Comments from The Outpost

Send in the Idiots

July 26, 2002

by Dan Murphy

Good evening. It has been some time since comments from the Outpost have been heard here on WMBR, but for tonight at least, we are back -- thanks in part to the miracles of modern technology. This is not just an idle phrase. Tonight's commentary was transmitted to WMBR via the internet, as it a great deal of other audio material these day.

In fact, it is audio material on the internet that prompts tonight's rant. Audio, and music in particular on the internet, has been in the gun sites of the big music business for several years now. From to Napster, the details would take all evening to recount and you probably are all too aware of them anyhow. The latest assault by Big Music is to impose such huge fees on internet radio stations, including even the non-commercial feed of stations like WMBR, that they are literally driven off the air. That particular war isn't over yet, but unfortunately, the music mogels have won the past few battles.

Some people think the problem is that the people who run the music business are greedy. They are, but that's not the main problem. The main problem is that they are idiots. They (and their equivalent precedessors) have tried to restrict or destroy *every* advance in technology related to music for the last 100 years, *every* one of which turned out to help them make much more money than they did before. The history is there for anyone to see, yet these people make the same wrong arguments over and over again. If they weren't more stupid than they are greedy, they would support internet radio, and all the rest of internet music distribution for that matter, whole hog (shall we say).

If big music, and the entertainment industry in general, had had their way in 1975, we'd have had no home VCRs, and the video rental business would never have existed. Fortunately, they lost that battle, but the present ones are still in doubt. Although this is usually against my principles, I'd say that Big Music needs laws to protect them -- from themselves.

For this week, that's the view from the Outpost. For WMBR, this is Dan Murphy

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