This Weeks Letters - 3/6/00

Another Voice for Napster

I use Napster. I support

As it happens, I'm not in a university but it's extremely apparent when using the software that Napster lives and breathes thanks to the student population.

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These students constitute one of the record industry's biggest target markets. These are the people that college radio is aimed at.

Instead of continuing this ridiculous undercover war against the Napster users, the RIAA should work with them. And by 'work with them' I don't mean the patronizing approach favoured by

Napster is one of those rare 'killer apps' for the Internet. I rank it up their with Hotmail and EBay. I now have access to songs that I would never have thought of buying and interest in artists I would never have discovered without Napster. It is the marketing tool of the record industry's dreams, if only they realised it.

Napster will not stop me buying CDs. In fact, it might make me purchase a few more. I can now sample tracks, and if I want the packaging or a higher-quality audio version, I can run off to the record shop and get the finished product.

I cannot agree with SaveNapster's suggestion that students are upset because their universities have denied them access to the few offical MP3s distributed by indie labels. The vast majority of tracks out there are illegally encoded hits by major-label acts.

But that is why Napster is such a smash: it is the embodiment of a technology we all long for. Most everyone would like a system whereby they can pick their favourite individual songs and compile them onto a CD without having to buy all the various albums.

With a bit of luck, the RIAA will see sense and decide "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em". They should invest in the Napster company and use it as a marketing tool. I would even be happy if Napster was charged for: $20 for the original software and all profits are split between all musicians in the industry. Each download costs $0.50 or similar and is directed to the relevant artist. They will also still get their precious CD sales.

The record industry is running scared, desperate to cling on to its traditionally conservative methods. They want to control all methods of distribution. They cannot and should not be allowed to control the Internet. Instead they should come up with a new business model that revolves around those freedoms that the Net allows us.

Toby Slater

$22K per year and I can't have Napster

i had wondered for quite a while why i was unable to even access, let alone the napster program which i downloaded. after reading this article, i now realize why.

my university has put a block on, as well as the program itself. yes, that right...with the free internet access that we have, from our own personal pcs in our dorm rooms, we cannot access any website which has the name napster in the address, including all this from a $22k / year private institution who "prides" itself on our computer and internet resources, and freedom of speech. to make matters worse, the university will not even acknowledge student's petitions to open up public dialogue on the issue...they refuse to entertain any students views at all...

so much for democracy at my university...but thats what you get for going to a private school who cares more about their appearance (example: a $200 fine for picking a tulip) then the concerns of students...

Wish They Encoded the Tunes at 128K...

(Response to story 80's Band Releases Entire Back Catalog on MP3 for FREE)

While I think that pitch-a-tent has taken a step in the right direction, I wonder why the songs are encoded at a crappy 64Kbps, and why weren't all the songs released?

The last two albums are on major labels, so I can understand why they aren't available (which is too bad - these are their best albums!). The stuff that's out of print should definitely be encoded at least 128Kbps.

If CVB figure they've squeezed all the juice from the buying public, then all the non-major label stuff, whether it's in print or not, should be released.

I'd even go so far as to argue that major labels should go ahead and give away 128Kbps MP3's of all their artists. I believe that most people want to own the 'source' for stuff they like. I bet it would enhance sales, not detract from them...

Steve Valin

As for Camper Van Beethoven, you can download their music for free at Pitch-a-Tent records web site. If you haven't heard of them, we highly suggest starting with the great "Take the Skinheads Bowling" from their first album Telephone Free Landslide Victory.

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