Gene Simmons: “Napster’s Founders Should Have Been Treated Like the Nazis…”

by Sheme Jobs

You say that the music industry sued their fans, destroyed their goodwill, and failed to adapt. Gene Simmons says all of that is bull$%it: “I still think it’s a crime,” Simmons recently told MetalHammer (print only), referring to file-sharing and BitTorrent swapping. “The sad part is that the fans are the ones who are killing the thing that they love: great music.

“For fuck’s sake, you’re not giving the next band a chance.”

The question is whether a gigantic hammer would have worked. “Record labels should have stood together and made the Great Wall of China [around their content] and sued anybody who transgressed,” Simmons continued. ”How much have we lost through illegal downloading? It’s certainly millions. I don’t think it’s tens of millions, but it’s certainly millions.”

Simmons, once in training to become a Rabbi, has never changed his extremely strong anti-piracy stance, even after Metallica abandoned theirs. That was right around the time that Napster died, and the start of a near-decade of artist silence on the issue. “They should have bitch-slapped them,” Simmons snapped, referring to Napster’s progenitors. “Gone down with the FBI, seized everything and put everyone in jail.”

“But then they should have done what the Allies did with the Nazis: made them work for us.”

That didn’t happen: Napster co-founder Sean Parker went on to become co-founding president of Facebook, is currently a multi-billionaire, and carries a sizable interest (and influence) in Spotify. Shawn Fanning, perhaps the most famous Napster co-founder, has gone on to found a number of new startups, including the highly-successful Rupture. Former Napster COO Milt Olin was recently killed by a police officer while riding his bicycle in Los Angeles.