B&S STAR COOKS UP DEBATE OVER NAPSTER

Their label Jeepster may be dead against it, but trumpeter Mick Cooke can see both the pros and cons of the controversial site...

Belle & Sebastian trumpeter MICK COOKE is the latest musician to join the MP3 debate, and he said that NAPSTER has brought benefits for the band.

In an email to nme.com, he said: “There are certainly positive things about Napster, from a musician’s point of view. Recently I received an email from somebody who discoverd the music of Belle And Sebastian on Napster. He says he’s a big fan of the band now, and has since bought all the records. On the down side though, our engineer Tony Doogan says that he’ll give up sound enginnering if MP3s become the standard because the quality is so poor – in the same way a painter might despiar at the quality of JPEGs. This will probably change in the future when connection speeds are faster.”

Mick, whose band are expected to go straight into the top 20 with new single ‘Legal Man’ when the chart is announced tomorrow night (28 May), said the reason he has not yet got into MP3 is precisely the slow connection speeds: “I can’t be bothered wating for the downloads I suppose. It’s OK if you have a super-fast connection, but with home connection speeds it’s just a pain in the arse.”

He added that it was early days to say whether Napster and Gnutella will bring the music industry to its knees. “But I rather think it won’t,” he said. “I think most people would rather have physical formats, with the artwork included. Maybe that’s because that’s what I’ve grown up with. Primary school children these days are confused if you show them a vinyl record. I am sure that the same will happen with CDs at some point in the future.”

And Mick lamented the possible demise of the beauty of recorded material on traditional formats: “I reckon that you can’t show off your record collection on MP3 format. It looks a bit shite really, like all those people you knew at school whose record collection consisted of a wall of copied cassettes.”

As already reported this week on nme.com, Belle And Sebastian‘s record label Jeepster have declared that they are totally opposed to sites like Napster and vowed to prosecute users whenever appropriate.

Blur drummer Dave Rowntree also joined the debate, which has turned into a war of words in the States with key players including Courtney Love, Chuck D and Limp Bizkit defending Napster, and Metallica, Dr Dre and Eminem fighting against it.

To catch up on the debate so far and tell us whether you are for or against free swapping of MP3s on the net, or air your views on whether Napster has begun the collapse of the music industry, click here.