May 1, 2003
We're Here, We Peer-to-Peer, Get Used To It (AKA: RIAA, STFU)
Yes, Jon is right.
Once a new idea has been discovered and implemented in the digital world, and the public has seen that it is useful, you cannot use brute force to make the public unlearn what it has learned. The meme cannot be un-memed, so to speak.
Any attempt to do so, in defense of that which has been rendered obsolete by this advancement, will accomplish nothing but further alienating the public from whatever product you represent in your quixotic misadventure.
File-sharing is here to stay. We're here, we peer-to-peer, get used to it.
For every finger RIAA lawyers stick into the P2P dike today (I mean dike as in dam, Beavis), ten new holes will open up tomorrow. If the music industry keeps flushing resources into this desperate attempt to flee from the 21st century, this is the surest path to their extinction.
The industry can only survive by learning to adapt to this new technology and live in harmony with it. Apple's latest attempt at adaptation, the iTunes Music Store, is a baby step in the right direction. But if they think the public is going to abandon Kazaa (or the other ones I won't mention, so as not to give the RIAA any ideas) for a system that charges a dollar per download, Q-Tip must be right about them smoking crack. The only hope I see lies in charging a flat monthly rate for unlimited downloads, and you'd better be offering a selection of files on par with Napster or Audiogalaxy in their prime.
I'm not even sure that would work. But I sincerely hope there is a solution, and wish the industry would take their heads out of the sand and start looking for it. Because in the long term, noone will benefit from anarchy. We need a system that ensures artists will be justly compensated for their work, I would never deny that this is a legitimate concern. The problem is that such a system has never existed, within this industry.
The RIAA's attempt to portray their war on file sharing as a noble defense of the downtrodden artist is the epitome of hypocrisy. They are fighting to defend a system that is obscenely exploitative of artists, designed to keep them rich by keeping the artist in shackles. The RIAA is basically an association of pimps, concerned about getting maximum profit from their hoes.
So although it is usually portrayed as endangering every artist's very existence, the file-sharing revolution may well bring about the liberation of the musician. Whatever system takes music through the 21st century will have to be radically different than the one that preceded it. It's quite possible artists will find themselves in a much more equitable position than they'd ever achieve under the current regime, if musicians (and the audience who values them) seek an active role in shaping the new system.
Because one way or another, a new system soon will be. The meme cannot be un-memed. And for the music industry, this is your final warning: it is time for you to STFU, and WTFUBYGE.
Your judgement day is at hand in the Court of Natural Selection. Your current strategy, pretending you didn't get the subpoena, is not going to save your ass. You must evolve or perish.
*WTFUBYGE=Wake the F*** Up Before You Go Extinct