Public Enemy mainman Chuck D has predicted that within two years the Internet revolution will have turned the music industry completely on its head and added that trying to put a block on file sharing was like “trying to stop the rain”.
During his keynote address at the CMJ music conference in New York (October 20), Chuck D also introduced the idea of “inties”, labels that were neither independent nor major but completely Internet-based.
“That’s the third level of recording artists, labels, and music industry participation,” he said. “By 2002, I predict that there will be a million artists and more than a million labels all participating in the redistribution of music from artists, and creative output, to the people. It’s the biggest music industry sensation since the Beatles, disco, and rap.”
In an obvious swipe at acts such as Metallica who have taken legal action against the Napster file sharing application to prevent their music being swapped amongst users, the pro-Napster rapper added: “File sharing – trying to stop that shit is like trying to stop the rain. You’ve got some motherfuckers out there trying to control the weather and trying to stop the rain, barking up at the sky, clenching their fists at God. ‘Stop! Stop!’ And you put them right where they need to be, right in the motherfucking crazy house.”
He closed his speech emphasising the view that despite the growth in number of labels and artists, there would be no way for industry bosses to become as rich as before.
“More money will be made in the future of music than ever before, the problem is that you will have a million hands in the pot. Which means that if anybody think that they going to end up getting as rich as Walter Yetnikoff (former chief of CBS Records), you better look at your script, revise some of your thinking – them days is over.”