The lady from the future is back.
"You must help us," she says as she plucks a few pieces of continuum lint from her jacket. "You must post the schedules for Brooks & Dunn's The Neon Circus & Wild West Show and Vans "Off The Wall" Club Tour on the Internet, or you and your people will be in big doo-doo by the end of this decade."
"What's up this time?" we ask her. "Does the energy crisis turn California into a third world country? Or did SFX cook up an Elton John / Eminem co-headline tour?"
"Naw," she answers as she pulls a list from her purse. "Publishing these itineraries, as well as the new dates for Guns N' Roses and Country Joe McDonald, will be the only way to avoid the antitrust riots of 2009."
"That sounds awful."
"It is. For over two years, the monopoly mobs will call the shots and the guillotines will operate 24/7. The AOL Time Warner McDonalds Microsoft Clear Channel Napster Fleets Corporation will be forced to move to Manitoba and operate as a business in exile. However, the upside is U2 and Sting will hold several benefit concerts for the refugees. Oh, look at the time. I really must be going."
"Wait a minute, did you say, 'Napster?'"
"Uh uh," she says as she starts to punch the time travel coordinates into her Palm Pilot. "In the future, all music is marketed, traded, shared and sold online, and Napster is the largest music distribution network on the planet."
"Really? They're currently embroiled in one of the biggest copyright disputes in recent history."
"I know. In fact, it's still going on in the future."
"That's pretty incredible. What are the main issues in the future?"
"Same as before. On one side you have Juliana Theory, Midge Ure and The Saw Doctors testifying for safeguards, artist rights and adequate compensation."
"And what's Napster's side?"
"That is Napster's side."
"Oh yeah," she responds as the familiar tachyon hum fills the office. "Napster claims that if the major labels have their way, it could destroy the music business as we know it, while the labels claim that Napster is trying to protect their monopoly on digital distribution for acts like Paul Weller and Ozomatli."
"Get their way? Just what do, or maybe I should say, just what will the labels want in the future?"
"Oh, it's pretty rad," she replies right before she catches the time wave for her ride back to the future. "They want to open up something called record stores."