One fundamental problem we have with these MP3 files is that they make each song a commodity. CDs allowed us to provide a value-add and resell everybody in the country music they already owned. Given that digital music never degrades, we've lost the advantages we used to have over people who turned out tape-to-tape copies.
We need to find and exploit a qualitative difference between copyright-violating Napster MP3s and industry-approved (and revenue-producing) sources. It's time to dust off backwards masking, J. B.
Instead of including a mask in the song itself, though it's far too obvious the message will be added just before playback by the MP3 software. If you try to listen to a pirated song, you'll be bombarded with subliminal messages of loathing, despair, and self-hatred. If you're playing something you've paid for, you'll get rewarded with boilerplate motivational hokum we'll squeeze out of Tony Robbins. The punishment/reward will probably need to be reversed for anything by Nine Inch Nails or The Cure.
AOL owns the most popular MP3 player, WinAmp, and Case is sending signals that he's exploring this kind of psi-ops action now that Time-Warner is part of his stable. We can also get him to revive the open-source version of Napster he killed last week and put the code in there. (Not to get too inside baseball, but "open source" is some kind of hippie sharing deal with a techie angle, and all these little pricks seem to think it gives them super powers against us. I wouldn't sweat this, as our Comix division already owns the rights to all known Super Powers.) Pending Case's participation, we could also strike a deal with Bill to put something in Windows to accomplish the same thing. We've got our choice of whores here, which, as you know, is always a plus.
This plan involves certain messy details a few suicides are to be expected, as are unfortunately perky NIN fans but the long-term upside is enormous. Over a decade or two, music pirates will be culled from the population, replaced with industry-approved, copyright-friendly consumers. Social engineering on this scale seems pretty hard-core, I know, but we're talking about the future of civilization, J. B. Think about it.
Call me when you've made your decision.
PS Be sure not to tell Geffen about any of this. That little bitch can't keep his mouth shut.