"Napster did not last long, two years. But for a while at the dawn of this century it claimed to have 70 million registered users. It spawned a host of Internet music-swapping providers, more than a few of them falling on the dubious side of the law. Most important, it irrevocably altered not only the way in which Americans absorbed music but also their belief system in what they should pay. The conviction theologically held by many boiled down to a single word: nothing. “You have a generation of people now who expect their music for free,” Greg Hammer, managing director of Red Bull Records, a branch of the energy-drink company, told Retro Report. “It’s very difficult to change.” The music industry is not alone in coming to terms with altered realities. As every sentient soul surely knows by now, the “culture of free” — words borrowed from the title of this week’s video — has turned the print world upside down, pushing newspapers, magazines and book publishers into a frantic search for financial safe harbors. With the advent of broad Internet use in the 1990s came a notion that information should be free. Never mind that the gathering and transmission of information can be a costly proposition and that (dirty word alert) money is needed if the survival of, say, a newspaper is to be ensured. As with music in Mr. Hammer’s observation, a generation now believes that the written word, whether on processed wood or in pixels, should come without charge."
Monday, December 8, 2014
Grappling With the ‘Culture of Free’ in Napster’s Aftermath; New York Times, 12/7/14
Clyde Haberman, New York Times; Grappling With the ‘Culture of Free’ in Napster’s Aftermath: