THE MASSES AGAINST THE MANICS?

The fans are unhappy that having been thrown off Napster for downloading tracks from the new album, they have not received any support from the Manics themselves...

MANIC STREET PREACHERS fans have flooded NME.COM with e-mails speaking of their dismay after being thrown off NAPSTER for downloading tracks from ‘KNOW YOUR ENEMY’, and have called on the band to intervene to stop any future legal action against them.

Fans have been e-mailing NME.COM since yesterday (February 7) saying they were removed from Napster after downloading MP3 files of songs from the band’s forthcoming album ‘Know Your Enemy’.

There currently is no official comment from the Manics with regard to the ban, but speaking to Steve Lamacq on Radio 1 last night (February 7), bassist Nicky Wire said he was “fairly indifferent” to music via the Internet, saving his criticism for Napster as a service, rather than the fans who use it.

He said: “All I say is if people have found the tracks it’s all well and good, but the idea that Napster is a wonderful company and does great things is just rubbish, because they are just another… form of American capitalism. They are not a charity, they are a company, and they’ll end up wanting to make money and sell shares. I’m all for free access to everything, but I don’t think people should kid themselves that Napster is like Oxfam.

“It’s alright for me to say it’s great being on Napster because we are on our sixth album and we haven’t got to worry about the money. But if I was a young band and people were downloading my tracks for free and I was living in a shithole somewhere, then I’d be pretty annoyed about it. I think we can be a bit flippant about it because we’ve established ourselves – I think there’s two sides to it.”

A UK spokesperson for the band reiterated that the ban was initiated by Sony Music, and not the Manic Street Preachers. Sony have also not issued an official statement, but told NME.COM they are going about the “everyday business of protecting copyright”.

However, many of those who contacted NME.COM are looking to the band to intervene on their behalf. One fan, Rhodri Williams wrote: “The people who have gone to the trouble of downloading poor-quality Manics MP3s just to hear them a few weeks before release are the kind of devoted fans who are gonna buy the album and singles on the day of release anyway.”

Kristian from Denmark added: “The once so rebellious Manics are controlled by their record company. I don’t think any band in the world has as strong and devoted group of followers as the Manics – which means that 99 per cent of the people who downloaded the ‘forbidden’ songs will go out and buy not only the album but also the singles… this just cast a dark shadow over this year’s most anticipated record.”

R Carnwath said both Sony and the Manics should be “glad” people are interested in hearing ‘Know Your Enemy’. She continued: “Let’s face it – anyone who downloaded the tracks is just curious and most will end up buying them anyway.

“I’m ranting now. I’m angry and very scared. I can’t afford to get sued! The Manics are as pathetic as Metallica!”

Jonathan Daniels e-mailed from the US urging the band to intervene. He wrote: “If the Manics are for the fans as they say they are (and we all know Sean’s a gadget guy), they will do whatever is in their power to stop this by their record label.”

Fan Chris Lloyd had the final word. He said: “The ball is in the MSP court. I understand the levels major labels will go to in order to keep their product secure, but like we saw with the Rage Against The Machine case, this can be overlooked by the band’s reaction to the situation the label puts them in.

“If the Manics don’t make a statement, or say that they are behind Sony’s ban, then I and a few other people will go to Sony headquarters and destroy every MSP item we own. We will be feeling cheated. Eight years as a fan and we listen to a couple of tracks early, and we are treated like this.”