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  1. No comment box for the main article, so that’s why I’m here. I generally agree with you. Two more points about the file-sharing explosion: First, major labels were caught fixing compact-disc prices at a time when the product sounded much worse than vinyl but sold for much more. Second, commercial radio narrowed its playlist, and eventually college radio did too. “Independent promoters” now dominate both. The industry drove its own customers to the Web.

    “Old boss” contracts often provided for recoupable advances, so artists making the 90 percent of albums that stiffed didn’t necessarily keep the cash. The problem with the music business is that not enough businesspeople understand music and not enough musicians understand business. Which brings me to the current situation: Not only are revenues down, but rock and roll sales are now behind hip-hop, dance-pop, and country. Yet the number of rock bands is greater than ever. Even if the “new boss” changed its ways, most of these bands still wouldn’t get paid, or even laid, and large numbers of them should instead express themselves by playing paintball. I should be in favor of anything that democratizes the arts, but just because anyone can release a CD doesn’t mean they should (including me until recently).

    Strange how so many software innovators started out as utopian hackers, then grew up to be secretive monopolists.

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