Web Music Has Some Crying Foul

Joel Pellatier's blend of pop rhythms and classical instruments has yet to attract a major record label. So, the Los Angeles writer and musician became a webmaster, reports CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales.

Using the newest technology that gives near-CD quality sound, he's one of many struggling artists putting his music on the worldwide web for anyone to download.

"It's giving a lot of independent musicians and music an opportunity to get heard and seen all over the world where they wouldn't have had a shot at it," says Pellatier.

But established bands claim they're being ripped off to the tune of three million songs a day, according to one estimate. Because the new technology is such an improvement in quality, pirated music is all over the net.

Everything from classic Beatles, to today's Bare Naked Ladies.

But it's the little device, called the Rio, that really scares the recording industry. It allows you to take up to an hour's worth of music that you've downloaded off the Internet. And just like a portable cassette or CD-player, you can listen to it anywhere.

Claiming the device will lead to more piracy, the recording industry is trying in court to stop the Rio's sale. But the company that makes the Rio says it represents progress.

"This is a freight train coming that's going to be very hard to stop," says Ken Wirt of Diamond Multimedia.

Jim Griffin, a consultant to the recording industry, says the industry knows the Internet is the future, but it's fighting to protect musicians.

"The issue is permission," says Griffin. "It's whether this is being done with the permission of the artist. Their concern is that with digital technology, they can no longer control the quantity or destiny of their music."

But for the unknown artist, giving music away on the Web is the key to a future career.

"The worst thing that can happen is that everyone has the song for free, which is also the best thing that could possibly happen because maybe if they have that song and like it, they'll actually then buy the CD online," says Griffin.

The established recording industry, however, isn't buying. And it probably won't until it can protect its big artists and big profits on the Internet.
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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