One of the oddities concerning the Megaupload shutdown and indictment was the fact that the company had named famed producer (and husband to recording star Alicia Keys) Swizz Beatz as CEO just a few months prior. Beatz is extremely well known in the industry, and widely respected. After the shut down artists like Diddy and Busta Rhymes immediately spoke out in support of both Megaupload and Beatz. Beatz wasn’t named in the lawsuit, but recent filings in the case have the US Justice Department noting that Beatz has not been cooperative with their lawsuit, suggesting he may get dragged unwillingly into the fight.
We wrote about an interview with him a few months ago, where he talked about how greed from the labels explained their unwillingness to embrace new technology. In a new interview, as pointed out by TorrentFreak, Beatz is going even further and defending Megaupload. He touches on a variety of issues, but notes that the company was offering a system (not unlike BitTorrent’s new offering) whereby artists could offer their work for free, paid for by ads… with 90% of the money going to the artist (more or less the flipped ratio of a traditional record deal).
He repeatedly notes how many friends he has in the music world, and how it would be ridiculous for him to piss them all off by “robbing” from them. Some have raised questions about Beatz’s claims — and he’s mostly refused to give any specifics while the lawsuit is ongoing — but no one can deny his widespread influence and respect in the industry. Furthermore, he highlights the new business models and how they represent an opportunity.