Lance wrote a followup to his napster/artists’ rights piece, where he talks about the future train running recklessly into the night, and it mirrors many of the thoughts I’ve been having lately regarding p-to-p/sharing technology.
The future is coming fast and I’m starting to sense a slight loss of control. Control from creators, distributors, users, everyone. This actually isn’t a good thing at all. For the first time, I’m really seeing something created that people say “hey, you can’t stop it even if you want to.” Like the Freenet creator interview here, he basically describes how he’s built a beast that can’t be stopped to taken offline completely by anyone. He’s essentially built a monster that can’t be killed.
Is this progress?
After thinking about Lance’s media-free digital future for the past week, I had a horrible vision one night: imagine a new Radiohead album that was entirely about Pepsi. Since file sharing is entirely free and the artists have no way to reclaim royalties from digitally shared music, imagine a future world where artists create things that are advertisements in and of themselves. If a musician can’t make a buck on 12 tracks released to napster, they’ll certainly be open to writing songs about products for an ample fee. Is that a future we want to see?
I love napster, and I’ve often pushed the pro-napster debate, but it was always with a “where do I send my money to?” mentality behind it. I keep waiting for Napster or someone else to devise a sharing system that does in fact allow for artist payments, but there’s very few out there now (eMusic seems to be one of the only ones).