome Philosophers of Doom, with their terrifying chants of "it's inevitable!" and "you can't stop them!"

    Who is "right" no longer matters, if it ever did. Personally, I agree with Metallica's stance completely, but I don't depend on popularity to pay my bills, the way any artist does.

    Legal battles are unlikely to impress barbarians. Why should they? Barbarians are, by definition, outside such civilised concepts. If anything, there is likely to be a "popular" backlash.

    This leads me (at long last) to my question: How does Metallica, or Real Music propose to survive this fight?

  • by Frank Sullivan ( 2391 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:15AM (#1091632) Homepage
    Are you free to answer any way you please in this interview? Or has your label requested that your responses to our questions be reviewed by their lawyers before being posted back to Slashdot? And if so, did you agree to this?

    I really need to feel like you guys are speaking your minds, and not just saying what the lawyers think is okay for you to say. No master pulling your strings...

  • by acb ( 2797 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:20AM (#1091635) Homepage
    You mentioned that we need laws banning file-sharing software such as Napster. How far should these laws go? If in 10 years time, computer users labour under draconian restrictions on communications software under what is titled the Lars Ulrich Digital Copy Enforcement Act, to the effect that sharing music files (of any sort) without the digital signature of a major record label or copyright authority becomes grounds for loss of Internet access and/or legal sanctions, how will you feel about the fans and small-time bands whose attempts at networking are crippled by these restrictions?
  • by bjb ( 3050 ) on Friday May 05, 2000 @03:13AM (#1091637) Homepage Journal
    To Mr. Ulrich and Mr. Hetfield,

    Almost twenty years ago is a memory you recalled once in an interview that I read in a magazine I can't remember at this time. It was basically describing how the two of you used to drive around in the late Cliff Burton's blue Volkswagen listening over and over to a tape simply labelled 'MISFITS' on a piece of masking tape. Despite the fact you couldn't stand it after a while (and Cliff's drumming on the dashboard), the fact here is that you were practicing something that most people in the world do: listening to "pirated" music.

    This tape was obviously not a store purchased tape, and while it could be argued that Mr. Burton did at that time (if not later) legally own copies of the music on that cassette, it was still, by legal definition, an illegal copy.

    I'm not saying Napster is right or wrong. I'm not saying what you did back then is right or wrong. I'm trying to get at the idea that you've been there; having copies of music. Personally, I'm more like Mr. Ulrich in the way that I collect a large amount of music, and quite frankly, even though I have numerous opportunities to make a cassette or CD of someone's album, I much prefer to have the physical store-bought item (liner note, album photographs, etc). However, this is something that something that many people do and even you yourselves have.

    Allowing this free exchange of music shouldn't hurt you, Metallica, much. Isn't it true that most of your revenue comes from the sale of Metallica related items and concert sales? Surely the potential loss of sales due to Napster trading isn't going to effect your bottom line to a dramatic extent.


  • I've been a pretty avid listener of Metallica since around "Ride the Lightning" or so. In those days and up until about "Metallica", James Hetfield had said in numerous interviews words to the effect of:
    1) It's about the music, not the money
    2) The big record labels are just big corporate and are basically parasitic by nature.

    Recent events would seem to indicate that it's no longer about the music, but very much about the money. It also indicates a reversal in regards to the record label.

    If this is indeed a reversal, why the change?
    If it's not a reversal, how is the recent legal activity justified.

    Thanks. I'll still keep listening to the early Metallica work, but I won't buy another new CD until this legal nonsense is over.
  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:18AM (#1091644) Journal
    To what extent do you, and the people you know in the music industry, take the pro-Napster view seriously?

    From my side, the development of the position generally held here looked like this:

    1) People start freely distributing software they've made.
    2) People start encouraging others to do the same.
    3) A larger crowd of people forms, who generally don't make anything useful themselves, but demand that everyone making software make it for free.
    4) That crowd then branches out into demanding that all information and ideas be given to them to do with anything they wish.

    From your side, does the "Intellectual property is evil" argument make any sort of sense? Does it come across as a sincere political view or just as a rationalization of theft? Does it seem like a juvenile, unrealistic political enthusiasm?
  • It's funny, the idea of "putting Napster out of business". It's too late. MSWord is a 'word-proccessor', and so is Corel and vi. The idea of a word-proccessor is established now and will never die. Napster is the first (or most successful manifestation) of a new idea that will become every bit as ubiquitious as the idea of the word-proccessor.

    Killing Napster would be a brief and hollow victory.

    Oh well!

  • Metallica is not about to cut themselves from the apron-strings that have kept them well-fed until now, and the record industry execs will spend every spare minute convincing them and other cash-cows that the Threat is real and deadly.

    As the paradigm shifts, there is pain and much scrambling for high ground. These people are acting in what they believe to be their best interests.

    They're all still big enough and entrenched enough to believe that they can legislate the laws of physics in their favour.

    God bless 'em for trying. Alas, 'twill avail them not. The Middle Man is in his death-throws already. Things will be getting very ugly from here on, and then it will be over, and Something New (better? who can say?) will have sprung up.

    Nothing lasts forever. Absofuckinglutely NOTHING.

  • Just now, I'm not going to take sides. I'm not going to decry Napster for facilitating piracy, nor am I going to decry Metallica for joining the let's-abuse-the-litigation-process club.
    I'm posting this question to call Metallica on their hypocrisy. To wit, here is a quote:

    "We're suing Napster for one reason and one reason only. Because they exist to pirate music, nothing more, nothing less. It's not just about the money at the end of the day."

    Now, I don't know which of you guys said that, so you'll all have to bear its burden. Here is what you're saying: "It's not about money, it's about piracy." But what is piracy? Unauthorized copying. But why would copying be restricted? Don't artists want to get wider audiences? Of course they do, but you also need to eat, so you copyright your music and charge for it. So unless you're concerned about making money from your music, what is now "piracy" would simply be "getting our music out". So, in effect, what you are saying is this: "It's not about money, it's about money."

    Here's another example, though this one could be said to be only on Lars' head:

    "We take our craft -- whether it be the music, the
    lyrics, or the photos and artwork -- very seriously, as do most artists. It is therefore sickening to know that our art is being traded
    like a commodity rather than the art that it is."

    I must say, that statement truly disgusts me. When music is sold for $17 a CD at Media Play or Tower Records, THEN it's being treated like a commodity. When music is freely exchanged on Napster, ftp sites, IRC, or whatever, THEN it's being treated like art. Whichever position you take on it, wanting it to be a commodity or to be art, I don't care. I just want you to own up to it. So the basic essence of what I'm asking, is for you to...


  • by drix ( 4602 )
    Well it's not, if the 500,000 people using are any indicator. All of them (supposedly) own the CD they are listening to. Have you ever ripped a CD before? Between ripping and encoding it takes at least an hour, maybe more depending on the speed of your computer. It is a lot easier for me to go on Napster and download the whole thing over a cable modem than it is to rip it.

  • by drix ( 4602 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @09:35AM (#1091653) Homepage
    When I heard that you were accusing 300,000 people of pirating your music I thought to myself, "That's funny - there's no way they could have listened to all that music in a single weekend."

    Do you guys actually have any semblance of proof that all those songs that Napster lists are actually Metallica songs? As far as I know, it is perfectly legal for me to name my MP3s whatever I want. So if I want to call something "Enter Sandman" or "One", I'm well within my rights to do so. It certainly doesn't constitute a copyright violation. It would seem to me that the only way to prove that people actually pirated your music is to download each of the hundreds of thousands of tracks and make sure they are Metallica songs. Have you guys done this? Assuming the answer is no (I don't see how you could have), do you really expect your lawsuit to carry any sort of legal weight, or is it just a ruse, just a scare tactic?

  • Do you think there will be a backlash from you prosecuting Napster users who are part of your fan base?

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!
  • No honor among thieves.

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!
  • Metallica differentiated MP3 trading from Bootleg tape trading on the grounds of "better quality". Say what? Currently RIAA has a pretty solid lock on the two highest fidelity methods of music distribution extant. Vinyl and CD. All MP3's, no matter their bitrate, are all inferior (though for most people it's barely noticable) to CD quality music. So if Metallica has a history of approving of bootlegs, how can Metallica..well, the RIAA actually push an arbitrary quality level on us?

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!
  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @08:04AM (#1091660) Homepage Journal

    This question may seem trite, but it isn't. Please bear with me:

    Let's say you guys were living in the Star Trek universe, where everyone has a replicator. A replicator will cough up a copy of anything you want (food, clothing, 1GHz Pentiums, etc.). So although people still work (because time is still a scarce resource), nobody bothers trying to sell the artifacts of their work, since it's rather pointless.

    So: If you guys were living in the Star Trek universe, would you still do what you do? That is, if it were effectively impossible for you to sell the artifacts of your work because everyone could make copies of it, would you still do creative work, or would you do something else? (Remember, in Star Trek-land, you have a replicator, too, so you don't need to worry about getting basic needs met.)

    (This is a relevant question because digital media today operates in exactly the same manner as Star Trek replicators.)


  • I have heard it argued by many bands that the record studios take virtually all profit from the sale of albums. In fact, most bands make most of their money performing concerts. A hugely successful band like Metalica eventually makes money from albums, because the record studios are forced into agreements by bands that are assured of sales. I would argue that even a sucessful band such as Metalica has been paid a trifling sum in comparison to the amount of money that they have generated, most of it squandered away by the record industry. Taking this into account, don't you think that cutting out the record industry and providing a direct link between artists and music is a good idea for bands? By increasing the amount of exposure to your music aren't you driving more people towards your real money maker, concerts?
  • It seems to me like you're all missing the point in your crusade to put Napster out of business. For years, full songs and even full albums have been available in the MP3 format almost anywhere you look online. You can get them in chat rooms on IRC, on web pages run by 12-year-olds, on private FTP sites, and more commonly nowadays, on company intranet file servers.

    MP3s are here to stay, as a technology and a means of music dissemination, whether you like it or not. And even though you say you have no problems with MP3, only Napster, you fail to realize (probably because all your information is being fed to you by your management and your record label) that as long as MP3s exist, they will be freely distributed with blatant disregard to ownership or copyright.

    Do you at all understand the scope of the technology you're trying to fight? And if so, why are you focusing on eliminating a small part of the "problem" instead of offering alternatives? If you shut down Napster, people will still be pirating your music on the internet, and especially with anonymous (and distributed) technologies like Gnutella, there will be ABSOLUTELY no way for you to stop them.

    • _____

    • ToiletDuk (58% Slashdot Pure)
  • Metallica has been experimenting with online music, specifically with the recent RealAudio broadcasts and a classical concert.

    Are there any plans right now to release, or make available, additional online music? If not, why?

  • Record companies are outdated. Why keep them around? A CD costs $15 - and plenty of people are willing to pay that. How much of that money do you see? A buck or two, if that?

    In the music business, the only people that really matter are the band and the recording engineer. The technology exists now that you can tell the record company to fuck off, and you can go straight to us. We're still willing to pay $15 bucks for your album, and you'd get to keep all of it.

    The RIAA is fighting technology tooth and nail because they know that they're irrelavant now, and the billions of dollars the music industy produces is going to stop going to the stockholders and start going to the artists. They don't care about you. They don't care about us.

    In the end, they're going to lose - this is an arms race, and if the lawyers destroy Napster, another will take over, immune from whatever destroys Napster. If the lawyers destroy that one, it will be replaced again.

    Why not be the band that goes down as the band that changed the way the industry workes, and gets rid of the cancer of record companies?

  • Here's my question for Metallica:

    How do you feel about my opinion that the high prices of album-length Compact Discs are actually encouraging the passing of .MP3 files from CD's because many customers are not willing to pay high prices? This is especially in light of the fact that most record "brick and mortar" stores charge US$15 to US$17 per CD, and I've heard the price could reach US$18 very soon. Do you feel that lowering the price of album-length CD's to US$9 will actually discourage piracy since there will be less incentive to do piracy and far more incentive to buy the disc itself?
  • Moderators: Please do not moderate this up; it's not a question to Metallica but to the previous poster.

    [[ Not me, I have a new policy: I pirate the CD's and then send the artist $5, far more than they get per CD from their label. ]]

    I have a question for you then: How do you manage to send the artist $5? I've often thought that doing this would be the best way for music to be distributed in the future, and that I would love to do exactly that. So... how do you find out the address or whatever of the artist to send the $5 to? And do you really think that it goes straight to them and not to their bank of publicists who filter all their fanmail and probably pocket the $5?

    Do you think there is a market for a website that would serve no purpose other than taking a credit card number, allow for selection from a database of bands, and send $5 from that credit card to the band you specify?

  • The radio analogy doesn't quite work. A better analogy would be to taping songs off the radio.

    Also, don't radio stations have to pay a fee for each song that's played?

    This does have interesting implications for internet 'radio' stations.

    Steve M

  • In the same spirit what do /. readers want in a digital music system?

    What can we do to help design a system that addresses the needs of all stakeholders (listeners, artists, others?)?

    The system I'd like to see would allow me to download high quality copies of music files. Play them on a variety of devices including computers, portable players, stereo systems, car systems, etc. I have no problem paying a reasonable amount for these files (I pay for almost all of my music today). I would prefer a one time payment vs. a subscription model. I would also like a try before you buy system. This could be X number of plays or expiration date driven.

    I want the 'sharability' inherent in CDs, tapes, and records. That is, I want to be able to play my files on someone else's system. Perhaps the file would be keyed to an owner and each playback system would have to match that owner (with multiple owners for shared devices, i.e. the family stereo). Playing it on a friends system could use the try before you buy mechanism or there could be a guest mode that allowed a limited number of plays (relative not absolute).

    So there's a start. What else would we need and or want?

    Steve M

  • I won't pay for intangible goods.[0] If I buy music, or software, I expect to get something I can hold in my hands (at least a CD that can be used as a backup in case my hard drive dies).

    You've never purchased software by downloading it? I prefer this method, as I get what I want when I need it. I would prefer to buy music, books, videos this way as well.

    I also won't accept "keyed media" (media that can only be played in one specific player, or on one specific computer). That's a recipe for disaster.

    For me, it depends on the key. I would not accept a system where a file is keyed to one machine. I would accept a system was keyed to me, and I could use it on any machine I owned or might own in the future. So the machines would somehow have to be keyed to me as well. And the system would have to allow machines to be keyed to multiple users (i.e. the family stereo). And allow for limited use on other machines not keyed to me. That is, I could play a recording on a friends machine, but could not save it on that device.

    As for paying for intangable goods, do you have cable tv? Ever used pay per view? Ever go to a concert? Ever go to the movies? Information is intangable. But our technology forced it to be tangable. The digital revolution is changing that. You mentioned a distinction between goods and services. Where do you draw the line? Is /. a service or a product? Is it something different?

    Would you pay for a 'pay per listen' service is it charged a fixed monthly fee, ala cable tv or internet access, and allowed unlimited listening to CD quality music anywhere anytime, but didn't allow copying? I might based on the price and the selection.

    Digital distribution of information is easy. Doing it wrong, (DIVX, Napster), is also easy. Doing it right, by respecting the rights of the artist and the needs of the user hasn't really been tried yet, no doubt do to the efforts of clueless middle men.

    I've seen plenty of posts about what people don't want. And plenty that treat the issue as one sided. Very few discuss a system that address the needs of all stakeholders. I've made some suggestions in this post and in others in this thread. Anybody else have any ideas?

    Steve M

  • In fact, I'm surprised they haven't tried it with CDs. Probably too much legal precedent.

    I remember reading about a new type of CD that was similar to DIVX in that it could only play on certain machines. Alas I have no reference to this story. Anybody else remember this?

    Speaking of which, I went looking for the original story on /., but when I went to review the older items, only the last twenty stories were available. It used to be that every older story was available. What happened?

    Steve M

  • You've never purchased software by downloading it?

    Actually, no, I don't think I have. But I don't buy very much software -- almost all the software I use is free software. (And no, this doesn't mean warez. I used to do the warez thing when I was a lot younger, but I don't any more.)

    I use both commercial and free software. As for free software, I download some and I get some on CD. I am assuming that you download free software. (The problem with using a system like this to have a conversation is that I can't get any immediate feedback. In a real time conversation, we could correct each other and prevent misunderstandings. Oh well.) By your definition below, unless you pay for it or exchange something of value, free software is not a product. I point this out to show how tricky it is to distinguish a product from a service when taking about bits.

    As for paying for intangible goods, do you have cable tv? Ever used pay per view? ...

    But I'm not buying the music or other content in these cases. I'm paying for a service. In the case of cable TV (I have it; or rather it's in my wife's name and I pay the bills ;-) ), I'm paying for the service of having audio/video content streamed into my house over a wire. I'm not paying for the actual content.

    But if it wasn't for the content, you wouldn't be supporting your wife's cable habit. I think a strong argument could be made that the main reason that anyone pays for cable is the content.

    No, I've never used Pay Per View, ...

    Me neither.

    Where do you draw the line? Is /. a service or a product? Is it something different?

    Slashdot is clearly not a product -- I haven't paid any money or exchanged anything of value for it. I'd say it's a service.

    The basic distinction is whether, at the end of the transaction, anything has changed ownership.

    Things are starting to get tricky here. If I give you a copy of a file, and I still have a copy, and you do not exchange anything of value for it, is it a product?

    Considering /. again, is the NY Times a product? If you buy the paper version there is definitely a transfer of tangible goods, so by your definition it is a product. Is the web version a product? It is the same info, just in a different format. You don't exchange anything for it (if you want to argue that you need a login so you have given identity, then consider the Boston Globe, no login required).

    This is the crux of my argument. That for bits, the current distinction between product and service is a result of current technology, and is not intrinsic to the bits. Bits are packaged in CDs and DVDs because that is the best we could do with the technology we had. With computer and communication technology, all that will change.

    Take music CDs as an example. I buy music in the CD format because it is a convenient, high quality, portable format. But if every CD ever made was available for instant access over the net (wired and wireless) I would sign up today (this is what I was referring to as a "pay per listen" service. I was envisioning a monthly access fee.). That is, I would not 'own' any music because I wouldn't have to. The only reason I have CDs and albums and tapes and MP3s and DVDs and video tapes and books and magazines and software is because it is the only way I can get the content I want.

    Now, we have some work to do to make this happen. And most of that will be in getting the media companies to provide it in a consumer friendly manner. Wether it be for music, books, video, what ever. No adds. No DJs (I agree about FM radio sucking. The only radio I listen to is in the car (no CD player yet) and a couple of shows on public radio, Echoes and Starsend, space music.) No consumer tracking. Strong privacy.

    (Have you read Stephenson's The Diamond Age? (You must have; I think it's required reading for all slashdot users....) Every manufactured item in that society is built by nanotechnology.

    Yep, although I preferred Snowcrash and I'm reading Cryptonomicon now. So far so good. In The Diamond Age MCs do for atoms what computer and communication technology does for bits. Why own anything when you can get a copy instantly. But we have to make sure there are no adds. (Given that people buy clothing from beer and cigarette companies, essentially paying for the priveledge of being a billboard, I don't have much hope.)

    Sorry for the paranoia. Something to think about, though. Maybe I'll at least give you a good laugh....

    I enjoyed it. A well thought out serious reply on /. is a rare thing. Thanks.

  • The amusing thing about this question (basically, "are you lying?") is that whether they answer YES or NO, you still don't really have an answer...

  • by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:20AM (#1091690)

    The responses from Metallica during the chat for the most part were in the instantly recognisable "canned press-release-like" drone, although there were a few responces that seemed more honest and off-the-cuff.

    I asked them to compare MP3 distribution to radioplay. Like Napster, the radio networks are basically a huge legitimate way to transmit information (in the form of music) to users.

    My question then was to why is one method considered illegal while the other is legal and seemingly OK with Metallica (I have heard Metallica songs on the radio, so I assume they have no problem with stations broadcasting their music).

    There response was that MP3's are of higher quality.

    So what if someone would encode an MP3 at a bitrate producing a quality similar to radio and distributed that one instead? They had nothing to say to this one.
  • by afc ( 12569 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @12:43PM (#1091694) Homepage
    fprintf, do you realize that you must the abolute first first-poster to ever be moderated up to 5???

    Do you realize the seriousness of this situation? Slashdot will never be the same again!

    OTOH, I bet ya had this post ready ever since JonKatz leaked the interview announcement, righ ;-)?
  • by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:12AM (#1091698) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure everybody's going to ask this, but I might as well go ahead.

    In several articles about your actions against Napster, you were quoted as saying something like (paraphrased): "Napster takes our music and treats it as a commodity, instead of as art."

    My question is, how is it that trading your music for free over the internet makes it a simple commodity, but selling it for far too much money though record companies and stores makes it somehow "art"? It seems to me that by selling your music at the high prices that most music CDs go for these days makes it more of a commodity than giving it away for free. A CD probably costs you about $2 once you take into account the cost of materials, of manufacturing, of distribution, and of actually making the music itself. That estimate is a bit high, I've seen much lower figures. If you were truly producing art rather than a commodity, why do you charge twenty bucks or more for each CD?
  • Last I heard, radio stations have to pay the big liscensing companies for broadcast of all those top-40 hits and all. ASCAP, BMI, etc. all gets paid...... I forget the price per song, but it's not terribly high.
  • by Zico ( 14255 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:15AM (#1091704)

    Do you think that people really believe that they're entitled to the free use of other people's work, whether the person who created it wants it that way or not? Or do you think that people are just so spoiled these days that they get angry at anybody who doesn't give them something for nothing?


  • by Greg W. ( 15623 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @10:35AM (#1091720) Homepage

    Which members of the band where actually doing the typing if any, or was another person answering for the band?

    Oh, dear. You really believed Metallica would be sitting in front a computer keyboard and reading the words and typing?

    All celebrity chats work like the Metallica one. Why do you think you had to submit the questions in advance?

    At the Tori & Alanis chat (during the 5-and-1/2 weeks tour co-sponsored by it was even worse. The whole room was moderated -- participants couldn't even speak to each other, let alone to the moderators! (I didn't participate in the Metallica chat, but based on comments I've seen it seems that the participants could talk to each other. That's an improvement, at least.)

    I'm sad to see your illusions shattered like this. Next time, you'll know.

  • Lars: Mr Lawyer Guy, here are our answers to the Slashdot interview. hands over floppy disk

    Mr Lawyer guy: opens floppy disk, looks at file...

    This is all a big misunderstanding, dude! Like, we support MP3s and Napster and all that gnarly stuff! We can't get enough of them Britney Spears MP3s! But our label is forcing us to keep quiet about it!

    Q: Are you free to answer any way you please in this interview? Or has your label requested that your responses to our questions be reviewed by their lawyers before being posted back to Slashdot? And if so, did you agree to this?

    Yeah, man! This is censorship! It sucks! We'd break our contract if we could!


    Mr Lawyer Guy (types): Ctrl+A Delete

    Mr Lawyer Guy (types):

    The band Metallica actively opposes MP3s and Napster, which constitute theft of our intellectual property.

    Q: Are you free to answer any way you please in this interview? Or has your label requested that your responses to our questions be reviewed by their lawyers before being posted back to Slashdot? And if so, did you agree to this?

    No. Everything in this interview is the personal opinion of the band members themselves.

    Mr Lawyer Guy (types): Ctrl+A Ctrl+C

    Mr Lawyer Guy (clicks): Start > Programs > Outlook Express

    Mr Lawyer guy (on phone): Yeah, VALinux/Andover/Slashdot? This is Lars of Metallica. I'm sending you the answers to the interview by email. Uhrm... gnarly, and stuff. Okay, bye.
  • by Mike Schiraldi ( 18296 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:14AM (#1091735) Homepage Journal
    If you were offered the opportunity to sell your songs online, where listeners could pay $1 - $2 per song (and NOT have to but the entire album), and have the ability to preview them, and this was all done in a way that prevented unauthorized sharing, would you accept? How about an online jukebox, where fans could pay, say, 25 cents to hear a song once?
  • by Zerth ( 26112 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:14AM (#1091755)
    While suing Napster and such may accomplish your goals in the short term, how will you continue if and when Napster-clones move to offshore servers, thus out of reach of both US and any other country's copyright laws?

  • by coaxial ( 28297 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @08:05AM (#1091762) Homepage
    If your last two albums were entitled "Load" and "Reload", can we expect your next one to be called, "Unload"?
  • by AdamJ ( 28538 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:11AM (#1091763) Homepage
    Your web page lists you as being "somewhat agnostic" towards bootlegs - what is your opinion and stance on MP3s of bootlegs or other live performances that you wouldn't claim any sales or royalties on anyways?

  • by FutileRedemption ( 30482 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:23AM (#1091776)
    RMS: "Metallica justifies their lawsuit saying they think it is an outrage that their music has become a "commodity". Apparently they think music is a commodity when shared between fans, but not when large companies sell copies through record stores. What hypocritical absurdity!" I couldnt say it better. Does Metallica want to stay with the "commodity" argument?
  • by ravenskana ( 30506 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:14AM (#1091777) Homepage
    Are you familiar with Slashdot? If so, what is your impression of Slashdot?
    If not, then why did you agree to this interview?
  • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:18AM (#1091788)
    There have been recent allegations that it was a lawyer or other spokesperson participating in the chat instead of Metallica or that the person answering was giving scripted answer. Evidence to back this up comes from the speed with which some answers came back -- faster than many experienced programmers would type them -- and from their generic irrelevancy to many of the questions asked.

    Which members of the band where actually doing the typing if any, or was another person answering for the band?
  • by akmed ( 33761 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:16AM (#1091790) Homepage
    I'll admit it, I learned about your music through hearing mp3's of it on friends' computers. I found that I really liked your stuff as well. Enough that I bought a CD and am probably going to buy a few more. With that in mind, have you considered taking a couple of songs, a representative sample of your work as a whole, and releasing them online for free distribution? I think you'd really open yourselves up to a lot of people who don't know your stuff and certainly would indebt those of us who support alternative music distribution methods to you for being leaders in the industry. You guys rock, keep up the awesome music.

    -Mike McLaughlin
  • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 ) <> on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:19AM (#1091798)
    MP3's have been around for atleast 5 years. Many people, myself included, have bought CD's because we've heard tracks from MP3's. I bought S&M because of MP3's I've heard off of the album, I also bought 5 other CD's last year because of it. The only CD player I have is my CD-ROM drive in my computer, so I usually do not buy them at all. With the RIAA posting a 12.3% 90 billion dollar sales INCREASE last year, these two peices of information would suggest that MP3's are generating even MORE sales for artists through "word of mouth" promotion. From this information, how do you justify your actions, and how can you even say you're doing it for the benifit of all artists, as your actions would seem to be doing the opposite?
  • by Hobbex ( 41473 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @09:14AM (#1091806)
    Ignoring for now the moral arguments, do you not think that you are facing a sisyphus task in attempting to stop the people from copying information when that is exactly what the information society is all about? Perhaps you can manage to stop Napster, but that will not stop the 330,000 people who you claim have been copying Metallica songs using their service, they will simply have to find another medium to do it in, and as long they are connected to the Internet they will find one.

    The reason that you will find much hostility in this forum against your actions is not that we care a lot about copying music. Most of the people here are programmers and system adminstrators, we make decent livings and can afford to buy the albums we want. But we are also people who live on and love the Internet and the freedom of speech it brings and we fear that the same arguments you use for arguing the end of Napster could be used to force shut any forum where information can be spread openly and freely. We fear that efforts like yours will lead an authoritarian cyberspace, where individual freedom means nothing in the face of corporations and states who decide what we can say, what we can do, what we can watch, and to a large extent who we are. A world where information creator and consumer alike are puppets to the same masters pulling all the strings.

    Those of us who are endeavouring to build the networks of tomorrow have no malicious intent against you, we want for future society to reward and encourage art and innovation just as much as you do. But there is something we love more then art and music, and it is Freedom. If your idea of how to solve the issues that artists face in the information age is to deprive us of that Freedom, you will not be successful.

    As the world turns, technology changes, and society changes with it. What made sense yesterday no longer makes sense tomorrow, and going back is not an option. We do not need to be enemies in this matter, for we have the same goals. So why not call back the lawyers, the litigators, and the guns, and instead turn your efforts to trying to build a tomorrow that promotes both innovation and freedom, creation and integrity? For that is the only way that anyone stands to gain.

    We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way.
  • by pyrosoft ( 44101 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:35AM (#1091811)
    I am an unabashed Metallica fan, and have been for as long as I've been listening to music. I own every single album, Live Shit, imports, bootlegs, memorabilia, etc. I also use Napster. I went out and bought S&M because I heard a track on mp3 first (one that wasn't "radio-friendly") and decided to get the whole thing. Why try and punish me for being a lifelong fan and wanting to arrange my own playlist without a 20-disc changer?
  • by redelm ( 54142 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:53AM (#1091825) Homepage
    Has Metallica been enticed/threatened (failure to enforce copyright) into these suits? Could you even tell us if you were? I hear lawyer's words when you speak [chatroom].

    Metallica is one of the very few artists who retain copyright in their music. Good for you. So it is one of the very few who can sue directly rather than an unsympathetic record company suing.

    This now helps the RIAA because Metallica is more likely to win and establish a valuable precedent. I look for this not to settle. Is that why 10 "John Does" who are unlikely to all agree to settle?

    But who knows? A jury just might decide mp3's are "fair use" (lower-quality excerpts), especially if it was scrubbed Brittany Spears fans rather than Heavy Metal punks. Does the RIAA care if the suit alienates Metallica from it's fans?
  • by redelm ( 54142 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @08:02AM (#1091826) Homepage
    Metallica retains copyright [rare], but I presume has granted an exclusive licence to Elektra. Does your contract oblige you to enforce your copyright? How vigorously? Can you post the terms? Is this the main motivation behind your suits?
  • by imac.usr ( 58845 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:16AM (#1091835) Homepage
    In the live chat, you admitted to not being very knowledgable about the Internet or about the technology behind Napster and MP3s. What kind of research on these subjects did you do prior to filing the lawsuit?

  • by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:53AM (#1091841)
    If MP3 distrobution is such an anathema to the possibility of profiting from music, and MP3s are costing the industry so much money...

    How do you explain the fact that CD sales INCREASED by more than a billion dollars over the last year, and how do you explain the success of artists such as Limp Bizkit, Check D, The Offspring, Less Than Jake, Phish, The Grateful Dead, etc...

    ... all of whom take a very positive view of fans trading their mucic, many of whom have been very vocal in supporting the MP3 format, and a number of whom provide archives or links to archives of MP3s, on their own websites?

  • by cwhicks ( 62623 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:10AM (#1091850)
    With other programs such as Gnutella, Freenet, etc. that are anonymous and are not controlled by a centralized company which you could sue, like Naptser, don't you think that you should be spending your time and money developing your own Internet solutions from which you can profit, rather than trying to push back the flow of technology which will only become more and more difficult to combat?
  • by cwhicks ( 62623 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:13AM (#1091851)
    The fair use law says that I can make copies of a Metallica CD I buy for my own personal use. An example being I copy onto a tape because I only have a tape player in my car. This is legal. Along the same lines, do you think it's wrong for me to download that same Metallica CD that I have purchased, using Napster to my MP3 player so I can take it to class? It's true that if I were technically savy, I could convert all of the CD myself to MP3's, but logically is this not a legal use of Napster, so that 100,000 people don't have to waste time and effort doing this conversion when it's already been done?
  • by cwhicks ( 62623 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:16AM (#1091852)
    How much money do you get from the sale of each CD, and how much goes to the record company?

    Would you be interested in a system that allows you to circumvent the record company, sell your music for half the price you do now, and get quadruple the cut that Metallica gets on each sale? The internet has the potential to offer such a system.
  • by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:20AM (#1091855) Homepage Journal
    Two questions: 1) I own a bunch of your CDs. I've ripped them all and store them on my computer so that I can listen to them at work. I do not make them available to others through Napster.

    Your record company calls this illegal behavior. Do you think it should be?

    2) Have you considered the possibility that you might be able to make more money (and avoid the huge cut that record companies take out of the price of a CD) by selling mp3 files directly to the public?

    It is harder for a person to self-justify copyright infringement for a mp3 files at $0.50 a song than for $20 a CD, yet you'd make more money in the former case.

  • by technos ( 73414 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:28AM (#1091879) Homepage Journal
    First of all, thanks for Master of Puppets.

    My question is this:

    Several file trading programs have become available that remove any central authority (there is no Napster, Inc in the middle of it to remove users or to sue). The people that are stealing your music today via Napster will simply change to one of these and continue tomorrow. No technical tricks (SDMI, non-Redbook CDs) can stop them as long as CD prices stay as high as they are.

    How can you hope to combat piracy when you can't find the people doing it?
  • by G27 Radio ( 78394 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @09:17AM (#1091883)

    I'm sure you're aware that there are musicians that want to use Napster to distribute their music. I'm not just talking about Limp Bizkit either. I'm talking about the musicians that don't have and/or don't want to use one of the major record labels. Do you feel that protecting your music from unauthorized distribution is more important than protecting the newly forming distribution channels that unsigned artists finally have available to them?

  • by Pfhreakaz0id ( 82141 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:22AM (#1091888)
    It's obvious you just "don't get it" why people are upset you are suing napster. You see, napster is just a program. It's not centralized. It cannot, once users download the program, control what people do.

    When someone in the chat asked if you had ever used Napster you said "I've never been to one of those sites." It's not a web site. It's a program a user runs on their computer. They can share whatever files they want.

    Would you sue to shut down the phone company if people were calling each other up and playing metallica songs for each other over the phone, taping the result at the other end and getting free Metallica songs? Deprive everyone of a phone... That's the equivalent of what you are doing now by trying to shut Napster down.

    I happen to know people who use Napster to trade music that is NOT copyrighted or to preview music before buying the CD or deleting the tracks. (Not me, I have a new policy: I pirate the CD's and then send the artist $5, far more than they get per CD from their label. and BTW, I don't use Napster. There are about 5 other methods to get any MP3 you want that have nothing to do with Napster, or web sites, for that matter).

    Thanks for your time.
  • by fprintf ( 82740 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:08AM (#1091891) Journal
    Was it your decision, your manager, your lawyers or record company that made the call to go after the Napster users?

  • by MillMan ( 85400 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:25AM (#1091901)
    I've always wondered why more bands haven't tried an online distribution model, where fans can download, say, an entire album for a few dollars. The majority of the money could go to you. The only benefit to having a record company at that point would be for marketing, but your band has such clout I don't think it needs much help. Have you ever considered this model? Does it appeal to you in any way?
  • by LocalYokel ( 85558 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:26AM (#1091902) Homepage Journal
    IIRC, Metallica used to be very supportive of concertgoers taping the event as a contribution to your fan base. MP3 seems to be the logical next step for expanding your audience and having more people attend your concerts, which you seem to have done quite a bit of.

    Are you simply against the distribution of studio recordings of your music available at the Sam Goodys and Tower Records of the world, or are you also targeting the taped concerts distribued by MP3? What about import tracks/albums that are not available in a particular country?

  • by Raffy ( 89138 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:34AM (#1091918) Homepage Journal
    Hi Guys.

    As a long-time listener (okay, fan, of the group's music, your actions in this case have successfully alientated me in ways that even your albums since Load haven't been able to. That being said, I do not question your right to defend being paid for your artistic efforts, I merely question your methods.

    In your Yahoo! interview (, you claim that Napster "cuts out the middle man." My question is this:

    Why don't -you- cut out the middle man instead? Screw the record companies' bloated marketing system, screw the warehousing distribution juggernaut, and still make money by -using- the Internet and the emerging formats (MP3 included) to distribute your music directly to your fans.

    As it stands, you've taken a hugely unpopular stance, and have irreprably damaged your reputations as being rebellious in the face of The Man. You've become The Man, boys. And nobody is sorrier to see that happen than your true, old-school, die-hard fans.

    I won't burn my old concert T's, but your actions made that previously unthinkable idea cross my mind.


  • by mcrandello ( 90837 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:16AM (#1091921) Homepage
    You have said repeatedly that your goal is to put napster out of business. This despite the fact that there are already alternatives to this (Gnutella) that seem to be so distributed as to render a lawsuit against one central artery useless (as there is none). There is a saying that the internet routes around censorship, and it appears that even if napster were to go completely away, the internet would route around this by completely cutting out the "middle man" you spoke of in your yahoo chat.

    When this happens, will you then go after the individuals who are trading your songs?
  • by brennan73 ( 94035 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @08:23AM (#1091929)
    Many people, myself included, bought copies of your music in the 80s, on cassette tape. In fact, I bought Puppets more than once, due to a broken tape.

    You've said that this is about artists being compensated for their work, but I compensated you for your art already. In this case, buying a CD would be compensating you for the *media*, which really undercuts the primary arguments you've been making. Do you feel that it's right to ask me to pay $16 for a work that I already paid for in a different format? Do you think that at least in some cases, fans like myself may have a good reason to get old Metallica stuff on mp3, especially considering that, frankly, you got a lot of my money already? I mean, is it about art and fans, or is it about squeezing even more money out of people who have already helped support you financially?


  • by cerulean ( 99519 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @09:56AM (#1091943) Homepage
    I'd like to rephrase the above question rephrased to ask the following:

    Do you (Metallica) understand that online music sharing cannot be stopped without fundamentally changing the way the internet works?

    Or: People who want to share music (whether it is legal or not) will find other ways to do it. You can see that a very large number of people want to do it (your lawyers are naming 335,000 Napster users, and this only counts people with Metallica mp3s), and these people will just go and share the music a different way if Napster is stopped.
    So why do you think stopping Napster will be effective in preventing rampant online sharing of copyrighted material?

  • Metallica has accused Napster of commodification of art to the detriment of the artists. The reality of the situation is that most artists in the music industry following record labels usually wind up broke or in debt- royalties with major record labels work out to at much less than $1 per album sold (compared to a $14 profit for the publisher). Ownership of the songs is nearly almost always exclusively licensed to the publisher. Effectively, through current U.S. IP law, both the artist AND fan base will always get screwed if she wants to be distributed: fans cannot listen to the music without paying up the nose, and the artist never sees any of that money.

    Even though Metallica may be profiting off of the current situation, 99% of the other bands are not. Indeed, distribution of MP3's will only bolster sales of the bands that are not the top .1% of the pop-chart barrell. As more and more technology comes out, and more and more anti-independent artist laws (ala, the DMCA, WIPO, etc.), the recording industry will have a very scary monopolistic future, where the consumer will pay per song listening licenses, of which nearly all profits will go to the publisher- who will in turn control content and artistic control over the music. The trend in regulation may eventually turn out like the movie industry- artists are effectively not allowed to create and profit off of their work without having the hands of the publisher and government involved "protecting" the rights of the artist.

    My question for Metallica is, while your suit against Napster may be good for your profits in the short term- how can you justify the long term deleterious effects of the such a lawsuit on not only the indie artist scene, but to bands such as yourself, trying to recoup any profits that have been previously taken away by the middlemen (publishers)?

    I hate to say it, Metallica, but as far as I can see, you are slitting your own throats, and taking everyone else down with you.

  • by pyr0 ( 120990 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @08:41AM (#1091998)
    Following your logic that Napster should be sued because they are the central company who allow for the distribution of Metallica mp3's, does it not also make sense to sue companies who make CD burners? I'm sure there are plenty of people who make burned copies of your music as well.
  • by hrieke ( 126185 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:23AM (#1092007) Homepage
    Hello, I have a question about how you have found the music business side of the industry, and contracts between the artist and the production company. We all know that contracts generally treat the music as a work for hire, which transfers the ownership / copywrite of the music to the company.

    Has this changed as your act became more popular? Do you own your music?

    Also, in which ways do you see technology changing the way music is bought and sold around the world (effectively making the world one market)?

    How about some of new artist who would rather perform and allow their works to stand as art, and if they are payed for doing so, so be it? Do they get any recognition as an astist first, vs. the record company desiding what they think we want to hear?

    And, finally, if you were starting out today as a new band, would you feel different about Napster?

  • by karma vs Dogma ( 126685 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:17AM (#1092014)
    I have read many of the interviews, the chat transcripts, the fan reactions, and other materials proliferated (sp?) around the web, and I must say that a surprising number of users, young and old alike, have given accounts of how they "discovered" Metallica through illegal mp3s, and then made several contributions to their "campaign" or "cause" or whatever through the purchase of CDs, T-Shirts, concert tickets, etc. It would seem that your PR people would kill for promotion like that, especially when it doesn't cost you anything at all. The fans themselves are fronting the costs of making the actualy copies of the songs, and they are paying for the space to host it for you. They are even paying the connection charges so the material can get out on the Internet. Maybe the whole music industry is changing, and you have inadvertently (sp?) become a catalyst for that change. Of course, making such a venture more profitable would mean you, as a group, would have to become more involved in the process. I did read the comment by Mr. Ulrich about "barely" being able to get on AOL. Maybe it's time to embrace the technology that is creating the new world most of us are growing up in (by us, I mean most Slashdot readers). Oh yeah, my question. Do you give any weight to the evidence, though it is only anecdotal at this point, that Napster users have become Metallica fans after listening to an mp3 file or two from a service like Napster, even going so far as to listening to a couple songs and then buying five or six albums, some T-shirts, and other paraphanelia? It would seem that the fan who follows this pattern (I'd estimate rougly 65-75% of the fans do) more than pays for those couple songs he got illegally, and probably paid for legitimately in the process.
  • by jbarnett ( 127033 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @08:02AM (#1092015) Homepage

    Say you complete shutdown napster, they give you a big lump of money, and all napster software automagically disappears of the face of the planet, what then? People will still trade mp3 files, there is web/ftp/irc/zmodem/zip disk/cd-r's/nfs/samba/email all of which can and have been used to trade mp3 files.

    The Internet/networks/computer have been build to share and transfer data, it doesn't matter if the data is mp3/p0rn/top secert govement documents, the data can get transfered even if Metallica, the goverment, a pack of wolves doesn't want there data transfered, it will be, if it is good enough to be transfered.

    I know people that have been trading Metallica bootleg rare mp3s for years, before napster and they will continue to trade these file, even if Metallica can legally bitch slap napster enough to stop production.

    Kill napster doesn't slove the problem, does Metallica understand this?
  • by GrnHrnt ( 134291 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @09:46AM (#1092028)
    I'm a huge Metallica fan. Lars is the reason I'm a drummer today. But something in an interview with James from "Behind the music" (I think) when he was talking about how he started to like the Misfits, when Cliff gave him a tape and they played it in the van all summer long, made me curious. Have any of you (Metallica) ever copied a tape, record, 8-track, CD, etc. from a friend? This is an infringement of copyright isn't it? I don't mean to make you seem evil, but is it simply the scale of Napster/mp3's that is of concern? PS I feel very bad about doing this as I tend to side with Metallica on the issue! Ian Farrell
  • by Skald ( 140034 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @09:03AM (#1092051)
    While this would be a likely first question to pop into the mind of a geek, I doubt the Pastors of Muppets [] are as familiar with what technology is on the horizon.

    Hence, I would strongly suggest pointing them to the Gnutella home page [] and the Freenet home page []. The what is Gnutella? [] stuff is a little hard to find on their page, and should perhaps be pointed out directly.

    It might be well to provide short synopses as well... just in case they, like so many /.ers, aren't inclined to read before posting. ;-)

  • by blackdefiance ( 142579 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:14AM (#1092054) Homepage
    Members of the band Metallica have agreed, through their publicist, to answer questions from Slashdot readers

    Does this mean Metallica is answering questions, or that their publicist and/or lawyer is going to do all the talking?

  • by amphgobb ( 148975 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:43AM (#1092064) Homepage
    My question is of a personal nature. Since most of the world is comprised of people who will work until the day they die in order to keep paying bills, how easy is it to forget what life was like before celebrity-dom? In other words, if you are a megamillionaire, what do you care if someone who makes $300/week gets your tape for free rather than pay $17 for it? Many rock stars/rap stars today talk about keeping it real, but suing your fans because they are trading tapes of your stuff? Do you feel like you have lost touch with the "common person"?
  • by Naggaroth ( 153154 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @10:32AM (#1092073)
    Piracy by students, deadbeats and sociopaths is nothing new and was done long before napster and will continue long after napster.

    The old world establishment is certainly threatened by the amount of freedom the internet is capable of bestowing on individuals and as a consequence they have launched an extensive propaganda campaign. All we read about lately from the government and organisations such as the RIAA and MPAA is that something has to be done about piracy and cyber criminals. There solution is to turn the internet from a place of (relatively) free exchange of information into a 'big brother' network. Essentially changing the world wide web into the world wide prison. Of course this is justified because they are after all fighting cyber crime. Are you personnaly comfortable with the implications of your law suit and the likely ramifications and why is this issue so important for Metallica that it is willing to stick it's neck out so far for what seems in my opinion is the RIAA's fight anyways?

  • by Danny Ra ( 156212 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @09:06AM (#1092084) Homepage

    I first heard Metallica's music on an Ampeg C60 tape, which I still have, onto which a friend had copied "Master of Puppets" in its entirety.

    I was fourteen, and most of the music I had was on tapes of one sort or another. Myself and my friends taped computer games and music, illegally, on a regular basis: this was a normal activity for us. It was how we got to find out what was out there, what we liked. It was how we got to hear things we couldn't afford to buy, and had no hope of ever hearing on the radio.

    It was also - there's no ducking out of this - how we got hold of stuff we could perfectly well afford to buy, and just wanted free copies of. But if that stuff was really any good, we usually ended up buying it anyway - at least one copy between three or four of us...

    I don't need to tell you what that music meant to me at the time. It was the first thing I had ever heard that had more passion, more aggression and more intelligence in it than Dire Straits. It scared me shitless. I listened to it through headphones, over and over, wondering if it was going to recruit me into the legions of the damned and how I would explain things to my parents if it did. It was truly wonderful, life-affirming, life-saving stuff.

    Does this sound like treating your music as a commodity? The tapes we swapped and traded were commodities, sure, and however much nostalgia value that Ampeg C60 has for me now it was one of dozens cluttering my bedroom floor at the time.

    But I had a *lot* of respect for Metallica - the kind of respect that send me out when I had a bit of money in my pocket to get hold of everything Metallica-related I could find, that made me want not only records (dead medium - remember 'em?) but T-shirts, baseball caps, guitar tab books, ticket stubs, samples of Lars' faeces, you name it. The kind of respect that meant I can still play the solo to "To Live Is To Die" note-perfect from memory. And it was the music that earned that respect, not the medium I first heard it on.

    How much respect do you think I would've had for Metallica if a fscking lawyer had turned up on my front doorstep saying "you've *stolen* from these people, son", swept up all those C60s and issued an injunction banning me from ever using a cassette player again?

  • by el platano ( 168074 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @10:48PM (#1092120) Homepage
    I think it's been pretty well-established that online piracy is here to stay, no matter what the outcome of the Napster case is. Thus it definitely is a possibility, that, in the future, online piracy will cause the record companies to go bankrupt, forcing/allowing musicians to work out their own distribution methods. Although obviously in the short-term this would be harmful to musicians, in the long run it would probably be a Good Thing.

    You have stated that you are currently looking into methods of online distribution; you have also stated that you feel that you, as a respected band, must get up and take a stand for your rights. Instead of trying to delay the inevitable, then, and at the same time leaving yourself open to getting hurt by the above scenario, why not act as a leader right now and begin the revolution -- from the inside -- to the paid online music distribution model? If anyone is in a position to do this, it's Metallica. If Metallica can prove that paid online distribution can work with its fan base, then it will have shown that it can work with anyone's. It would entail taking a risk, yes; but sticking with the record-company model doesn't seem exactly safe either.

    Has Metallica considered the future from this perspective and the possible courses of action, and if so, what are your plans in this regard?

  • by Tony_Cross ( 168832 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:14AM (#1092125)
    It follows that those dowloading and exchanging your music are your own fans, so why are you trying to alienate them by punishing them?

  • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @12:54PM (#1092137)
    Have you read the 1989 OTA Report [] on home taping, which concluded that so-called "bootlegging" was no threat to music industry profits, and that it in fact served as free advertising? It turned out that the users making tapes illegally were also both more likely to buy more music themselves and more likely to encourage other fans to do so. While obviously the technology has improved significantly since 1989, aren't we really dealing with the same issues? After all, CD sales are way up [], despite Napster. And you yourselves have credited bootleg tapes with your own popularity - why are you seeking to put napster out of business and deny other artists similar outlets?
  • by LaNMaN2000 ( 173615 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:28AM (#1092141) Homepage
    Are you aware of the irony inherent in trying to control the actions of fans to whom you sing about resisting authority? Do you expect your fans to perceive you differently after this fiasco? How will you react if they do?
  • First of all, let me say that I completely support musicians being paid for their work. That said, I am not going to pay $15 for an album when I only want 1 or 2 songs. In the past, that would have meant taping from a friend's copy of the album. Nowadays, I would rather just buy them directly. I want to pay for those songs. Tell me where I can purchase MP3s of your music. And by the way, some proprietary digital format that limits my ability to copy my owned (not licensed) music for my personal use is not acceptable. My question: What are you doing to make the record companies allow me to pay you? Or how about letting me pay you directly?


  • by Azothoth ( 179150 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @08:45AM (#1092160) Homepage
    What is the difference between the underground metal tape traders you thanked in the liner notes of Ride the Lightning and Napster users? (Other than they're trading different kinds of music.)

    Even as late as 1991, people were exposed to Metallica via tapes of albums before actually buying the albums.

    I think you cared even more about the art back then, yet for some reason, you didn't try to stop the tape trading.
  • by chompz ( 180011 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @07:40AM (#1092164)
    Definitions: Art: That which there exists only one copy of in the world. Produced by an Artist. Commodity: That which there are millions alike throughout the world and each is in no way unique. Which category does music fall into when it is sold on CD's? In concert? Exactly, music is Art in concert, but a commodity on CD. ///...///
  • by gempabumi ( 181507 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @08:01AM (#1092168) Homepage
    I remember watching "Cliff 'em All" for the first time around 12 years ago. Back then, I listened to Metallica and little else. We even had a room in our barn that we called the "Metallidome" where my young brother would play guitars with his friends. I had introduced him to Metallica, introduced my whole high school to their music. Watching them play in a parking lot in the closest city was the ultimate. I couldn't hear for three days and my neck hurt for a week.

    Remember the beginning of "Cliff 'em All"? The band walks into a convenience store, takes a bunch of sh*t off the shelves, and walks out without paying. Their lack of respect for everything was excellent. They wanted to call their first album "Metal up your Ass" but the record company wouldn't let 'em - so they called it "Kill 'em all" instead. Man, that was when Metallica were men - Ride The Lightning, Master of Puppets, and finally And Justice for All ... After that I lost track of the band.

    So, my question: what would Cliff think of all this Napster crap?

  • by Gloo ( 181629 ) on Thursday May 04, 2000 @01:09PM (#1092192)
    I have seen alot of news and posts on this subject, but I haven't seen anything adressing this side of the subject.

    I am prolly close to the same age as most of the members in Metallica. I grew up between LA and SF (or the Bay Area). I was into as much hard stuff as I could get into in 80's.

    This seemed to be a time when bands like Laaz Rocket, Violence, Sachred Reich, and METALLICA were trying to get themselves known. They would spend late nights putting up and passing out the flyers, AND, it seemed that all these bands would distribute their music to ANYONE who would listen. Piracy was a way to defeat the Radio gods who wouldn't play the kick-A** music of these bands.

    In the 80's I lived for the "new" crappy sounding re-re-re-re-re-recorded tapes of bands coming out of LA (Rainbow) and the Bay. Eventually when my isolated spot of the desert (Antelope Valley) got the album, I'd be one of the first to by it.

    Now with napster I have the 90's version of that. There are stations out there that will play the occasional "good" band (subjective opinion), and I wanna see if that was the one good song on the album, or does the whole album rock.

    Nowadays I check out an album on Napster, instead of waiting forever to hear "this killer new band I got a tape of!" then I go buy it in the store. If it sucks it doesn't get listened to.

    I expect a completely good album from Metallica, BUT:

    #1. What about people who don't know about Metallica? (yes they do exist), and

    #2. what about me using Napster in basically the same method I did back in the 80's (with tapes) to check out and buy bands now.

    If you tell me I was wrong in the 80's, then I know you are truly corporate. Don't BS ME MF's!!! I was there, I know you begged people to just give you a listen!!!

Round Numbers are always false. -- Samuel Johnson