Sunday, September 30, 2012

House of M: Justin Timberlake Vs Metallica

Yes, I know I said I'd only continue the House of M series of wanks when newspapers die or some shit, but I just had this need to tell you shit about other shit aside from newspapers and shit.

Once upon a time, if you wanted music, you paid RM40 for a CD or some shit. Before that, it was cassette tapes, and even earlier, some archaic dinosaur formats like vinyl and 8-track and whatever the fuck.

From that RM40 we old people used to pay for CDs, and still do, the real artists who produced the damn shit got like, RM1, RM2 or even 40 cents. I don'r know. Most of that money went to recording labels.

In the old days, labels nurtured talent. Then they perhaps figured out that they don't have to invest so much time and money to do that. They can just take whatever, sell it and make even more money from the transaction between artist and consumer.

And then, Justin Timberlake came, before he approached Jessie Eisenberg, and he made something called Napster. Napster allowed you to sit in front of a computer and share music and shit. Story has it that Justin Timberlake only wanted to move files online from his home to college and created a 'peer-to-peer system'.

See, computers talk to each other using seven layers. ... And then I forgot what my lecturer taught me. But fuck it, right? You don't want to know this shit. There's always Wikipedia.

Justin Timberlake quickly became the Phantom Menace of the music industry. The Metallica dudes sued him or some shit.

Now, Metallica was one of those artists whom I liked, but then decided music commerce and litigation was more fun than actually making music.

When they released their highest selling album at the time - The Black Album - they got pissed off. Even more pissed off and emo than their songs or being rockers. This is of course, based on half-remembered articles and stuff kids talked about, so it is not really something I would say as the guaranteed truth.

Anyway, let's just ASSUME I remember it right and Metallica, or rather their frontman James Hetfield, was pissed off

See, despite the success of The Black Album, they were losing to the biggest act at the time - Nirvana. Kobain just offed himself and grunge was making a stamp - a bigger stamp than Metallica.

The Black Album lost ground to Nirvana's whatever album and Kobain's cross-dressing.

So, they started to become more commerce-conscious. They became businessmen. And they sued Napster, or something.

So poor old Justin Timberlake had nothing else to do but try and make Napster a paid service and shit. He failed, and that is why he was one of those washed up losers - albeit a loser with money - when he approached Jesse Eisenberg in that movie The Social Network or some shit.

However, Justin Timberlake opened a Pandora's box so huge - so big, it rivals the opening of your mother's cavernous vagina - no one could ever close it again.

Two major things happened - people decided they like getting things for free using computers and the internet, even if it is technically stealing, and people decided they did not want a huge, obnoxious intermediary between them and shit they consume, like music. And it was way easier than making a mixtape.

This thing that happened soon went to video sharing, peer-to-peer. Software. Homemade porn. PirateBay? P2P. Even some legit content shops online use some sort of P2P architecture as a base because it works really well.

The creative industry - and by industry, I mean large motherfucking conglomerates - responded with DRM shit. Digital Rights Management which fucks up your life. DRM died a year or two ago, and this brings us to now.

I believe that the future of content trading - the business side of it - will be without big, giant, loud middlemen.

I believe that the days of RM40 CDs are numbered. Or maybe they're gone. I dunno. Last time I bought a CD was at a discount store, where I got the OST for Cowboy Bebop for RM20. Original, CBU, imported from Japan shit, yo!

Nowadays, if I want to listen to any song, I open YouTube or any other similar shit.

I don't mind paying RM1 per song, and if most of the RM1 goes to the artist and not to pay for some ass salad or some shit.

I think the same thing would befall everything else as well - movies, TV series, pictures, news content. Any form of content.

It's funny because it's media content, without the media. Get it?

No recording labels, no TV stations, no cinemas, no newspapers. You pay per piece. Fuck the subscription model. You just go and take what you want. And pay for it.

I tried to scare some filmmakers today, telling them the world is ending. But in truth, it is not. It is simply changing. And maybe for the better. We can make it better. For the artists, the filmmakers, the readers and of course, the audience.

Content can be cheaper, if the medium, and more importantly, the system it is being delivered on, isn't so greedy.

In Malaysia, once you sell content to a TV station, usually that's all you get from that one-off sale. In the States, ONE work you did some time in the '70s  can still pay for your kids' college education today.

Content producers in Malaysia don't usually get any piece of this pie. Nada. Zip. If you write songs, you do get royalty. If you write books, you get some. But if you do bigger projects, you don't get for example, 2.5 per cent of gross, across the board, that was fought by some unions such as the Screenwriters' Guild of America.

I don't see this situation changing anytime soon. It might be 500 years or a few thousand years before our own industries evolve to that stage. But some things are changing. Some media companies are turning their most lucrative mediums - media. aheheheh - into marketplaces. Into the paid Napster services of old.

Ye olde Napster.

I guess when all this is over, Justin Timberlake can still bring sexy back.