Right at the turn of the century, a young college kid starts an online file sharing service from his dorm room. Little does he know he’s about to change the course of the music industry forever.
Episode written by J. Thorn, edited by Eve Paludan.
Recorded at 88.7 FM WJCU studios, University Heights, Ohio.
Audio mixed and engineered by Adam Phillips.
Produced by J. Thorn and Adam Phillips.
All research was conducted at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – Library and Archives in Cleveland, Ohio, with a special thanks to Jennie Thomas, Director of Archives, William Jackson, Archives Assistant, Sule Holder, Library Assistant, and Laura Maidens, Librarian.
Serious – The Tower of Light
Worse – The Tower of Light
Street Smart- Quincas Moreira
Clash of Gods- – Quincas Moreira
Chtulthu- Quincas Moreira
Because For Everything There Is Someone – pATCHES
Cicada Killer- Coyote Hearing
What Is Performance and What Is Not- pATCHES
Lulu Is The Cat I Like Best – pATCHES
Burning Time – Threefold Law
Keyboard typing: M4taiori – of freesound.org
Gavel strikes: Odditonic of freesound.org
Dial up internet: jlew of freesound.org
For a complete list of sources cited, see the show notes for this episode.
McIver, Joel. Metallica: Justice for All. Omnibus Press, 2014.
Brannigan, Paul, and Ian Winwood. Into the Black: The Inside Story of Metallica, 1991-2014. Da Capo, 2014.
Berlinger, Joe, and Greg Milner. Metallica: This Monster Lives: The Inside Story of Some Kind of Monster. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2005.
Putterford, Mark. Metallica: In Their Own Words. Omnibus Press, 1994.
King, Tom, and Michael Smith. Metallica: Nothing Else Matters. Abstract Sounds Books Ltd, 2010.
Chirazi, Steffan. So What!: The Good, the Mad, and the Ugly. Broadway Books, 2004.
Wall, Mick. Enter Night: A Biography of Metallica. St. Martin’s Press, 2011.
Stenning, Paul. Metallica: All That Matters. Plexus, 2010.
Knopper, Steve. Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age. Steve Knopper, 2017.
Witt, Stephen. How Music Got Free. Viking, 2015.
Menn, Joseph. All the Rave: The Rise and Fall of Shawn Fanning’s Napster. Crown Business, 2003.
What an interesting choice. Not the height of Metallica’s career. Not their record breaking Black album. Instead, the fight with Napster. What a definite consequence of rock.
It is impossible to impress on our youth how the music industry has changed (arguably for the worse) and it can mostly be traced back to this. Or at least the advent of almost everyone having computers and the internet – chicken and egg.
I still buy CD’s. I might rip them for my own use and don’t share them with others, but we’ve always done that. My lp’s were recorded on tape to listen in the car. CD’s were the same because I didn’t always have a CD player in the car. In the 2000’s you could get a perfect copy, put it on CD and/or tape and even give a copy to a friend. And it would still be a perfect copy. Not the same thing.
And those that do that are ultimately hurting themselves. They want good music but when a band they love disbands they cry foul. Or if the band ‘sells out’ with a major label contract, they cry foul. Yet, that is the only support they give the band because they have gotten free, perfect MP3’s of the bands whole catalog. Who would continue to do it for free?
And the streaming. I tried to instill in my kids growing up that music was important and to support the artists. I would buy them CD’s and still buy CD’s. But how can you overcome streaming. While we do have spotify, I know they still get on Youtube and listen to anything they want. I asked the youngest if he realized it was basically stealing from the band, he looked confused. The learned behavior is that if it’s there and available then it’s ok to consume it. There’s no emotional attachment and they move on like locusts devouring one music group after another and leaving nothing in their wake.
I wish I could somehow disagree with this, but I can’t. It’s unfortunately true.
Lars was right!
I remember how vilified he was. It seemed everyone hated him. I can relate in some ways. He knew he was right and what he said was right, but no one listened or understood exactly what he was saying. He got frustrated and angry and lashed out, which didn’t help his case or argument.
And I know there are people that still think he was wrong and think we should be able to get any music for free. Not just listen streaming, but have the mp3’s ‘physically’ on their hard drive or CD. They don’t get it – and are usually the people inflating their worth and demanding they get paid for any little thing they do. They would raise holy hell if they wrote music and didn’t immediately become a millionaire from it.
It’s a crazy couple decades for music. The author/writing industry should make sure to learn the lessons and think more clearly about what is wanted and how to handle new situations. I think indies do, and some of the big publishing houses are falling in line.
So true. I’ve never understood why people think entertainment that costs hundreds, thousands (or millions) of dollars to produce should be free.
So while I agree with Lars about Napster and that people shouldn’t be allowed to swap music for free, infinitely, I DO like being able to buy one song. I hated having to dish out a bunch of money to buy an LP or a CD when I only liked one or two songs. The ability to buy a song I like and not have to deal with the rest that I don’t like is fantastic!
My son is an indie musician and has no problem with the way things work now. He mistrusts the music industry because he’s heard too many horror stories of bands being ripped off and mistreated (kinda like the book publishing business). His bands have released their albums on online sites and have made a bit of money. Their genre is very niche, so this works for them. One album did well somewhere in Russia! That never would have happened in the traditional industry. When I ask him about all the music that’s out there for free, he reminds me that a lot of people DO pay for it. They’ll even pay more than a record company would have asked, just to support an indie artist they like.
With all the sound engineering equipment and software, it’s not that expensive to produce a song these days. I gave my son a challenge one day to write me an alternative rock song that would be radio friendly. He had it written, engineered, and produced in about two hours. Much different than the record production we remember from back in the day!
Also, what’s the difference between a subscription service, like Spotify or Google Play, for music and Kindle Unlimited? I pay monthly for Google Play for the right to stream their songs, and I’ve created dozens of playlists. Some of those songs I’ve listened to hundreds of times. Plus, I’ve discovered more new artists than I can count by using a streaming service. If I had to rely on the radio (ha!) I’d never hear a new artist. All they do is play the same old tired songs I’ve been hearing since I was in high school. Not that I listen to the radio much anymore.
Lars was right, but I also think Dr. Dre was right too. Music is now in the hands of the people.
I meant Chuck D! Oops.
You’re so right in that we romanticize the “good old days” of the record companies when they were as corrupt and manipulative as any other industry.
I’m not sure there’s much of a difference between KU and Spotify–except for compensation. Apples to oranges, but I think authors earn WAY more relatively speaking.