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MP3 and Napster

Artists differ on Internet music distribution


June 2, 2000
Web posted at: 4:48 p.m. EDT (2048 GMT)

(CNN) -- A controversial format of music distribution -- digital media such as MP3 and Napster -- has been the subject of recent headlines and court cases as different sides squabble over the rights of those who make music and those who listen to it.

Now, it's becoming a great divide between musicians, a line of demarcation between those who embrace the technology and others who renounce it as a high-tech form of piracy.

Hard-rock band Metallica, rap producer/artist Dr. Dre and, recently, Madonna have taken action against Napster, a "locker" technology that allows users to trade music freely online. At the same time, rap group Cypress Hill and hip-rockers Limp Bizkit have signed to a tour sponsored by Napster.

VideoWorld Beat's Allison Tom looks at the issues behind music copyrights on the Internet.
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Rapper Chuck D explained his support of the technologies to WorldBeat Correspondent Alison Thoms.

"A lot of people tried to get inside the industry, but couldn't because of four major corporations dominating the record companies, retail outlets, radio stations and TV," he said. "Now they can actually have their music shared, traded and distributed (on) the Internet. It adds global exposure and expansion to artistry, and I choose artistry over industry any day of the week."

Hillary Rosen, president the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a performance-rights group, disagrees.

"Everybody keeps talking about what an opportunity the Internet is, and how we should get out there and be aggressive, putting our music out there," she said. "But guess what? It's tough to compete with free (music)."

It might take an artist like singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman, whose lyrics are noted for their complexity and intelligence, to understand the bridge that gaps the opposing arguments about digital technologies.

"People make music that they want to put out in the world," she said. "They have a way of doing it that is not very expensive, and that would allow them to reach a fairly large number of people. But the other side is that there's the opportunity for people to put music onto the Internet that they don't have the rights to use."

Join us this week as WorldBeat checks in with Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Chuck D. and Chapman, plus Slipknot, Rage Against the Machine and Stone Temple Pilots to get their take on new digital music technologies.

Artists, industry executives debate music on the Internet
May 25, 2000
Music industry says downloaded music hurts record sales
July 16, 1999

Recording Industry Association of America
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