Napster's Effect On Oldies' Artists

(Wall Lake, Iowa-AP) -- You'd be hard pressed to find any of today's music artists who have no opinion on Napster, and the practice of swapping digital music files online. But what do past recording stars think of it?

For example, Napster users can find more than a dozen songs by long-time crooner Andy Williams. A spokesman for Williams says the singer isn't familiar enough with the issue to comment. But a woman who sells copies of Williams' CD's and cassettes in his hometown worries if people can download the music for free, they'd be less likely to buy it. At the same time, Esther Bielema notes most of those who visit Williams' home don't have CD players, let alone computers with fast Internet connections.

Meanwhile, Roger McGuinn, who rose to fame as a member of the Byrds, isn't buying the record companies' position that sites like Napster are ripping off performers. He told the U.S. Senate last month the labels themselves were ripping off artists long before Napster existed. He says while the record labels are saying they want to protect the artists, is he sees it, the labels ``haven't cared about the artists ever.''

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