Alive and (Sky)Kicking. Tim’s back and he’s talking about Napster. “Napster technology bypasses that framework, allowing us to create intimate connections with unknown people in a series of exchanges that entirely disregards the foundations of capitalist methodology, while still being totally, utterly capitalist.”. Thought-provoking stuff, but how is it ‘totally, utterly capitalist’? Unlike with ratio sites, there’s no limit on Napster based on how much you’re contributing. In fact, what Napster seems to be based on is the old leftist slogan: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, except with ‘needs’ replaced by ‘desires’.
The key thing about Napster is that it returns a sense of community to music, which is terrifically exciting in a sense, but in a very limited sense. There’s no criticism, examination or communication – none of the traditional trappings of music fandom, which means none of the elitism and hierarchies either. This is a wide but shallow community, not a ‘deep’ community like, say, an MP3 trading and discussion mailing list (were such things to exist!). Even more crucial is that Napster’s ‘community’ currently – and for the first time in pop history – excludes the musicians.
I really need to rewrite my MP3 Essay.