The daftest anti-Napster story so far

Open season on the file-swapping service

Lovely bunch the music industry. While Napster was walking home, they waited at the end of the underground pass, surrounded it and starting heckling, pushing and shoving. Napster offered its wallet, but it wasn't money they were after. No, Napster was going to get a kicking. Having tripped it up, they're now taking it in turns to kick it while down.

How else can you explain the Grammy bosses response to the Eminem/Elton John duet? Apparently, thanks to Napster allowing people to download the song, it's not worth them releasing it as a single. Just look what Napster and its freak mate Internet has done to us, they cry, while cracking another rib as the boot goes in.

The Elton/Eminem duet was shamelessly hyped by the Grammy organisation. It not only brought hundreds of thousands of more viewers to its awards ceremony but its also boosted Eminem and Elton John's profiles and sold a fair few albums.

Since the song was also publicly broadcast, to blame Napster for the song's dissemination is ridiculous. But then Napster is persona non grata at the moment, so it can be blamed for anything.

And what about the central belief that it's not worth releasing the single? Absolute nonsense. The song will be released - either singly or as part of a Grammy album - and it will sell possibly in even greater numbers than previously. Besides, the copies we've heard aren't of a very good quality. If someone was ever going to buy the duet, he/she will still buy it.

And not only does it want to eat the cake but it's after a liqueur in the form of compensation for money lost. What money lost? It reckons millions of dollars.

The major problem with the music companies is that they can't understand the concept of someone listening to music before they buy it. This is how most albums are sold. Record companies like to think that their marketing etc etc is what makes best-sellers, but the truth is that most albums are sold on the back of people hearing songs elsewhere and friends recommending albums. Because people like the music.

For a while it looked like the music industry would have to rethink it's approach to music due to the "MP3 revolution", namely make far less out of far more artists. But with Napster's fall from grace, the status quo has been reinstated. Let's hope that this is only the first battle in the war to make music more accessible to the general public. ®

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