Charlie Rose featured guests Lars Ulrich of Metallica and Chuck D from Public Enemy in 2000 to discuss Napster, the internet and the future of the music industry. In stunning clarity, Lars saw the grim future that would disenfranchise millions of artists, musicians, photographers, authors, writers and other creators who would have their living illegally appropriated by internet robber barons.
“if the record labels are not making the money, than the internet companies will be, and if they are not paying the artists, they are profiting illegally.” -Lars Ulrich
Nearly thirteen years later every statement Lars made in this interview has come to pass as truth. The new gatekeepers of the internet profit from the illegal distribution of artists’ work while paying the artists nothing, nadda, zero, zip.
Meanwhile Chuck D’s prediction definitely did not come true:
“I think there’s going to be more music sold than ever,” – Chuck D May 2000 Washington DC
But Lars is still treated like a pariah. Especially by those in the tech blogosphere who were wrong then and continue to be wrong now!
CNN: Music’s lost decade: Sales cut in half
And despite the predictions of legions of corporate false prophets there has been no emergence of a new independent professional middle class of musicians. In fact, the complete opposite has happened, there are 45% less professional musicians (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) from 2002 – 2011.
Lars was right on the money, literally.
This was never about art, music or freedom. It is simply a new set of even more ruthless artist-exploiting corporations taking over for the old ones. For example, in the image below Jeep is advertising on one of the top known pirate sites 4Shared via Google’s Doubleclick ad network. Google alone is estimated to make almost $35 billion dollars annually, 95% of that revenue coming from it’s advertising sales. Google is not sharing ANY of this money with artists that it is exploiting. At least in the 1950’s music business you got a Cadillac every once in a while.
As Lars predicted The New Boss is Worse Than The Old Boss.
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