Ep. 1289: Where Alex Winter gets us DownloadedWe're talking with documentary filmmaker Alex Winter about his new movie about the rise and fall of Napster called "Downloaded." We'll talk about the road to making it and all the characters that make up the continuing story of Napster.
-It's Friday, June 21, 2013. This is The 404 Show on CNET. I'm Jeff Bakalar. -I'm Justin Yu. -I'm Ariel NuÃ±ez. -This is great guys. We're gonna have a great show today. You wanna know why? -Why? -Because in the studio, we have Mr. Alex Winter. Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause for Alex Winter. -Hey, thank you. -Hey. -Thank you. Thank you. -Alex Winter is a-- already, we've gotten to know him a little bit. He's a fantastic individual. He's made an amazing film called "Downloaded" which is an unbelievable sort of rise and fall epic documentary about Napster-- -Uh-huh. -and more-- and more beyond that, what Napster did to the world. So, first off, thanks again, man. This is great. -Yeah, thank you. -You might remember-- You might remember Mr. Winter from a movie called Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure? -Yes. -You played Bill-- -I did. -in those movies? -Well done. -And that's why the people screw that up? -All the time. -Really? [unk] Ted? -We think that that's shenanigans. [unk] -So, we're not gonna talk about that. We want to talk about Downloaded, and you know, we watched the film yesterday-- -Uh-huh. -and it's-- seriously, man, not only is it this nostalgic trip down memory lane for people who grew up during the rise and fall of Napster, but it's so educational and easy to watch. -Uh-huh. -Oh, thank you. -I think that's like the most special part about it, is how-- and I like and I said this-- as soon as [unk] I said, "You know what, this movie is making me feel like I-- it's not out to make me feel stupid." -Right. -It sort of welcomes the knowledge that we all have about Napster-- -Uh-huh. -and that's what I really appreciate about watching it, though. -Yeah. -What I really liked about the movie is the choice not to actually have a narrator for the documentary. -Yeah. -Instead of using a narrator, you kind of just rolled clips of old media like Katie Couric, for example, talking about what is the internet and introducing Napster to the world-- -Yeah. -and that really helped with the nostalgia as well. -Oh, that's cool. Thanks. Yeah, that was, you know, a choice that I made early on. I mean, from a-- from a filmmaker-- language sample and I tend to prefer docs that don't have voice over whenever possible. -Sure. -Yeah. -And also for me, because Napster is such an incredibly complicated narrative, I felt like once I started talking on camera like I would never stop-- -Uh-huh. -you know, and then you're basically just-- it's just a monologue. So, it was incumbent upon us to tell the story without narration, which I think made it-- made us work harder to find real stuff that happened that would express the story. -Right. -There's so much great archival out there. -Yeah. -Oh, my God. -Yes. -And I think that adds to the whole aesthetic of the film. There's this weird sort of retro feel to it-- -Uh-huh. -because nothing is 16x9, it's all-- -Yeah. -this old school 4x3 video feel to it. -Yeah. -And it's really only telling the story that happened, what, 12 years ago? -Yeah. -Which is just so much fun to just watch. -Yeah. We were really-- We were actually embraced-- you know, me and the DP and the editor, we really embraced the ugly. -Yeah. -That was like-- It was an ugly-- The internet was super ugly in '99,-- -Yeah. -you know. So, we're like screwed up. Let's actually-- Let's run towards this, not away from it. -Yeah. -Let's like really get what-- let's get the web pages the way they looked, let's get those gummy RealPlayer Windows,-- -Nice. -Yes. -Yeah. -let's see if those look like real. You still like, you know, watch those and, you know, I've been working in entertainment for a while. We'd like, you know, do effects work with them and stuff. You couldn't see anything. -No. -Yeah. -I was like, "Okay, I think I can-- I think I can sign off on this, you know. [unk] -I love all the Winamp shots too. -Yeah. -I mean, we're like-- we were actually questioning whether or not Napster even had its own built-in media player-- -Yeah. -because no one used it at that time there was Napster-- -Yeah. -and Winamp that worked quite hand in hand -That's right. -Yeah. -And seeing the-- seeing those giant scroll that would go across the Windows, it's amazing. -Yeah. Yeah. So, another-- it really was or not-- I mean, considering how recent it was, it's like might as well have been another epoch. -Yes. -Yeah. -It's so-- It's such a coolest thing to check out. But let's rewind a little bit, how did all of these come to be? How did you sort of decide, "Okay, this is the story I wanna tell?" How did you get in touch with the Seans? -Uh-huh. -How did that all sort of come to fruition? -Well, you know, I sort of have always straddled the analog and digital world, both from just like a tech-head standpoint. -Uh-huh. -I dig all that stuff. I started getting online, you know, in the late 80s, early 90s with BBSes, newsgroups. I was an IRC person-- -Uh-huh. -so much, but, I was big in the BBSes and newsgroups and I was really fascinated with the notion of global community,-- -Right. -which was beginning to happen online in a very unstable and rarified fashion, but I was there and I was part of that and I really enjoyed it. I'm also a big music person, you know. I was big in the bands, I was directing a lot of music videos at that time. So, I had a lot of band relationships, label relationships. So, you know, Napster, for me, was like in 1999 -- I guess, it's when they got to the consumer -- was just such like a-- like a blast in the face. -Uh-huh. -It's really hard to describe how size [unk] it was. -Yeah. -Oh, yeah. -You know, the web-- the internet was incredibly slow. It was incredibly unstable. You couldn't really chat with people with any degree of fluidity or certainly no scaling, right? It was like a handful of people at a time. -Right. -And then suddenly, there was. It's like 100 miles an hour. It was fast. It was global. I was making friends all over the world-- -Sure. -in real time. I was in their hard drives-- -Yeah. -which was totally insane. You don't have anything like that today. -No. -It's like, you know, to be literally suddenly in '99, like rummaging through some guys' hard drive in Japan or Russia or wherever it was, you know, going through layers of folders, exploring, I mean, it really was like kind of what certain cyber, You know, writers had sort of said was coming with the internet-- -Right. -Uh-huh. -but it always seemed like goofy sci-fi, something like-- -Yeah, something like, William Gibson in the world just-- -Exactly, yeah. -Yeah. -Yeah, exactly, it was like-- -For sure. -something out of neuromancer. It's like-- -Yeah. -And then suddenly, there I was, like I'm literally navigating in real time through someone's hard drive in Russia. -Uh-huh. -Okay. -Yeah. -You know, so, for me, what was-- what was exciting about Napster as just a layman was it was the global community, it was the speed, it was the ability to move information around, look at other people's information and learn things about other people. That was like crazy exciting. So, you know, right away, the Napster thing became a controversy and the whole narrative change in the media from being about this incredible global community, this amazing invention, these two guys that we're changing the world to, like, it's piracy, they're evil, it's just about file sharing, it's just about getting Madonna tracks for free. -Right. -And like, I got all that. I thought it was valid-- that they were valid. There were valid concerns about an intellectual property-- -Oh, sure. -obviously. -Sure. -Uh-huh. -But I was a little of affronted because I felt like, "Well, okay, I didn't use this thing for file sharing in that way.-- -Right. -I wasn't stealing. I had my music collection nine times over by them. -Yeah. -I bought it 85,000 times-- -Of course. -vinyls, CDs, cassettes, whatever. So, it struck me that the narrative was being bent in this-- in this very dogmatic direction. And then I started really thinking about what that was doing to these two teenagers that had invented it. -Uh-huh. -And so, I set out to meet them and I met Fanning first in 2002 as Napster was really in its death rows. -Yeah. -And he was pretty fried. -Yeah. -And I said let's tell your story. I don't think that, you know, too many grownups are gonna get it 'cause most grownups didn't know how to plug their laptop into their phone line in those days. -Right. -Right? It's very rarified. So, I said, let's try to do it as a TV movie 'cause I think that's who will get it. So, we sold it to MTV and I wrote it as a narrative in 2003-- -Oh, wow. -at MTV. And I met Parker and I met everybody and I did a ton of researches, like writing a magazine article. And then, they stopped making movies and so we went to Paramount-- MTV Films/Paramount. I wrote it there as a much bigger narrative in like '04, and then, it went to turn around and I was like moved on to other stuff. -Uh-huh. -And then, a few years back, like in maybe 2009, I was just so blown away by how messy everything has gotten. -Oh, yeah. -2013 is even messier, right? I thought like in-- having done all this research, once Steve Jobs came along with iTunes and people started buying music online, I figured all this contention was gonna go away. -Right. -I was like, "Okay, well, now, somebody in the business world has proven what we already knew which is that the public aren't thieves, Napster wasn't about stealing. It was this amazing revolutionary convenient, you know, tech service and people will be happy to buy stuff online if you give them a service that works." -Right. -Uh-huh. -But no, that's not the world yet we're living. We ended up in everybody lobbying, you know, missiles at each other-- -Oh, that's totally ship wreck. -trying to break the internet-- -Yeah. -and it's just crazy and the redirect and-- you know, of Napster was just like baked into history is these two wretched pirates. And I thought, no, that can't happen. -Right. -Right. -Yeah. -So, you know, what little power I have? I knew everyone involved. I figured someone's gotta try to tell the damn story. -Of course. -So, by then, I was like I should do it as a doc and let the real people tell their own story and get out of the way of the story and that's basically what happened. -It's a-- It's like a massive trip in itself. -It was a journey. -Yeah. -Yeah, the upside of that was that-- I mean, hey, I wasn't working on it the whole time. I was doing a bunch of other stuff, but you know, I really got to know everybody, not just the tech side but the label side, you know. -Uh-huh. -So, I really learned the 360-degree version of the story which is a fascinating story,-- -Right. -you know. -And that definitely comes across in the film and I think the biggest part of it-- the biggest takeaway that I got was just-- I guess, it was sort of, you know, multifaceted, right? A, you have a technology that was just way ahead of its time-- -Uh-huh. -that people, for the most part-- the people in power who were deciding the rules back and just didn't understand it. -Right. -And I think that comes across in the doc as well. -Uh-huh. -And I think a lot of it-- And that sentiment, I think, is echoed in just-- not just in lawmaking with [unk] in that sort of stuff, but with the government and how a lot of the-- you know, I was watching Bill Maher the other day and he was saying there's all these old senators who just-- -Uh-huh. -are in their late 80s and they're making policies about things that aren't really affecting them at all and it just seems to me -- and I want you to speak on this -- do you think a lot of it is just this generational gap that we're just-- there's just two sides that just aren't gonna be able to have civil discourse? -Yeah. I think that there's a lot of gaps. -Yeah. -I think that-- You know, I think the people have asked me, like, what the biggest thing was that I learned making the doc 'cause I did know so much about it going in. I think the biggest thing that I learned making the doc is that it isn't just you-- I always thought of Napster as primarily a youth revolt. -Okay. -Uh-huh. -You know, I always thought of Napster as like a bunch of kids who were really brilliant came along and spoke for the youth consumer and said, "No. Actually, this is how we wanna get our media. This is how we wanna consume and move media. -Uh-huh. -Your system doesn't work for us anymore. We're gonna change it. Thank you very much." -Uh-huh. -Uh-huh. -That certainly what happened on a certain level and that's also been, you know, flatly protested, denied, and criminalized by the powers that be, but that is what happened basically. They weren't just a bunch of pirates. They just wanted things a different way and they made that happen. But then there's another divide and that's a cultural divide. And there are-- there's a-- there are young people who hate this stuff too,-- -Yeah. -you know, and I think that what you have is a resistance to new technologies that crosses age barriers. I think that it's-- unfortunately, it's not just like once this whole wave of older people are not in power anymore. A bunch of, you know, technology-loving young people are gonna show up and like create good legislation for the net. Unfortunately, I don't think that's gonna happen. I think that's why we have such a torn apart world right now-- -Sure. -as I think that you do have a lot of people in all ages groups that don't like new technology-- don't understand new technology, don't wanna understand new technology-- -Uh-huh. -and just feel like they're going to cling to what they view as the old world no matter what. -Uh-huh. -And I think that's really sad,-- -Of course. -you know. I think it's a sad as the-- as the people on the new technology side that, you know, don't wanna do-- don't wanna be in business with old technologies, like, you know, I think that's a problem too. All right. I think the artists are getting kind of left out in the cold because some of the new digital systems don't give them any compensation at all. -Right, yeah. -Right? And they're like, well, they don't get any artist development anymore, they don't get any compensation anymore. And so, I think that there's problems on both sides, but I do think, unfortunately, you know, we're a long way away from resolution. Like I really, you know, was concerned at one point when I started working on the doc 'cause, like, well, maybe, it's too late to tell a Napster story and then, as soon as I got involved, I was like it might still be too early-- -Oh, yeah. -for a Napster story. I was like I still think most people don't have the slightest-- -Yeah. -effing idea-- -Oh, yeah. -what happened, what any of it means, how we get through it all, and everyday, there's some new wacky stuff going on in legislation either on the government side or the entertainment industry side or wherever that makes no sense-- -Yeah. -in terms of how the internet works and you're just like, "Really? -Yeah. -Don't you even just have an intern that could come in and explain, I mean-- -It could be a fresh course. -for free." -Yeah. -You know, for free, the NSA could get someone show up and go, "Actually, here's how decentralized file systems were. -All right, yeah. -So, what you're doing actually makes no sense. Thank you, Mr. 19-year-old and go back to school now." -It's amazing and-- -Yeah. -and it's not just with the-- it's every sort of element of everyday life. -Yeah. -It's affected by that even from banking to the whole, like, you know, I bring this example up all the time, like, dad doesn't wanna give his credit card out online. Now, you're stuck in this old school mentality of, like, look-- -Uh-huh. -it's gonna seep out through the tubes and end up in some, you know, identity thieves pocket or something like that. -Right. -Yeah. -And it's just this-- not inability but, you know, people get stuck in their ways and it's just a human nature sort of things. -Yes. -I also think that the people just still don't understand the concept of a peer-to-peer network versus piracy. -Right. -And Napster was something that was created to share files, not necessarily pirated illegal files-- -Right. -but that was also something that was really interesting about the movie too and I didn't know there's about the court case either. Is that at all came down to a memo that Sean Fanning accidentally-- -Parker. -I'm sorry, Sean Parker accidentally released when he was younger. -Yeah. -And it was sort of an admission of guilt that, you know, maybe, our users need to be protected unanimously because what they're doing might not be legal and if you don't want them to get tracked down later on. -Yeah. -But, you know, when I was-- when I was watching that, I was thinking what was the original motive to start Napster, I mean, at least the outward facing motive? Was there an alibi that the creators had for starting it? I mean, they sort of knew-- we all knew that what we were doing was illegal, right? I mean that-- we have to admit that to ourselves. At least, for me, when it started-- when it came out, I was hoarding MP3s like crazy. When I first learned about it, I must have sat on my computer for two weeks-- -Yeah. -'cause I knew that what I was doing could not-- there's no way that this was going to be able to last. You know, it was like the vault doors on a bank had been blown open. -Right. -There's no one around for us to-- -And it was just money. -be caught by and there was just money out. What are we supposed to do? And everyone kind of looked around for a little bit and then they started snagging everything. -Yeah. -It's like I had things going for days, -Yeah. -you know. And so I knew and I think a lot of my friends knew what we were doing was not legal-- -Yeah, I mean-- -enough to do-- enough to hoard like that. So, in terms of the founders, what are the Seans think that Napster was gonna be doing? -Well, here's my-- here was my perception of it from those days-- -Yeah. -and even when it first showed up, this was my perception of it and I think it's why Fanning and I hit it off. It was like-- like I said I-- At first, all I have was my experience and because I'm a little older than you guys, I wasn't using Napster to hoard music at that point 'cause I had all my music already. -Right. -Right. -Yeah. -You know what that means? So-- And also, I came from a culture where we did buy stuff tradition-- in the traditional means. -All right. -So, like, for instance, I honestly did and I know I don't speak for everyone. I'm not trying to make some, you know, case for Napster-- -Yeah. -but in my personal experience, I bought way more music during the Napster Window than I ever had before since-- -Right. -and there's data that supports that. -Right. -They're-- absolutely because it was my whole-- I was like-- I was a little older, so I was like I was really set in my ways as to what I have listened to, so-- -Right. -but because Napster offered me everything, I could go, "Wow, I haven't listened to, you know, The Smiths in a really long time." -Sure. -And I was like, "I would pull the whole catalog now." And then I was like, "I'd wanna go buy it"-- -Right. -Right. -you know, especially 'cause the quality of MP3s were pretty crappy. -Yeah, for sure. -Sometimes, they would break up and it's like-- -It takes forever. -Yeah, they would take forever. You couldn't index them, like, you know, they were all weirdly labelled, so you'd end up with you know, basically porn titles all over your-- -Yeah, yeah. -And it was-- it a mess, right? So, it wasn't really a clean consumer experience. So, for me, I did buy a lot of music. You know, I think that, for Fanning, what I love about him is the purity of his vision, and you know, I was struck by the purity of that vision myself when I first saw Napster like my instinct wasn't, "Oh, it's a stealing machine." -Uh-huh. -My instinct was, "Wow, somebody finally figured out global community that works." -Right. -Uh-huh. -Yeah. -That was the very first thought that popped into my head. -Sure. -And when I met him, that's what I said to him and he was like, "Well, yeah, that's all I really care about." He goes, "Music was a delivery system for me. That was a way to get people to come to the community." -Uh-huh. -And that's what Shawn does. Those were the kinds of companies he builds. That's how he thinks as an entrepreneur and as a tech designer. So, it's not disingenuous. I mean, there are a lot of people still who-- they will thump the table and scream 'til they're red in the face, you know, how dare you make a Napster movie and give these guys any exposure and look how disingenuous they are. They're just saying their vision is BS. All they wanted to do is steal. It's like that's absolutely not true. -It's terrible. -It may bother you,-- -Yeah. -Right. -you know, that it isn't true. It may-- You may, you know, feel better at night thinking that they're just pirates because what they did was so outside the law,-- -Uh-huh. -but that wasn't their vision,-- -Right. -that wasn't their motive, and at the end of the day, that wasn't the contribution they made to our society and most of us had a moment. When you have a big giant rock in the water of evolution, -Uh-huh. -obviously, it's not gonna be like a handshake from one-- -No. -system to the next system. -Right. -I'm sorry, it's just not-- you know. There were guys that made horse and buggies that got really screwed by the automobile. -Right. -Right. -You know? -Oh, yeah. -And it's like-- And the people who, you know, walked ice door to door didn't want refrigerators to get sold, right? -Uh-huh. -So, evolution hurts? -It does. It's painful and it causes problems and it causes problems across the board, but you can't criminalize the people who create new systems-- -Right. -because you don't like the new systems and that's my position on it. Oh, until then, I think our generation would totally agree. I think, for me, personally, and this is mostly unique situation that people that I guess are exactly my age, I'm 31 right now. When I-- when Napster hit, I was a freshman in college. -Yeah. -Okay. Copal. -Copal. -Okay. -So, this is so-- this is that sweet spot and I had actually started working for a startup in '99 and they had a T1. Okay. -Wow. -So, I'm-- So, in '99, I'm already-- I'm like, "Okay. This is something special that's happening right now." -Uh-huh. -And you could tell it. And that was the thing and like you knew that these guys, they-- number one, they changed the freaking world forever. -Yeah. -There's no doubt about that. They built the roads and then the people that traveled on these roads, you know, did what they did and that evolution led to the, you know, sort of, you know, spin that it was just this pirating machine. But when I got to college, like, it was so brand new and you're talking to doc about how, you know, college networks had a throttle of the bandwidth-- -Yeah. -because of how much downloading was going on. This was just open-- -Yeah. -and people-- you know, not even the whole school knew about it 'cause it was so new and so sort of fresh and you can tell like, "Okay, something insane is happening right now." And to Justin's point, yes, there was that, "Oh, my God, this is not gonna be around forever-- -Uh-huh. -like there was this-- -Yeah. -sort of like the time is running out, grab what you can and then it's gonna be gone. But I think, you know, just being in that really unique situation of like, "Oh, my God,-- -Uh-huh. -this is" and I think Napster really exploded because it was the sort of starter broadband, right? -Absolutely. -Like, a net was such a key one-two, punch-- -Yeah. -you know, because that people who are using dial-up to get it, it was-- it was a painful experience. -Yeah. -You were waiting awhile, but the second, all those green dots showed up. -Yeah. -And you knew, "Oh, my God, people have cable, people have-- -Yeah. -you know, DSL. -[unk] -Yeah. You could see many bars moving on all at once quickly. -Oh, yeah. -Then it just hit-- -You know. -and it was over. -Yeah. -You know, from a hardware perspective, a lot of things came out in those-- like in that time. I think it was 2001 when the first iPod came out-- -Yeah. -and that helped it along. -Oh, yeah. -I remember CD burners were just starting to get popular too around the time Napster came out. -But it wasn't unintentional or accidental either. There was a lot of data to support that Napster was helping to drive the spread of-- the consumer spread of broadband, the consumer spread of CDR sales-- -Right. -and obviously the-- all of these music players to play MP3-- -Right. -were coming about because so many people had so many MP3s. -For sure. -Uh-huh. -You know-- So, you know, from a business standpoint, it was a-- you know, there's a really big laugh in the movie when Brandon Barber says, you know, that Napster was just amazing consumer experience. People like, "Well, it wasn't for consumers. It was just for thieves," but that's not true. -Right. -It was for consumers, but they were-- there were spending on a different-- on a different corner of the marketplace than they were before. -It was just the-- It was a vessel. -Exactly. -Yeah, yeah. -Exactly. So, suddenly, the content became something that you were getting for free and you were buying stuff to support that content which is a big shift in the way that business was being done, which Steve Jobs had the foresight to realize he could capitalize on-- -Sure. -and did to the strength of Apple today, you know, inarguably. But you know, for the record industry, just as inarguably, it was a huge slap in the face because it ran completely counter to the way they ran their business. -Right. -Uh-huh. -You know, it was a-- it was a 180-degree turn. -Uh-huh. -But it's funny how they decided to take a strategy to punish the consumers when that new technology came out. I remember Sony had these CDs that they're sort of putting their music on CDs, that if you put them into a burner, I guess they would sort of mess with your computer if you tried to-- -That's right. -burn it or if you tried to-- -It was like-- It was like DRM. -Yeah, I think they put like on it because they knew that CD readers,-- -Right. -they automatically read data first, and usually, you couldn't put it into a burner. But things like that and suing their customers, do you think that if they had gone the reverse way and support the Napster, maybe put previews of their music out, 30-second snippets or whatever, that we wouldn't have had-- they wouldn't have been embroiled in this controversy and all the court cases where everyone lost money? -Yeah. -Right? And the doc talks about how no one really made profits on any of the court cases. -That's correct. Yeah, it was a huge loss for all concerned. -Uh-huh. -Yeah. -You know, it's really-- it's too easy to play Monday morning quarterback. -Oh, yeah. -Yeah. -You know what I mean? I think that it's just too easy, like, I talked to Cary Sherman about this who runs the RIAA. I mean, just think about what that must have been like to be sitting in the RIAA when this thing hit. -Yeah. -Yeah. -You know what I mean? You're at one scene they described as so cool. -Yeah. You wanna trade organization for five or six competing massive companies out whom aren't friendly with each other. -No. -They're all like trying to like, you know, outdo each other. -Yeah. -And then, out from underneath them, this thing just basically reroutes their business model. You know, I think it's-- I can't imagine in what universe they ever could have turned that truck around on the highway-- -Right. -and just started driving the other direction. -Oh, no way. -I think that-- I just think there's no way out of fairness to them. It's like, you know, should they have sued their own customers? That was probably a bad idea. They kind of caught that as being a bad idea fairly quickly and stop doing it,-- -Right. -you know, but by the same token, you know, I don't-- I don't see that what the-- I think that labels made some mistakes, but out of fairness, I think the overall response was to try to quickly educate the public that taking these vast amounts-- quantities of music offline for free was gonna hurt everybody. -Uh-huh. -Uh-huh. -I think they were in a desperate attempt to scream that through the megaphones as loudly as they possibly could, you know, and I think that, you know, in retrospect, you have to almost just let these things take a natural course-- -Uh-huh. -and they do take a natural course. I think that my response to what you're saying about-- like to the average college kid in '99 sitting in front of their computer, pulling all those music down for free, they were all gonna at one point say to themselves, you know, "Is this against the law?" -Right. -Right. -And then the next thing is gonna happen which is that, do any-- like I still have the same albums, cassettes, and CDs I had from-- I don't-- I don't have any of my Napster era drive MP3s anymore-- -Yes. -Yeah. -Right. -'cause they were disposable. -Right. -Right. -Yeah. -They were-- They were poor quality, unstable, badly labeled. So, what it--what it-- what it did to most of those college kids which is what I think is where people the day who still criminalize those people that really got it wrong is it interested them and music. -Right. -All it did was engaged them with music and then they moved past that 'cause who wants to be moving crappy MP3 files around and I'm sorry, but the Torrent community, for the most part in music, is a fairly rarified wing of the world-- -Sure. -and the people who have the tech savvy and desire to spend that much time trying to pull Torrents together are their own animal. -Right. -You know, most consumers don't know how to even make a Torrent file. -Show much less use BitTorrent. -Right. -So, you know, I think for the most part, it was really a massive promotional tool-- -Right. -and just created a future consumer for music. -Uh-huh. -Well, to your point, yes, I do think Torrents are over the head of the vast majority of people, but there is this sort of-- I do think it is becoming maybe a little easier for people to do some sort of nefarious activity on the direct download sites. I think that's becoming kind of an issue-- -Yeah. -in its own right. I mean, obviously, this is totally-- it's in the vein of the, you know, sort of maniacal view at Napster. What do you think about the proliferation of that sort of stuff? And where does that play out? -I think that there's always been piracy, you know. -Sure. -I think that technology has created problems as it's created solutions and ways forward. There's no-- You can't deny that. -Uh-huh. -You can't deny that people stealing vast quantities of media wherever they're stealing it from in 2013 is both unnecessary and damaging. -Right. -You know, like I got a 14-year-old kid. You know, we grew up even-- You know, I'm significantly older than you guys, but we still grew up in the same era in that, for us, for a moment, content was free. -Right. -Right? And there was no consumer experience that was better than free. -Right. -Right. -That's not the world we live in today. -Right. -There are many, many, many services who are getting your content online through a paid version whether it's ad revenue subscription service or just buying it from iTunes, you know, on a case per case basis. There's no reason to steal stuff. -Uh-huh. -Right? So, if you're stealing stuff, if you're pulling all those stuff down the day and you're not asking yourself hard questions, I think that-- I think, you know, and this is maybe Pollyannaish, I think that we will see a continually diminishing amount of people who pirate-- -Uh-huh. -because most people don't wanna steal. -Right. -It's the reason that most people-- we have a highway where people drive around on the freeway, and everyday, people don't just like wheelie nearly crash their car head first into someone else just for fun. -Right. -Like, for the most part, human nature tends to be fairly straight and narrow. -Sure. -Uh-huh. -So, I think that it will-- it will-- we're still sort of the supernova just blew up and we're still dealing with the aftermath of that-- -Right. -but I think it will settle into a place which was very similar to the world that we were in before where there was-- you know, there's vast amounts of piracy in Asia before there was downloading,-- -Yeah. -you know, people ripping DVDs and CDs and stuff. -Sure. -It's gonna settle back into that where you do have a piracy community that we'll have to deal with, but the average consumer will be very happily-- -Right. -buying stuff or using subscription services because-- you know, even if they're not morally upright, because the quality is better. -Yeah. -Uh-huh. -You know, because it's consistent-- -Right. -'cause you know what you're gonna get and you don't have to like-- -Exactly, right. -go few back channels to find something that looks like crap or-- -Exactly. -is it what you want or gets you arrested. -Yeah. I think that's a great point. I mean, the reason why Napster was so popular was not only because it was free, but because it was so easy. And I think very few things have come along since then if you wanted to get music that has been easier than that experience until, I would argue, Spotify, right? Like, where you wouldn't have to have hard drive that you pay for and then transfer back and forth-- -Sure. -in order to get that extra space. It all exists out there now, so that's why people love Spotify so much, the one time payment, and that-- I think that's the only thing that's been easier than Napster since that came out. -Yeah. Spotify gets mentioned towards the end of the doc,-- -Yeah. -what do you-- how do you feel about that now? -Well, Spotify is what I use,-- -Yeah. -Yeah. -you know. I use Spotify because I'm old, so I like albums. Yeah. -Yeah. -You gotta be. -So, like for me, I wanna hear all of a Pink Floyd album. -Got you. -Yeah. -You know what I mean? I don't want just hear the part where it cuts off in the middle of it 'cause it'll all actually suppose to work together. -Yeah. -So, you know, I migrated away from the singles-- [unk] single as fastest as technology would allow me to do it. -Right. -Uh-huh. -I stopped downloading. You know, I wasn't downloading stuff that-- like MP3s. By the time iTunes came along, that was the end of me downloading,-- -Yes. -like I was downloading stuff up until then because it was convenient-- -Right. -and because it was like, "Oh, I wanna hear like, you know, a live version of this Stones' song from-- you know. Type it in band, there it is." -Right. -Now, pretty much, you can find that stuff through legal means and you have been able to for 10 years. -Uh-huh. -You know, Wolfgang's Vault and all these other really cool online communities. iTunes obviously is great and has a much more robust selection than they used to. So, between iTunes and Spotify, for me, and it's just my consumer opinion, I get everything that I need and like my-- like I said, my kids sort of the point I was raising before, you know, my 14-year-old who's a big music fan and is a big tech head didn't grow up in the music for free era. -Yeah. -And I think-- You know, I tried to explain it to friends of mine in the movie business and the music industry, like, you know, you guys can calm down a little bit. You know, most of the generation that's growing up now, they know that they should buy stuff. -Right. -Uh-huh. -You know what I mean? If I was 14 and Napster was around-- -Yeah. -I would be buying anything. -Yeah. -Okay. So, it's like-- it's not that we don't live in that era anymore. My kid know-- he's got a Pandora account. It's really cheap. He loves Pandora, that's his thing. -Right. -Uh-huh. -You know, he goes to iTunes if he wants to get something quick and he grabs it whether it's visual or audio or whatever. -Right. -It's a different generation, you know, and I think that the other thing that will happen is new solutions are gonna come from those generations because, again, you know, we aren't a generation-- this isn't a generation of criminals. This is a generation that are starting to find new ways forward, so they're gonna be finding ways to make the consumer experience even better. -It's interesting that you talked about the way that you listen to albums all the way through and I think that's another thing that Napster totally changed with us. And with me, personally, it changed the way that I listen to music. I remember when it all came out and I would just have gigs and gigs of music that I'd hoarded. And you know, listening to all that music is impossible to pay attention to it thoroughly until I would have this paradox of choice, right? Where I would listen to music for maybe 15 seconds per each song. If I didn't like that 15 seconds, forget it. -Really? -There is a whole other library of music out there that I can listen to, you know, just jump on to the next thing. And that, for me, kind of created the death of listening to albums. -Uh-huh. -'Cause before I would-- it would be this immersive experience where I would go out to the CD-- you know, to the CD store, I'd go out to Sam Goodyear or something. -Yeah. -I would buy CD, come home, and listen to the entire album all the way through. After that, it was a generation-- -With the lyric book? -Yeah, exactly. And after that, it was like, "Well, I don't like this. What else can I get out there?" -Yeah. -It's so easy. -That's a shock of the new thing,-- -Yeah. -you know, like, the shock of the new for us that we're around during Napster that again is something that is not gonna repeat itself in our lifetime probably, so not in that area. -Uh-huh. -You know what I mean? No one wants robots to take over the world, but you know, it's hard to describe it. So, I think that for a lot of us, you know, there's so many horrible corporate buzzwords now, like bulk viewing-- -Yeah. -bulk content,-- -Yeah. -Yeah, right. -you know, binge viewing-- -Yeah. -listening. And I think that a lot of us ended up binging because there was so much content available. -Yeah. -I think that the-- that the upside to that and there were many, many upsides is that-- is that it did kind of blow your mind open to all different kinds of music, and once your own dust settled, you ended up self-curating. -Yeah. -You were like, "I kind of dig this. This was like cool for a minute, but I don't really-- and then you get back into the immersive experience-- -Right. -that you're talking about. And the techno, I mean, that's something that Sean Parker-- you know-- you know, I talked to Sean a lot about this, and you know, his participation in Spotify, and obviously, he came along after it premiered, but he was a big part of its US launch-- -Sure. -and the US launch was mostly about making deals with the labels-- -Uh-huh. -and getting a lot more content on Spotify. And Parker felt very vindicated doing that because it was all the deals he was trying to make back in the Napster era and couldn't. And now, he was finding, a lot more doors were open right up until Metallica put their whole catalog on Spotify not that long ago. -Uh-huh. -And so what he really wanted was to sort of get back to a curated, immersive music experience digitally which I agree. For me, Spotify is that more than any of the other services. -Uh-huh. -It is interesting. Did you-- Do you think he faced-- 'cause it sounds like once Parker and Fanning, this all ended, it seems like they were just tainted and they just really couldn't get anything going because they had this, you know, sort of-- -Fanning more than Parker. -Definitely, yeah. -Just watching Fanning's face,-- -Oh, my God. -throughout the movie and after the court case ended in some of those-- -Yeah. -shots, he just looked so dejected. -He was sad, like he [unk] -and there is a scene where one of them was talking about, "Hey, I'm just playing the guitar at his-- -Yeah. -at his cube in his office." And man, it just seemed like he took it so much harder. Do you think that Parker was in it more for the monetary stuff whereas Fanning had the vision in the first place? -No. I would absolutely not say that. I'd say that, you know, yes, Fanning thought up Napster,-- -Right. -but he and Parker had been friends long before they did Napster together. -Yeah. -They had started a little company when they were like 14. They'd never met. They were online. -Right. -But they were both very well-respected hackers,-- -Uh-huh. -they were both big on the IRC community, they were both very good at what they did, and they built that thing together. -Uh-huh. -I mean, the reality of it is that as Fanning says in the movie, "Parker got out before the place blew up," -Yeah. -you know, and Fanning was not disingenuous when he says that in the movie. He said that to me the whole time I knew him. He was like he really felt like he wished he could have gotten out when Parker did,-- -Yeah. -Uh-huh. -like he could tell that the truck was like-- you know, that comment that Parker makes in the movie about Fanning when he's on the cover of Time magazine that it all felt kind of fuss,-- -Right. -I mean, that's not sour grapes on Parker's part. Fanning told me the same thing. He was like-- Here, he was on the cover of Time magazine, but all he wanted to do was get the hell out of this company, it was a nightmare. -Yeah. -Yeah. -You know, everything that he liked about it was long gone. It was just driving down this horrible road. It was getting worse everyday. He was being vilified. He didn't like doing press. So, without a doubt, you know, I don't have like archival footage of like Parker around the time he was fired, there's no way he was happy about it. -Yeah. -I mean, both of those guys had a really tough time for years post the Napster experience-- -Uh-huh. -and they both got really stigmatized-- -Sure. -because of the Napster experience and they are both luckily so-- I mean, you know, and it's like-- we're talking about this for a while, but like one of the funny things about the movie to me is like I really care about these guys a lot and it's funny how resistant people are to being sympathetic with them because they both made a lot of money since those days,-- -Right. -but they were broke and homeless. when I met them-- -Unbelievable. -And post the Napster experience, and you know-- and now, it's like, "Yeah, they're both worth the fair amount of money involved," but it was a long road back and it's a credit to their intelligence and their savvy in the tech community-- -Yeah. -that they were able to rebuild themselves. -That's an equally incredible story. I mean-- And like we just said, you look at Fanning at the end of that and he just looks like he got cracked, kicked out. He just-- He's not doing well. And to push through that-- you know, because like you said they had no money after it, they were on-- they were in the red, and to push through it and then Fanning had success with that Rupture service, right? -Yeah. -And Parker obviously [unk] -Yeah. -it's just-- it's crazy to me that that's-- you know, how it rendered them-- -Yeah. -through all that, which totally blows my mind. -Yeah. They say they-- You know, I talked to him about this and he was like, you know, there're always gonna be bonding 'cause it's like they went to war together. -Yeah. -And you know-- And for me, watching the story like I've known them since they were kids,-- -Yeah. -you know, and there was a maturation process, but it wasn't an easy one. -Yeah. -And it wasn't like overnight. It wasn't like they came out of Napster and they were men. -Yeah. -Right, right. -They came out of Napster and they basically-- where they had their butts kicked. -Yeah. -Yeah, that was it. -They were just happy they survived. -Exactly. -They're just glad to be alive. -Yeah. -Uh-huh. -Let's talk a little bit about more-- maybe, some like industry stuff-- -Huh? -'cause I'm curious. You know, we talked about how Napster just completely changed the face of music forever. -Yeah. -Well, when we're watching the film last night, I said to Justin-- I paused it and turned to him and I said, "You know, I think Napster changed the sound of music as well-- -Uh-huh. -and maybe not directly but indirectly," because-- and this was sort of me just, you know, kind of going on a rant there, but what I came together was, you know, you had all of this concentration on giving artists advances and all of this amazing album budgets which approach the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in those days. -Uh-huh. -And there was this sort of production value that, in my opinion, is not necessarily at the same level now. -Right. -And I know you wanna bring up stuff like Sound City and I want you to do it for sure. -Yeah, yeah. -But I think-- Do you think, because of that, there was this panic and like, okay, we're not selling as many records as maybe we would have in 1993, -Uh-huh. -you know, we have to cut some corners, we have to maybe make this album sound as good as it can for five grand instead of a hundred grand,-- -Uh-huh. -do you think that had a change on the actual sound of music? -100%. -Yeah. -I think that there's a lot of mitigating factors to that though, which Donnie Ienner very lucidly lays out in the movie,-- -Uh-huh. -Which-- some of which had nothing to do with Napster at all,-- -Right. -Which if you sort of tracked what we talked about in the movie, the evolution of the record industry or the sort of, you know, the shift of the record industry from where it was to where it's now gonna have to go. There were a lot of mitigating factors, you know. They stopped making record players. I think Seymour Stein talks about these-- -Uh-huh. -where it took-- and Hilary Rosen talks about this as well. It took their hands off the ball of manufacturing, the means of listening to their stuff-- -Right. -a long time ago and then-- you know, then they ceded that to the technology industry. There was like a creeping set of miscalculations if you wanna look at it that way. -Sure. -Right. -So, there-- so you had this kind of perfect storm where you have-- the labels have now, you know, gotten rid of control over the-- of the, you know, the actual manufacturing of their listening devices for lack of a better way of putting it. -Yeah. -And at the same time, they bloated themselves like crazy with the inflation of the perceived quality of their product for lack of a better way of putting it. -Right. -So that the '90s gave way to this-- you know, this hyper-corporatized, you know, CDs or 20 some dollars apiece. The quality level of them however much money they're spending on the production is negligible,-- -Uh-huh -you know, for the most part. -Uh-huh. -The consumers were getting rankled 'cause they felt like they were overpaying for low quality-- -Right. -and so you had this unrest on one hand from the consumer. You have an increasing lack of control on the label side, not only through the means of production, but also because most of these labels in the '90s got bought out by conglomerate corporations-- -Yup. -who weren't interested in making records. -Right. -You know, what-- we could name many, many large corporate entities that bought these labels out and stop really caring about-- you know, it was all about quarterly returns-- -Yup. -and there wasn't so much about nurturing artists and finding the next Bob Dylan or-- -Right. -or making sure that Springsteen was happy 'cause he's been there at Columbia for 25 years or whatever. It's like what's the quarterly return. If the thing didn't hit, bye-bye, you're gone. -That's it, yeah. -So, you know, there was a lot of things that conspired and you can look at it and just blame Napster. To me, if you look at the whole thing from like a step back, it's all connected. -Right. -In a way, Napster was a consumer revolt. It wasn't a youth revolt. -Right. -It wasn't a technology revolt. The consumers were like, you know, "Well, okay the labels may not care about music anymore, but we do, -Yeah. -so we're taking this thing away from you. And you don't have it anymore. -Uh-huh. -And you'll get it back when we all decide you can have it back." And that's the world we're living in today and that's what the wars are that are going on right now. They're between old systems, new systems, the consumers, and the people who have their hands on distribution. -For sure. There's an amazing quote towards the end and I forget the guy who said it. You'll know, of course. He said, "Napster wasn't stealing music. It wasn't about stealing music. It was about record companies not adjusting," -Yeah, it's Chris Blackwell. -right, "which is just so on the money." I mean-- and that goes into what we've been talking about and it's not just that, it's-- I think a lot of digital media across the board and only-- and I still don't think it's completely universally solved. -Oh, not all. -It's nowhere near. -No. -But we're-- You know, baby steps, baby steps,-- -Yeah. -but I think that statement is very, very enlightening and like I said totally on the money. -Yeah, I think that we're-- you know, the consumer-- you know, people-- I think that the distribution arms are getting their hands around how to work within the technologies to give consumers a better experience. I think that, you know, to credit the labels, they had been working really hard on that. -Uh-huh. -You know, Cary Sherman, and you know, and I talked about that and I think it's true that, you know, 'cause it's like I missed a lot of what the labels did. -Yeah. -It's a shame. You know what I mean? They were great at artist development when they did it well. They were great at curation when they did it well. -Right. -You know, I grew up with, you know, loving the record industry. -Sure. -Right. -So, you know, I would like to see a world where these things-- where these divided sides kind of blend together and start building something. And like you said, we're starting to get there. I think that, you know, the networks, the cable companies, you know, the record labels are starting to provide cool ways to access content. You know, the Netflix stuff has been really interesting. You know, like-- you know-- And I also think that there is-- now enough time has gone by that it is incumbent upon the consumer to come back to the table-- -Uh-huh. -a little bit again. I think that, you know, it's incumbent upon the consumer not to pirate. -Uh-huh. -And you know, I think that there are things you can say now that may not sound sexy and that's why, again, I laugh when people like, "Oh, Lars Ulrich was such an ass and like, you know," but it's like, you know, you kind of come back around to almost saying Lars which is like, okay, well, it does fall back on you, -Right. -to some degree the consumer to not rob everybody so we can build-- let's all build this architecture together." -Right. -You know what I mean? And you're not gonna be able to build anything if you just sit there pirating stuff all day,-- -Exactly. -you know, but I guess-- yeah, I mean-- I totally remember and I remember those flash animations that you had in the film together. -Yeah. -I remember they're so amazing. -Not so bad. -Who was behind that? I don't remember. -Something army, the-- They're gonna hate me for not getting their name right. -'Cause I was trying to search for it too and I couldn't-- -They were-- I think they're still totally in business. -Yeah. -They were like a graphics company or like whatever they're called as something-- something, something army and they made all those-- all those like, I think they were HTML animation-- -Yeah, there were flash-- -flash animation. -Yeah, that was it was, yeah. -I remember-- -They were great. -That was-- And that brought me back to like the whole-- I don't know if you remember, like, Booty Call that [unk]. -Oh, totally. -That brought me way back to Jake and his Jack and Coke and stuff like that-- -Yeah. -but it was funny. I remember when that was happening, the perception was, "Oh, Lars guy, what a dick. -Yeah. -This guy is the worse." -Yeah. -I think the way they handled it-- -Right. -perhaps probably wasn't the most-- -Yeah, yeah. -elegant. I mean, they didn't have to come over with the reams of paper. -I'm sure they feel that way too. -[unk] They're like, "Oh, maybe we should have really worked that a little bit,"-- -Yeah. -but it's just very entertaining to see and the movie does a great job of explaining this, like "Man, this is a metal band that would-- -Yeah. -basically be taking off, you know, the leather pants and putting on the suits. -Yeah. -And it was just-- To see that happen, I think was a very big oh-oh moment, not just for what was happening on the business side of things, but being, you know, a teenager and growing up and seeing that. For me, personally, I was like, "What the F is going on right now?" -Yeah. Revolutions are painful and sides can change very quickly. -Oh, my God, you're telling me. Speaking of which, we wanted to bring up something about Sound City and I was-- -Yeah, yeah. I was gonna say that it's so easy to blame Napster for everything in that area, but it wasn't just Napster that kind of cause the disruption of the recording industry. It's also Pro Tools that came out a little bit later, but roughly around the same time. There's-- I don't know if you've watched this documentary, we've been talking about it lately, it's a Dave Grohl's documentary called Sound City. -Oh, yeah, sure. -And it talks about that like eponymous recording studio in Van Nuys-- -Yup, yup. -where like all these amazing albums had been recorded. -Yeah. -And I feel like, you know, Pro Tools, maybe Napster to some degree, sort of was the death tool for things like recording engineers and producers and things like that-- like artists and makers of things like the Neve Console, for example, things that really made us pay attention to what good music sounds like, what good sound is like. -I think-- Yeah. -And it's kind of ironic that Dr. Dre has sort of made millions of dollars off an industry that strives to make young people realize what good music sounds like again through his crappy headphones. -It's so ironic, wow,-- -Looked terrible, yeah. -that you kind of flipped around it and it goes back to what you're saying about changing sides is that things can flip so easily. It's all just business in the end. -Yeah, it is and I think that-- I think that that's a really good point of like-- I think that some of the business-minded artists were like, "Oh, my God. Our business is changing." And they were like, "Wait a minute, I can capitalize on [unk]." -Yeah, yeah. -you know, which is-- it's, you know, time will tend to just sort of clarify what everyone's motive is, you know. -That's for sure. -But I think that-- You know, there's a couple of things at play with the Sound City thing. I think that one is that the technological revolution made a lot of changes-- -Uh-huh. -not just that-- I mean, you know, it happened on my-- on the filmmaking side too. You know, the-- You know, I left NYU Film School. I was cutting on flat beds-- -Oh, yeah. -and I never cut linear from the moment I walked out their door-- -[unk] -[unk] nothing. It was over. You know, I was onto avid from then on-- -Yeah. -and you know, then we had, you know, these expensive Hi8 cameras and then it became-- then your iPhone was pretty much just as good. -Right. -You know, all of my cameras are gone. -Yeah. -You know what I mean? Unless I'm shooting like with-- something really good on the 5D, which I never do. -Right. -I always use my iPhone. So, you know, there's been a lot of change in that area. There's been a lot of change in the death of film as the chips in cameras have gotten more robust-- -Sure. -and they could handle more latitude and everything's moving over to digital. You know, a lot of artisans have gotten ground up in the wheels of that-- of those evolutions. I will say, though, that, you know, there's a lot of fetching going on and the real-- and people tend-- and I understand why 'cause they feel very-- you know, we feel very attached to things that we grew up with. But you can fetishize the past in a way that it isn't that-- isn't that constructive frankly. -Uh-huh. -And just so you can fetishize the future, just like-- people were just like, "Oh, there's nothing cooler than my iPad in the whole wide world, you know," and/or "there's nothing cooler than my Vinyl," but the reality of it is-- is the way technology is moving. There is plenty of room for artisans. -Sure. -There's like the people-- You know, this happened like when they made Jurassic Park. A lot of the guys that did-- that were really great at stop motion and animation were hired by IOM and brought up to, you know, where the IOM studios are and taught, you know, how to use wire frame, SG computers-- -Uh-huh. -and that's why Jurassic Park looked so good-- -Right. -'cause they were using all these great guys that had been used to using their hands to make stuff move. -Sure. -So, it's like we need all those people. -Uh-huh. -You know, they're gonna be-- they're gonna have to adapt to using new technologies. The tools are changing. We need the art. -Right. -You can't just push a button and make a big giant [unk] CG movie. -Right. -There's a gazillion artists in their work and on those that know how to draw, that went to art school. You know what I mean? -Yeah, right, for sure. -So, I get a little bored with-- you know, there's a lot-- especially in the film industry, there's a lot of people saying that movies are over, that everything is, you know, they're crying and the blues about everything is the death of everything. And I look at that today and I go there's better stories being told right now. I was like, "This is like a golden age." -Right. -I mean, you know, I could watch The Wire or Mad Men or Breaking Bad. I mean, there's like more good stories out there right now than I can keep up with and they're-- -Sure. -because they're all either online or in sort of long form. It takes me four years to get through all The Wire. -Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. -You know what I mean? So, it's like I just think people are-- they're stuck in the mud and they're so busy looking at the stuff that's gone. They're missing the fact that there's a lot of great and there's a lot of room for everybody to play in these fields provided that they're willing to transition into using these new tools. -Oh, yeah. I mean, once you realize the pros outweigh the cons by such an absurd majority, you come around. -I think so. -You know, I think-- I mean, I won't lie. I think there are some, you know, negative sort of side effects of-- -Of course. -everything. -Absolutely. -I'm kind of getting sick of like, you know, scenes being shot where like both actors aren't there and you can kind of tell and then it's a little weird. -They always did that. It was just-- It is easier to edit, you know,-- -Yeah. -exactly. -And you know-- -Yeah. -like even Arrested Development. Now, have you-- have you caught a lot of you. -Yeah, yeah. -there's some wacky stuff going on in the-- -Yeah. -shows now. They're really just doing whatever they want with sort of-- -Yeah. -you know, trickery and [unk]. But I think you're right. At the end of the day and you can't deny it and I had a similar experience of like going to film school and being like, "Oh, man, I'm using a Bolex and I'm, you know, using a flat bed machine-- -Yeah. -and then it's like my senior like, "Here's final cut." -Right. -It's just-- It's throw the way out. They just literally put a case on that, something like Nazi Museum-- -Exactly. -you know, and you're like, "Cool. I spent a good time here. -Yeah. -This is great." But totally, I mean, you know, once you-- once you empower people, everyone's an artist and look just like everything else in the world, a lot of good stuff-- -Uh-huh. -is gonna get made. Majority of stuff is gonna be there, but the good stuff rises to the top. -I think it rises to the top and I also think that we are-- you know, the people that are really unhappy right now, say, in the sound recording area, you know-- you know, there's no doubt that it's been a big hit to that world in terms-- if you were really a genius at focusing in this area of analog recording. However, with the increase of broadband speeds, and you know, we're not gonna be-- you know, our kids are gonna be living in the tiny compressed MP3 world. -Right. -They're gonna be living in a world where they're pulling files down that are-- you know, are so huge, so quickly that have so much information on them, that sound fantastic. -Right. -You know, like my friends who make records now, you know when they finish an album, they give me like, you know, the WAV file version of it-- -Sure. -like 2.5 gigabytes for the record-- -Right. -and I'm sorry but, you know, I've got pretty good sound system and good headphones and I listen to that and I listen to like a cool Terrain LP and they both sound pretty damn good. -Yeah. -Yeah. -Oh, yeah. -You know what I mean? So, it's like it's not that compressed and there's a lot of information there and there are gonna be artisans that we're gonna need to do great things with that stuff and recording. -Uh-huh. -So, it's not like we've just-- it's not like-- I think it's really, you know-- -The dust is settling. -Yeah, the dust is settling 'cause I think you can't just shake your fist to the future and go-- -Right. -it's all disposable-- -Uh-huh. -like, yes, the quick burst of it has been fairly disposable, but that is, people want good quality stuff and they're quickly coming around and making stuff look better, sound better,-- -Uh-huh. -get to you better. And that's kind of what we're heading into. And people are-- There are gonna be casualties. It isn't all great for everybody,-- -Sure. Sure. -you know. -You interviewed a lot of artists for the film as well. -Uh-huh. -That was quite a lot of fun, yeah? -Yeah. Yeah. I mean, just the people that stood out for us like Henry Rollins,-- -Uh-huh. -I mean, what was that guy like? -Well, I've known Henry for years. In fact, you know, Henry was one of my earlier friends that I have when the downloading stuff-- was even before the downloading stuff 'cause Henry's always collected a lot of Bootlegs. -Uh-huh. -Uh-huh. -And I used to go to Henry's house in L.A. and like the early '90s, I had a DAT recorder-- -Uh-huh. -and he had DATs and I would like clone-- like culture in Bootlegs for like days at a time. I would just come over and we just connect the DATs and I would just suck all the stuff off of all of the sound system. So, I knew he was into collecting. -Sure. -I knew he was into music sharing as before file sharing, but I also knew that Henry didn't have this kind of black and white attitude towards MP3s and the file sharing revolution. I knew he didn't just say this is all great for everybody-- -Uh-huh. -or this is all bad-- -Right. -and I think that's why I really wanted to interview him. -For sure. There was other artist like Mike D-- -Uh-huh. -was in for a few segments. Was there anyone that you wanted to get that just, you know, didn't work out or-- -The only person I really wanted to get that I didn't get was Lars, you know. -Yeah. -I met up with Lars and I asked him to do an interview and he said-- he said he would consider it and then I think, you know, Metallica sort of put a stop to it and I really understood why. -Sure. -It's like they've talked enough about Napster, to be fair to them-- -Right. -they really have.