Chilling vision of the future

The other day, Anil mentioned to me a Public Enemy B-side release from 1994 that should have been a single release or at least on a major album. He sent me a copy of it, and after looking around online for info on the track, I couldn’t find much. I was so amazed by this track that tonight I decided to pop open BBEdit and transcribe it myself. If you can find a copy of this track on any P2P network, check it out. Harry Allen and Chuck D had the industry totally figured out in 1994, but unfortunately no one did anything to stop it. Transcript ahead:

Harry Allen’s Interactive Superhighway Phone Call To Chuck D
(added emphasis where I heard it)

“Chuck, Hi, it’s Harry Allen here. I just got your message regarding the Musician articles, and I’m glad you read it, and I’m glad you get it.

There’s just a couple of things. I think one, these are issues that are increasingly pertinent. It’s kind of like a situation where the technology is changing; the way people use information is changing, how they get information… all the options available to you.

…And the music industry is shoring up, that is to say, the people like [can’t make it out]… who has probably been the most vocal about these issues… they’re making sure they are ahead of the technological and legal curve so that by the time anyone in the general public, whether it be Q-tip, yourself, Bruce Springsteen, George Michael knows what is going on, and sees how the whole process is going towards decentralization.

That is to say: you don’t have monopolies on this anymore because the equipment to do it will be available to anybody, just the same way the equipment to make a hip-hop record is available to anybody and a hit can come from any direction.

I think what the music companies are trying to do is make sure that legally, and financially, and in terms of information… that they own, or are ahead of the curve so that by the time that everyone else catches on, they’ll already own enough to make sure that you still have to play their game.

And so, these are things I’m really interested in… and I’m interested in seeing you know what… if part of what is interesting is keeping ahead of the situation.

Of course, a lot of technology you read about doesn’t exist yet, or is in crude form, but much of it is starting to. And the whole thing is — again — I mean at one time CDs were expensive to make and CD players were expensive, but you know, as things go on, the costs come down. And what we’re talking about ultimately is you know, a shift in the way this music is distributed.

So I’m glad you got these things and I’m glad you read it, and it’s something I’m going to be talking about a lot more… trying to band artists together, and I hope that you’ll study these issues… and that you’ll be able to talk about them eloquently, as you do everything else, ’cause this is as important as contracts… um, (laugh) black power… among everything else.

Also… the book, I’ll get that going, and I look forward to speaking with you soon. Sorry I’m taking up all your answering machine time on your voicemail and your beeper, but I don’t have the number for you, because I don’t know how to work your home phone.

Ok, Harry Allen… out. Give me a call when you’re ready.”