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Burn em' If Ya Got em' (08.01.00)

"This one comes with a zip dri..." "Uuuuh, you lost me" An excerpt from my resent foyer into the world of computers.

Oh, of course I own a computer already... I'm very proud to admit that up until 1989 I still had a fully functioning Commodore 64, complete with Fastload cartridge I might add... oh yeah she was a beaut. Back in the day I even had a part in a BBS (Bulletin board system) - an early version of the Internet comparable to a couple etch-a-sketches tied together with a 600 baud (no, that is NOT a typo) string. But now I do believe I'm going to buy a new computer.

Sure I've been saying that since the late eighties, but who could blame me, I saw 286 go to 386 then 4, and 5. I kept waiting for the perfect supercomputer to come out that would require no upgrades and a minimal knowledge of all things jargony. But now I'm going to make that leap because at this point in my life it has become a necessity. So I make an appointment with Uli at Tantalus Technologies and the first thing he asks me, what are you going to use the computer for? OH-oh! Until now I've been filling my head with all sorts of wonderful lies. I'm writing a column for a paper now. My lifetime companion is going to school and she'll need it for research. E-mail is a great way to keep in touch with friends... ahh who am I kidding, PORN! lots and lots of it! HA HA. No, truth be known, I-I-I "Yes Bryan, it's ok you can say it, you're among friends..." I'M A NAPSTER ADDICT! Phew, that feels better.

For those still unfamiliar with this brave new world, Napster is a free "computer service", if you will, that allows thousands and thousands of people to share their music libraries using the mp3 format. Napster doesn't actually have any of the songs (that would be "illegal") they just hook you up with people who have their CD libraries on their hard drive(slightly less "illegal"). so at any moment you could have thousands of different libraries available to you at any given time. Searching is remarkably easy and with decent Internet access. (Come on, hurry up cable!) you could be listening to any song you're little heart desires within minutes. Plus, the selection is phenomenal if you're looking for mainstream artists, but it gets a little tougher when you seek out bands that aren't considered today's best music. That's when you become a true Napster addict and let yourself be taken over by the thrill of the hunt.

"But when you pirate mp3's you're downloading communism!" Ah yes the popular debate. This sudden freedom of information has made record labels (AKA the evil suits) very nervous because they're about to be cut out of the deal. So the battle rages on with a few bands raising a stink but most others are enjoying this new found avenue of exposure to their fans.

At first I did feel guilty about getting mp3's off the Internet solely because I felt the artists should get some money. It was the same feeling I had when I taped a friends CD. Actually it was a friends CD of a friends band. Later the front man in this band (The Papillomas - some fine Nanaimo Rock and Roll) asked what albums I owned of his and I said quite sheepishly, "I have a tape of one of your albums.""Oh well. That's good, at least if you play it in your car other people will be exposed to it, that's worth more than the money I would have got from the CD."

You have to realize that most bands don't make any money from their CD's the only way they get money is from gigs. Looking at it that way Napster seems like it would be an artist's dream. I mean if they're only getting what, 35 cents an album heck, I'd drop a buck or 2. But lets face it, if I really dig their stuff I'll just buy a CD., you get the liner notes in the package the artist intended and it sounds waaay better. Although CD's still don't sound as good as vinyl but that's a whole other rant. Sniff*sniff* oh-oh better run, smells like my CD. is burning.

Bryan is a proud Squamolian doing his best to 'keep on rockn' in the free world of MP3's'


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