Revenge of the file-sharing masses

By Scott Rosenberg

Published July 23, 2001 7:01PM (EDT)

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When CDs were first introduced to the public some 20 years ago, they were expensive. The explanation given was that there were very few CD pressing plants, but that prices would come down as more plants were built to keep up with demand. Unfortunately, the record companies forgot the part about lowering prices after building more pressing plants, and prices have continued to escalate to ridiculous levels. At the same time, the average worker has barely experienced much, if any, raise in income.

Instead of fighting a fire that record companies can never hope to snuff, why not apply a low-tech anti-piracy technology that's already widely available and would garner great public acceptance? It's called a "low-price tag."

-- Bill Powers

I'm a little slow here, but why doesn't an engine like Napster reside offshore so it's not vulnerable to the RIAA? Any ideas as to why this doesn't occur?

-- Art

The big mistake the music industry has made is failing to give anything to fans like me, who have money to spend but are looking for rarer music and imports rather than Britney, Christina, and P. Diddy. If I go into a store like Tower Records or HMV, I'm lucky if I find a single thing that I'd like to buy. The only way I could even find out about new bands was through friends or music magazines -- until Napster. Since I started Napstering, I've found out about more bands and bought more music in one year than I ever had before. The music industry is shooting itself in the foot by trying to squash Napster. I can't wait to see them fail miserably.

-- Jodi Anderson

Scott Rosenberg wrote: "Meanwhile, though Napster use is way down this year, it seems that music sales are, too. Gee, could there be any connection there?"

Here's another theory: how many tens of thousands of people are being laid off right now across different sectors of the economy? How many people are afraid of a recession? Do you think people might be holding back on discretionary spending just a bit?

-- Brian Ragan

Ever since the litigation started, me and my friends have been excited. The threat of a Napster shutdown has caused a massive explosion in alternative companies and helped accelerate technological progress. As a recent college graduate I can tell you that if you walked down most hallways at my school you would hear music blasting from every room from students' PCs. Some of my friends even had full-length movies on their computers. Still, record and video sales keep getting higher. This leads me to believe that, despite its popularity, file sharing still has a ways to go. For now, the music and movie industry can rest. But the music industry has set computer owners down a path they won't be likely to leave.

-- Aurin

By Salon Staff

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