IS THE FUTURE ORANGE FOR METALLICA?

A site which pays bands when fans download their music have set up a special site for Metallica fans...

A San Francisco-based Internet company has suggested a novel new approach to settling the dispute between Metallica and Napster.

August Nelson Inc., makers of Orange Alley ([url=]www.orangealley.com), a site that pays bands when fans download their music and encourages users to make copies for their friends, have set up a website which promises to collect money from Metallica fans who have downloaded the band’s tracks and pay that money to the group.

[url=]www.paylars.com is a non-profit-making site that invites Metallica fans to anonymously donate money by credit card for Metallica songs they have downloaded via Napster or other file-sharing software, such as Gnutella. The site’s makers intend to hand over the cash they accrue to Metallica’s representatives. The site has been online since mid-April and has so far received donations totalling a whole $510.

As well as various disclaimers, the site’s home page lists five bands – British group Age Of Ruin, American outfits Condition J, Down Cycle and Uprooted and Croon, from Greece – under the heading “Looking for new bands to support?” All the bands have MP3 files available for download on Orange Alley.

In a page of editorial comment on the site, August Nelson‘s CEO and founder Mark Erickson points out that since the boom in use of Napster in February of this year, sales of music CDs in the US are up by an average of 18.6% on the figures for the corresponding months in 1999. Erickson argues that Napster-facilitated file sharing is actually increasing revenues for artists, as opposed to causing them to suffer financial losses, as Metallica and other acts such as Dr Dre and Eminem are claiming. “Isn’t the real problem that there’s an easy way to GET the music but no way to actually PAY for it?” he asks. “We think that if it’s cheap and easy for people to pay for digital music, people will generally pay.”

The Orange Alley site sells users licenses for tracks or albums, called Bootlegal. Once a user has paid for the tracks they have downloaded, the Bootlegal license allows them to make copies of the MP3 files onto CD or tape, and encourages users to make additional copies to give to friends.

However, they require Bootlegal license holders to give promotional material away with each copy they make, to encourage recipients of free music to come to the site and get their own license and to ensure the artist is paid for their work.

Metallica have so far made no comment regarding [url=]www.paylars.com.