|Volume XXVIII Issue 24||April 10, 2003|
On another note: Napster may come back with
Stephen Earley - Reporter
Land of the free and home to almost any song you can name. This has been the one constant in the virtual land of peer-to-peer file sharing, which has seen services such as Napster, Audiogalaxy and Morpheous rise and fall.
It's little surprise, then, that fee-based music services offering a smaller selection of songs have not met commercial acclaim.
Notoriously stingy college students aren't biting.
"There are free services, who's going to pay?" senior Awel Ghedda asked.
Senior Carolyn Shaw isn't.
"It would make more sense just to get the CD," she said.
A California software company, Roxio, is hoping Napster will rise again in the form of a fee-based service. The leading maker of CD burning software paid $5.3 billion for Napster's assets.
Napster creator Shawn Fanning, 21, has been hired as a consultant to ensure the new service is as user-friendly as the original. Beyond that, the old and new generation Napsters may have little in common.
In 1999, Napster started the peer-to-peer revolution. Businesses were as excited to be able to send documents over such networks as music lovers were to swap mp3 files. The new Napster will be client-server based. This means the company will provide licensed songs to paying users, instead of users providing songs to each other.
Roxio expects to launch the service by the end of the year. Meanwhile, negotiations with the five major record companies (Universal, Sony Music, Warner, Bertelsmann AG and EMI) and program details are still being worked out.
What Napster's future competitors have already done may give you an idea of what to expect. Or, perhaps, Generation Next will be equally revolutionary as the original.
RealOne Music Pass, Pressplay, MusicNet and Rhapsody all give users access for about $9.95 a month.
What you get for your money varies. Some offer streams only, downloads which expire, or downloads which cannot be burned to CDs.
Even on Rhapsody, you will not find as many songs as on popular peer-to-peer networks, such as KaZaA, since the catalog is limited to songs approved by record companies.
"The music better be extremely high quality, the download time needs to be next to nothing and they should provide almost every song under the sun," WSOE music director Rob Jackson said of a subscription service.
Some music fans are subscribing, however. In June, MusicNet had more than 40,000 subscribers. Subscription services may find viability in going after niche markets, much like the magazine industry. Rhapsody, for example, offers a classical music library.
At Elon, peer-to-peer networks continue to reign. KaZaA is a favorite among students.
"It's easy to use, not really complicated," said freshman Alec Campbell of the 90-million-plus user service.
"I really like how you can listen to songs while you're downloading," said junior Jackie Ryerson, who has more than 500 mp3s in her music library.
The Recording Industry Association of America would contend that Ryerson and hundreds of other Elon students who download unlicensed songs are stealing.
For artists, alleged online piracy can have its advantages.
"I personally believe that music downloading is one of the best forms of advertising a band can get," Jackson said. He noted that cartoon-supergroup Gorillaz got its start as an "online band."
A trombonist for the Delaware-based ska outfit Sock Full of Pennyz, WSOE employee Marc Steele also finds promotional potential in online file trading.
"Especially for underground bands, it's a real easy way to get your music heard," he says.
The groupís music can be heard on its mp3.com page, which has more than 5,000 song listings. For such up-and-coming bands, the promotional value online file trading provides can be worth more than what they receive for a CD.
"Bands don't get that much money from CDs," Steele said. "They get money from shows."
Ghedda sees it the same way.
"Out of every CD, the artist gets a really small cut, like $2. So, you're hurting the record company more, not the artist," she says.
Jackson says he can identify with the record companies' plight, but does not offer much sympathy.
"The industry is about the music and furthering the artists, not creating a label empire."
|Print Advertising Staff Info Contact Info||
Elon University Pendulum © 2003