Public Enemy and MP3: Critical Issues
1. The use of websites and mp3 creates a more independent music industry in relation to the record labels, but the ability to plagiarize the bands lyrics, etc, becomes easier.
This statement is a myth. With the use of mp3, bands bring the music industry straight to the fans. They virtually cut out the "middle man." Yes, the lyrics and statements are readily available to the public, but for bands like Public Enemy, the record label that accompanies the band's free use of the web site protects them from plagiarism. The mp3 allows bands to put a clip of music up on the web for prospective fans to hear what the music sounds like. This small portion of music does not hold much information to plagiarize from. In addition, the bands who place themselves in the most vulnerable positions state that there does not seem to be a problem with other people stealing their ideas. For Public Enemy, they released an album prior to the label release date, but all of the material had been copyrighted. The point of the websites and the mp3 is to promote one's own band without having to rely solely on a record label, so bands continue to get copyrights as a protection. So in short, no, plagiarism does not pose a large threat on the expanding technology of music.
2. Is a band placing itself in a vulnerable position by showing their ideas and meaning through a website or mp3? In other words, are the members opening up the lines of argument or reprimand for their own view with the freedom of press mp3 and websites provide?
To some extent a band places itself in a position where the public can highly disagree with their stance on certain issues. However, at the same time bands use the internet as a way to portray the thoughts they have on the issues that their music already represents. The websites and mp3 becomes a vehicle for their music in a way that the music industry cannot or remains too slow at doing. Using Public Enemy as an example, Chuck D stated in an interview that the record label is just be too slow to get new information out into the hands of the public and direct fans. So, the website delivers to the fans and keeps them up to date on the reason that Public Enemy makes the music and writes the lyrics that they perform. For inspiring bands, the mp3 allows these upcoming artists to share the music that holds meaning for the band with an incredible amount of people for free. It becomes the most affordable and widespread form of advertisement.
3. By placing the music directly on the web, doesn't the band make it worthless to purchase any of the music for higher prices from record labels in music stores?
The music industry simply uses the web to promote the music. Mp3 files can be downloaded, but they can only be downloaded with the proper equipment. After it is downloaded the quality does not match up to that the store bought albums. There is no guarantee that as technology grows, the method of downloading and eliminating store bought music will become easier. As of right now, the level of quality differs highly and the entire album is missing from the mp3. Public Enemy released their latest album on the web before it came out into stores, but this was used for promptness and to let the fans hear what they were going to be buying. The web becomes a source of information for curious fans. The fans follow the information they are being presented and move forward with the band from there.