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Make Your MP3 Player Go To 11, Spinal Tap Launches Tapster & Releases MP3

Make Your MP3 Player Go To 11, Spinal Tap Launches Tapster & Releases MP3

by , 2:00 PM EDT, August 1st, 2000

We've been sitting on this for too long, but the problem was that none of the staff could keep from laughing long enough to post this whenever we tried. Spinal Tap fans, and we know that they are legion, have something to look forward to with Tap's upcoming DVD release of "This Is Spinal Tap." Never a band to pass up a great marketing opportunity, they have launched a new service called Tapster complete with a spiffy new MP3 that still has the tagger on it. That's handy, because the only song you can get with the service is that song, called "Back From The Dead." It's a "Web based app," otherwise known as a "Web site," but who's counting? Fortunately not Spinal Tap, or it would be more like 11.

Anyway, the band's press release:

Timed to co-opt media attention on the high profile ruling on music-sharing Web site Napster, England's loudest heavy metal band Spinal Tap has announced the launch of its new music sharing service Tapster. The Tapster service launches today (www.tapster.com) with a free download by one of rock's formative and most influential artists, Spinal Tap. Tapster, a highly sophisticated file-sharing program, is launching to promote Tap's never-before-heard track, "Back From The Dead." Prior to being traded through other peer-to-peer applications, "Back From The Dead" will be exclusively available on Tapster.com.

"This will be far more controversial than Napster, really," said Tap's Nigel Tufnel. Bassist Derek Smalls added, "We're not unnecessarily concerned about intellectual property -- this isn't about Harvard, Yale or Oxford."

The launch of Tapster and the release of "Back From The Dead" coincides with a full blown marketing campaign in support of the re-release of the classic rockumentary, "This Is Spinal Tap." Arriving on September 12, "This Is Spinal Tap" will be re-released in theaters and on special edition DVD/VHS by MGM Home Entertainment, in association with European film studio STUDIOCANAL. "There's a fine line between exploitation and opportunism," said singer David St. Hubbins in commenting on the timing of Tapster's launch.

"Napster's a bit complicated, really, what with all of the songs available," Tufnel continued. "One of the brilliant things about Tapster is that there's only one song to choose from." Analysts agree, commenting that Tapster will likely replace Napster almost immediately. "All you do is replace the N with a T," said a UK-based source who requested anonymity.

"To say that Tapster is revolutionary is an understatement: I see it as one of the most significant developments in technology since the mousetrap," said Ian Clarke, heralded developer of Freenet. "I have been using Tapster since the early sixties, and it is as good now as it ever was."

An IPO is in the planning stages, according to Tap insiders. The band declined to comment, although Tufnel somewhat cryptically reported that they were looking into "one of those UFO things."

The Tapster site has been built by leading online music network ARTISTdirect (www.artistdirect.com) in conjunction with MGM. Plans call for ARTISTdirect to create an online store to sell Spinal Tap merchandise, music and videos, in companion to the official Spinal Tap Web site, www.spinaltap.com.

You can find more information on Spinal Tap at their Web site, including some great QuickTime movies of the band. You can find more information on Tapster at the Tapster Web site.

The Mac Observer Spin:

Your editor will now reveal that when he was in junior high school, he was one of the people that was part of the joke involving Spinal Tap. After seeing the delightful (in retrospect) performance of the band with 3 bass players and "Big Bottom" on Saturday Night Live, he went and complained about this "terrible heavy metal band" he saw to his friends. Frothing at the mouth at the absurdity of these "clowns," he later came to rue his words. You see, just like with Jeff K!!!!!!!'s readers, there are some who get the joke, and some who are a part of it. It was about 5 years later before this hypothetical editor [Editor's Note: That's me...] saw the movie "This is Spinal Tap" and realized the error of his ways.

In any event, we are delighted to see Spinal Tap take the opportunity to capitalize on the Napster controversy. If there was ever a situation with a name that was tailor made for their exploitation, this was it. Or something.

Go check out the site and enjoy! And to Spinal Tap, thanks for the laughs!

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