Project: Crapster

Napster, like a lot of so-called "Internet communities," is based around the trust the participants have for one another. This weakness allows us tremendous advantages in manipulating the system to our own ends, just like the Grammys. For instance, when Napster announces what music is available on a hard drive, it actually believes what you tell it.

What we'll do is create thousands of Napster accounts and get them to advertise that they've all got hundreds of songs available — "American Pie," Santana, all the latest, cutting-edge stuff. If Napster normally has a half million songs to choose from, we'll push it to a full million. It'll look like a disaster.

Except each and every one of those files will actually be "Achy-Breaky Heart."

The naiveté of these Internet rubes floors me, J. B. There's nothing stopping us from labeling a years-dead, squeezed-dry novelty record as something worth listening to. After they've spent half an hour downloading Billy-Ray, hipsters everywhere are going to be apoplectic, and they'll blame the system. When "ABH" reaches the saturation point, Napster will collapse under the weight of the distrust each member will have for everybody else. On the Internet, nobody knows you're an industry mole.

I realize the Cyrus song may be a tip-off. We're going to mix it up with files of white noise or a high-pitched whine, and we're cherry-picking some substitute songs — the Miles Davis version of "Time After Time," that Dixie Chicks turd about the husband, "I Saw It on TV" by John Fogerty, Shania's "So you're a rocket scientist" horror. We've got plenty of play here.



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