Forwarded by Negativland.
>This MusicDish article (http://www.musicdish.com) was sent to you by
>at 09:50 AM Tuesday January 30th, 2001:
>=> 'THIS IS THE END, MY ONLY FRIEND, THE END'
>'This Is The End, My Only Friend, The End'
>By: Isaac van Deelen (Diebold Deutschland GmbH) 2001-01-29
>The crisis in the music industry is, briefly, a very wide field. Not
>only because it is losing the basis of its business. This crisis has
>1) The 'Napster' crisis for the business model is the subject of this
>White Paper. Why should I go on paying? A few more general aspects
>are to be mentioned later on.
>2) The crisis of demand: 'ubiquitous listening': Music and sounds are
>omnipresent. Is there anywhere left without radio, whether
>'wireless', by cable or through the Internet, without MTV or Viva
>screen, without easy-listening sound? Is there still any music at all
>that isn't there all the time and quite legally free of charge? So if
>I the consumer, the final objective of the value chain, am expected
>to want to pay, what I pay for has to generate a demand with added
>value of some kind.
>3) The crisis of supply: it is manifest in two forms. On the one
>hand, music has become so confused that the target group has its
>hands full finding what it is looking for. And searching is tiring,
>it wears you down and makes you bad-tempered, and costs the most
>valuable commodity in our epoch: time. On the other hand, and this is
>cause of the one hand, the supply is so freely interchangeable, so
>endlessly lacking in differentiation that the target groups are
>acquiring a slimy coating in the middle ear with all the entropy, all
>4) The crisis of eroticisation: Mainstream music is so bound up with
>our archaic driving forces that it has lost all the meaningful,
>abstract, wordless added-value superstructure of which music was
>capable under Beethoven or Mahler. Tits-and-asses: The arousing
>boredom at least helps us to get a grip on the population growth.
>5) The crisis of the music itself: The current genre is exhausted.
>For 40 years, or let's say 25 years, only derivatives, copies,
>samplers. A crisis of culture, possibly the most dangerous of all the
>crises mentioned here, because it is also a crisis of youth. This
>refuses the intellectual effort, the debate on the laws and norms of
>the future. It celebrates a brainless, decadent, life-long ecstasy
>party, a sweaty, senseless trance. Just no reality!
>6) The crisis of copyright:
>Napster, Gnutella, Freenet - this is how the Lord punishes a grasping
>(music) business. For years and decades the music industry has fallen
>out with all its clientele - with everyone, because it affected the
>music consumers of all shades, and the artists of all genres. There
>are countless instances and still more stories for the crude and
>questionable nature of the music industry's dealings with its
>'content partners' ('Breaking Glass' got to the heart of it with
>Brechtian clarity). If it was only the condoning passivity about
>drugs and drug abuse; if it was only the exploitation of the naive,
>inexperienced and generally uneducated shooting stars with
>unfavorable terms and enslaving contracts.
>Likewise the consumers. The prices for new record issues had - at
>that time, at the end of their life cycle - already been beaten down
>by the competition to 14.99 DM [US$7.03]. The system changeover to
>the CD came just in time. But instead of passing on the economies of
>scale to the public at some stage, a knowing cartel had long ago
>agreed conversely to drive the prices up: 29.99 DM [US$14.06] for the
>charts; 34.99 DM [US$16.40] and 38.99 DM [US$17.82] for lesser known
>groups - as revealed by the (non-representative) city investigation
>Honi soit, qui mal y pense! [Shame to him who evil thinks]
>So much for the polemic, which has only one objective: it should show
>that there are causes and effects. The music industry is no longer
>legitimized. If today's top performers had not stumbled into their
>careers with such unrestrained commercialism, such stupidity and
>simplicity, they would have known from even the most casual general
>study of philosophy, politics or sociology that a structure that is
>not legitimized will sooner or later fall victim to revolt. The
>customers, the mob, the rabble, simply won't put up with constant
>increases in the 'price of bread'. A wicked, cynical industry! But
>shouldn't the topic be treated quite differently?
>The mythical, harmless flower-power revolutionaries of 68? The 98
>ones are of a different school! While the old fighters preferred to
>prowl around the streets, mainly shouting slogans at the tops of
>their voices, the 98 group, the dissidents of the old economy, have
>started a quite different, massive attack on the familiar world. A
>Attack.com, that's today's slogan: it's hardly ever heard, and yet is
>responsible for the air sovereignty over the data highways. This is
>devious inasmuch as a truly uncontrolled gang of revolutionaries
>fillets the terrain on the sly and settles facts, while the
>forefathers are still sorting the past.
>What lies behind it?
>The 98 group, when they were still children, looked at the finished
>world. There was nothing more to do. The houses and streets stood
>there complete, the land was divided up. Why live? Either - an
>analysis more felt than expressed- either you molder in this life, or
>you break out! Revenge! - Children think like that! Revenge for the
>finished world. Revenge for the lack of prospects.
>A - very - short analysis:
>First. The world. The value-added principle. Secondly. The elders
>produce, put in capital and work, make highly ordered products out of
>raw materials without order. Thirdly. They sell these products for a
>higher price than they themselves have paid. Fourth. Over the years,
>decades and longer, the (respective) elders have perfected this
>process in nearly all areas. Really gigantic added values accrue;
>that makes them powerful, that improves their life. This is how it
>looks in the finished world. "You think that you are special, Mr.
>Andersen, but obviously you're not ... The time has come to make a
>choice, Mr. Andersen. Either you choose to be at your desk on time
>from this day forth or you choose to find yourself another job. Do I
>make myself clear?" (from 'Matrix')
>Revenge! Fight, war, attack, glory or death - Revolution! In the end,
>as in all proper revolutions, it's about the money, about the big
>money naturally. Attack.com is a business model that hits the old
>economy where it is most sensitive, and answers a simple question:
>"Where is money earned in the old world?" The plan: "We'll change
>that!" Quite simply: "The price makes no difference - we're going
>down mercilessly!" Pain and success will build up together. "For
>every cent, the customer gets two back!" How convincing is that?
>"We'll make losses - the old people will smile and dream in their
>glass palaces of power, not long, but long enough. Meanwhile we'll
>produce the finest things at other peoples' cost." We call this
>flotation. Once your own pockets are full and the losses are in
>public ownership, you can breathe easier.
>So: "First we get the customers, then we'll fix the rest."
>As in any snowball sales system, the initiators make a profit, so it
>seems as though the principle works. And as in all snowball sales
>systems, new resources have to be found sooner or later. Und so the
>98 group, having a good laugh and "really working hard," demolish a
>market, a business model, one value after another. After the margins
>of the middlemen, the margins of the copyright industry are next. The
>picture of Shawn Fanning, this nice boy-next-door, is deceptive:
>Legal - illegal - who cares? With all the venture capital after him,
>this is how the punk looks when he puts on a white collar. A wicked,
>But we really should treat the topic quite differently.
>The Gordian knot
>With such vicious words, we cannot hide the fact that we are
>lamenting a story of losses here. The old world is being lost, winds
>of change, no use complaining, even if it was right. Bertelsmann, at
>any rate, is driven by opportunistic insights. "If you can't beat
>them, join them!" An attempt, no more, though one of the cleverer
>attempts. This White Paper makes a number of suggestions relating to
>the differen-tiation of business -models and especially the expansion
>of service categories. These are helpful thoughts if it is a question
>of avoiding the worst disturbances with short or medium term actions.
>Naturally, these models have a disadvantage: they advise the industry
>to increase expenditure and suggest supplying more for less money. On
>the other hand: there will be cost savings of up to 80% in production
>However, the suggestions cannot hide the fact that the actual (two?)
>challenges go further:
>You can hardly demand cultural innovation. It comes, or it fails to
>appear. But: one can hope that the crisis of content is heading for
>its peak. We are on the eve of a change, after which the cultural
>production will be at the height of the production conditions; to put
>it plainly, cultural creation adequate for the media is embryonic at
>best now, and it is within the sphere of social responsibility of the
>media -industry - this is the view and challenge represented here -
>to be a supporting influence at this interface to the future:
>Experiments instead of mainstream garbage! Quality, or at least the
>search for a cultural contribution: this is a general framework for
>resisting the signs of the breaking up of copy-right.
>So this is also the second, other, actual (?) challenge:
>If it is not possible to resolve the copyright crisis and avert the
>loss of copyright, then larger structures are up for consideration.
>The creative act itself must (when children become fathers) be
>rewarded; otherwise society is robbing itself of the conditions for
>The concepts and the associated rights have to be determined afresh
>for this. The individual who generates a copyright with an original
>idea must be put at the center of these efforts. This individual must
>be restored in his rights of initiation, creation and disposal. The
>(media) industry on the other hand finds itself in the role of the
>service provider again. At the same time, however, indirect auxiliary
>services (layouters, producers, co-authors) must be qualified and
>brought up to date, where they are relevant to copyright. Altogether,
>it's a question of describing and sanctioning authorship for the 3rd
>millennium. This (at first purely intellectual) definition of work is
>dramatically gaining in significance; arguments must equally be
>included to support the view that the valuation of intellectual work
>(possibly) changes (maybe as fame and honor take the place of
>money?), as well as those that claim (with a diffuse reference to the
>'rights of man') that in principle there can (or should) be no
>ownership of ideas. In this context, the copyright relationship
>between employees and employers should be reconsidered too. Possibly
>the greatest challenge, however, seems to be in establishing
>qualitative relativity: There should at least be some discussion of
>whether it is socially desirable that the copyright claims of a folk
>musician are at the same level as those of a Nobel-prizewinning
>author - still more, that the copyrights of the mass culture
>frequently lead to incomparably greater material benefits. This too
>may be one of the reasons for the indisputable crisis of copyright.
>And because polemic is also a pleasure, just a play on words to end
>with: What is worth nothing should also cost nothing.
>About "Wanted: A Survival Plan for the Music Industry - Napster and
>This 80-page study by Diebold, a leading German management and
>technology consultancy, provides an analysis of the current Internet
>strategies of the five largest record labels and their online rivals
>within the context of the evolving marketplace to challenge while
>drawing a roadmap to the music industry.
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