Project: Hipster

Napster's fundamental advantage over the recording industry is that it offers what people want for free. The recording industry's fundamental advantage over Napster is that we have an advertising budget. If we can recast the Monkees a dozen times in different gender combinations and produce a dozen hits, then we can sure as hell convince the masses that they want nothing to do with Napster.

The danger here is that going negative will only make Napster more alluring. Nobody gives a crap about Marilyn Manson now that God's people aren't on his case anymore. What we need to do, J. B., is find a way to tie our own ends to our target market's natural inclinations toward jealousy and pettiness.

We've got to convince these kids that it's all about the Benjamins. This makes more sense than you think: How money can you be if you have to get free music? So from now on, all our new CDs carry warning labels: Rated R for Royalties. That R is our Swoosh. We're seeding high schools with phrases like, "Yo, that's K!" (K for "Konsumer"). We'll hand out CD players to anyone identified as a discipline problem. We'll make recording "I prefer my media ... physical" spots a requirement for any band who wants to place on Billboard's Top 10. And finally, we'll get authority figures to endorse Napster as an effective and cost-conscious way to further music appreciation. That should take care it.

We need to make it clear that if you're getting your music for free, then you're probably poor and have bad teeth and skin too. The moment a teenager says to a peer, "Free music? Like, you want to borrow my deodorant? Not!" we'll have met our goal.

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