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Napster Introduces Subscription Charge 372

Simon Cozens writes "The BBC is reporting that Napster is introducing a subscription charge to pay off the music industry. " And the real question is what percentage of Napster users will shell out the clams vs moving to OpenNap or Gnutella.
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Napster Introduces Subscription Charge

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  • by yoz ( 3735 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:03AM (#472508) Homepage
    Funny, I just got this news item through a wormhole in the space-time

    June 16th, 2001

    Further to CEO Hank Barry's predictions earlier this year, Napster Inc. (a
    wholly-owned subsidiary of TimeWarner-AOL-Bertelsmann-Universal) started
    charging users to log onto their popular file sharing service. Since its
    launch in 1998, 60 million users have created accounts.

    The new subscription-based service, which entirely replaces the previously
    free version of Napster, was launched at midnight last night. For a mere ten
    dollars a month, users are given unlimited access to the Napster service and
    the shared files of other users.

    In the 18 hours since the launch, three users have subscribed. One of them,
    "br1tneyD00D", was quoted earlier as saying "ne1 got nud brit pics...
    thanks... and what is this opennap thing that every1 talks about".

    Asked if he was worried by the sudden drop in Napster usage, Mr Barry
    replied "See this desk? Real mahogany. Yours for two hundred bucks. Really,
    you can walk out with it now. Okay, one hundred, but you're twisting my

    -- Yoz
  • by Markonen ( 56381 ) <marko@ k a> on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:05AM (#472509)
    This, I have to say, is a novel concept; paying a middle man when there (technically) isn't one.

    If Alice wants to download a Metallica tune from Bob, I don't really see them shelling out the $$$ for Napster. But if Alice would be free to download the same tunes from reliable, comprehensive and fast Napster MP3 archives, the story might be different. Is Napster just dumping the whole P2P concept and beginning the transformation into plain vanilla MP3 distributor?
  • by ywwg ( 20925 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:06AM (#472510) Homepage
    Has anyone heard anything relating to price? I mean, we all knew a subscription fee was coming, so this news is really no surprise. But I want to know how much they plan to charge.

    On top of that, are they going to lock out systems like OpenNap? There are a few servers that have at least as many songs as the official servers, so won't everyone just start using those?
  • Really, it isn't all that bad. As long as the fee isn't too large, using Napster will stay easily be less expensive than purchasing albums at the store or even online. Perhaps they will even make it legal, selling individual tracks at pennies on the dollar.
  • by binner ( 68996 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:08AM (#472514)
    First off, I'm not one of the guys that downloads songs just to have them...I download songs that I already own, and the very occasional single that I wouldn't buy in a store.

    There is no way that I'm going to pay twice for songs that I've purchased legally already. I am all for supporting the artists, but not twice.

    My $0.02


  • by bdigit ( 132070 )
    Its kind of odd that their charging, I mean we're putting our mp3s on their service and their charging us for it? We should be charging them, we're the ones keeping the service alive by going on it. So we have to charge now to download other people's mp3s, I think their should be something where if you put x amount of mp3s on the service you only have to pay x amount of dollars. Just my two cents.
  • I know I should have finished filling up that second harddrive last week!!!

    Anyway, I haven't been using gnutella because it is slower, less reliable and seems to have less of a selection. But as soon as Napster goes to pay, it's probably going to have more of a selection, leading more people to use it, leading more people to use it, until nobody cares about NApster anymore anyway.

    BTW, get a gnutella program here... freepeer's bearshare program []

  • by Ian Pointer ( 11337 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:10AM (#472522) Homepage
    At the moment, I expect nothing from Napster; if a song cuts out in mid-download it is a pain, but as I'm going to be getting the track for free, I don't mind spending a bit more time getting the track later on. Once money gets involved (and I have no qualm about paying a monthly/yearly fee in order for access to a music catalogue), I (and I'm sure others) will expect a much better quality of servers. And I'm also feeling a bit uneasy about the fact that Napster's current line of defence (being a common carrier) doesn't quite suit once they start charging for the service. After all, it's the people who use Napster who make it valuable, not the server setup. Anyway, we shall see...
  • Sooner or later, they had to keep it free so it would snowball. ITs actually a good service, I would be willing to pay for my account. As long as they dont do bandwidth charging.
  • 90% of the users are cheap SOB's like myself. They won't pay anything, mostly because they dont have anything. Lots of em are kids. And yes, thanks to napigator for windows and built in support on gnapster, very few users will NEED to pay to get music. Thank you opensource.
  • by cah1 ( 5152 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:14AM (#472528) Homepage
    Ok, so Napster plans to charge for use.

    How's it planning to distribute the spoils? It surely won't be using the ID tags? Naah, it'll just heft over a wedge to the recording companies.

    They'll get richer and not one artist will receive a penny.

  • by sdo1 ( 213835 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:14AM (#472529) Journal
    Does this move ammount to sanctioning of Napster by the music industry ala the DAT tax.

    I have no desire to rip off the music industry or the artists, who IMO have every right to charge whatever the heck the like for CDs (as I have every right to buy them or not buy them at a given price... it's not like we're talking about essentials of life here).

    I'd actually prefer that the music indstry just get its act together and start a subscription based music download service. Maybe $30/month for unlimited downloads, or something like that. If the quality was good enough (ie, MUCH better than MP3), and if other goodies like cover art, etc were also downloadable, I'd sign up in a minute. Even at that price, it would save me a ton of money over what I spend now on CDs.


  • **but what's next? i sure haven't seen anything REMOTELY as easy to use as Napster .. i'm not saying Gnutella or OpenNap are terrible for Slashdot readers, but the vast majority of Napster's customers are casual-to-moderate computer users who would never put up with the idiosynchracies of gnutella and its ilk**

    I gave up on all that crap long ago.. I do AGSattelite now..

    I like it.. both the Windows and Linux versions work well, (linux with minimal tweakage) and I get tons of songs much faster than with Napster.

    Try it out.. its pretty nice.. and I have found the usual 5 second songs, and crap, and mistitled artists/songs, but its still pretty good, with a *huge* genra sweep.

  • by JCCyC ( 179760 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:19AM (#472535) Journal
    Napster will start to offer MP3 themselves -- in addition to users making theirs available from download. With the Bertelsmann deal they're in a position to do just that (at least with Bertelsmann material at first). Expect to see usernames like "NapsterRepository00028834" in your Napster search results.

    Some kind of CRC check for legitimacy could also be added, so I know the copy of Rush's "Tom Sawyer"(*) L33tD00d has is the same as the original and not some horribly recorded-from-tape version.

    Also, I want discounts (preferrably up to 100% depending on collection size) for people who put songs up as opposed to download-only people.

    (*)I don't know which megacorp owns Rush. If it isn't Bertelsmann, what the heck, you understood the general scheme.

  • by evil_one ( 142582 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:19AM (#472536) Homepage
    As much as I love (and use) the opennap servers, they are not a viable alternative to commercial napster. The servers have limited load, for one, and the (commercial) Napster users DON'T KNOW ABOUT IT. A friend of mine was recently banned by Metallica because she had a song titled "Metallica-Sucks.MP3"
    She didn't know what to do, because her IP dosn't change, and she couldn't get around the block. I asked her if she tried Napigator [] or any of the alternatives. Her response? "What? You mean that there's more than just napster?"
    She's just a typical college student. If the average student dosn't know about the options, who does?
    No, the typical Slashdotter dosn't count on this one.
  • i would pay for it, but it will suck if i logon to find only 100 other users! so what will they do? make you share for free? and pay to download? what if i have 100000 mp3s to share, will they pay me some $$$? if not, then they are exploiting me, no? unless they plan to put those mp3s up their themselves, i don't see how this will work out fairly.

  • by Stickerboy ( 61554 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:19AM (#472540) Homepage
    And the real question is what percentage of Napster users will shell out the clams vs moving to OpenNap or Gnutella.

    Of course, this is assuming that most Napster users even know about OpenNap or Gnutella. I know that at least 95% of my computer literate friends have never even heard of either one of them, and the ones that do are the active *nix users, not the casual MS Office users.

    If 90% of Napster's clients come from Joe and Jill Schmoe using AOL, who don't know A) what the alternatives are or B) where to get them, than Napster has a pretty good racket going. Hook 'em by giving it away, then start charging later. They probably would have had to go to a subscription basis sooner or later, just to turn a profit, music industry lawsuits or no.

  • by Alex ( 342 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:20AM (#472541)

    That is I would say *THE* crucial question WRT to the success or failure of subscription Napster.

    I would be prepared to pay for Napster, but in return I would like a defined QoS.

    Will there will be different levels of access?

    Basic Access - standard service

    Bronze Access - Access to the same selection, all downloads come from Napsters (cacheing?) servers.

    Silver Access - As above, quality of mp3 guarenteed to be at a certain level.

    Gold Access - As above, Napster actively populate the archive you have access to.

    Platinum Access - All records labels back catalogues on line ready for download.

    "Black" Access - The software you get is so *ucking clever it works out what you want before you want it downloads it and puts it into your playlist so all you need to do is press play and you get the music you want without even having to think about it...

    maybe not...

  • I know that I for one am planning to pay as long as Napster's database is larger than any other. As a jazz musician and arranger, I use Napster to listen to as many different recordings of the same song that I can find before writing a new arrangement of it or playing it in an ensemble. Since I'm often looking for relatively obscure songs, or else obscure recordings of well-known songs, an alternative system like OpenNap or Gnutella wouldn't be as much use until they have anywhere near the user base as Napster. Right now they seem to have primarily pop music. (Nothing wrong with pop music, it's just not what I'm usually looking for...)
  • I second the recommendation of AudioGalaxy []... it's far too easy to find good music, so much so that I keep wondering if it's some kind of "honey pot" sting operation!

    Join up - the more the merrier. I have about 2GB of weird stuff shared out right now.

  • ...simply because every MP3 encoder works with a different algorithm, producing slightly different results - not to mention CD audio rippers that produce quantitatively and qualitatively different source files.

    Collection size won't be a valid basis for discounts either, because users will make up fake band names and songs for thousands of files to reduce their subscription costs. And since no one will be looking for those fake songs, it will be impossible to enforce.
  • I am going to go against the norm and say, you know what, for $10/month, as long as it is unlimmited service...sure, I'd pay. You have to figure that all of the new music is going to keep on making it's way onto Napster. I'd rather pay $10/month, and be able to dl and new albums (which you can often find in their entirety) or even new songs (without having to buy the often lousy songs on the rest of the album) without shelling out $15 for a CD. Here's simple food for thought - When the new Pantera album had come out, I had it that night.... and then burned it to CD an hour later.
  • by jackal! ( 88105 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:29AM (#472560) Homepage

    The music industry is okay with this? Don't the have any idea how consumers think?

    Right now I use Napster to explore new music, and I usually end up buying CDs of the stuff I like. But if I have to pay for the service, suddenly I'm interested in "getting my money's worth". Now I'll want to use Napster more often because I'm paying for it. In addition, I'm not going to want to buy CD's. Why? Because I already paid for the music once. Why would I want to pay again?

    No one really knows how much Napster actually helped the sale of CDs. But whatever it is, after fees it'll probably go down.

    I wonder if there's anyone who'll START using Napster because of the fees? Perhaps they'll be more comfortable now that it seems more legal...

  • While I think that the idea of compensation for the "right to use Napster" is a good thing, I have to wonder if this type of setup really makes sense. You have to look at where the money will flow versus where it should flow. In this case, I think that the obvious recipient of any cash should be the person who is hosting the MP3s. After all, you're not downloading MP3s from Napster per se; you're downloading them from another anonymous Internet user who is providing the files as a service to the community as a whole. Up until now, that service has been provided for free.

    Case in point: if some skinny earringed punk spends all night downloading Limp Bizkit MP3s from my machine over his 56K modem, and in so doing reduces my total available bandwidth for things such as 2.4 a kernel download, if anybody should be getting paid for it, it's me. Napster is the only widely-used Internet application that involves people just giving away large chunks of bandwidth for free without any form of compensation (either directly or indirectly through methods such as forced advertisement viewing.) There is no reason that this state of affairs needs to be maintained.

    This could be worked out fairly easily, I think; all you would really need is to have everybody establish PayPal [] accounts and then modify the central Napster server so that it credits and debits appropriate amounts of money upon completion of a download. A dime a song? A quarter? These are numbers that we can work out. The important thing is getting the infrastructure in place. Once that is done, the rest of the pesky details can be worked out.

    At any rate, money-to-the-hoster is the only fair and equitable scenario. It doesn't need to go to Napster itself; all they do is provide a simple online database that points you to the folks who are doing the real work. And it sure as hell doesn't need to go to the RIAA; the CDs that the songs were ripped from were already paid for once. You don't see the government tax you twice on the same income (except for inheritance taxes, perhaps, but that's a different debate.) You don't see the justice system attempt to try people twice for the same crime after they've been acquitted.

    So if Napster is going to move to a pay-for-play model, good .. let's just make sure we get it right.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:32AM (#472566) Homepage Journal
    They'll be making a direct buck from the illicit trade of copyrighted materials? If I recall the copyright laws correctly, this entitles you to an even more massive ass raping at the hands of the copyright holders.

    Maybe someone didn't think this all the way through...

  • Personally I've not used Napster for ages, I dunno if things have improved but last time I looked you couldn't do things such as resume partially downloaded files.

    I quite like the audiogalaxy [] software. Basically you download their piece of software called the "satellite []" and you then use a web based interfact to select what songs you want to download, then without hassle it downloads the songs without further interaction. As it's web based you can do it all remotely so if you're at work you can remotely log into the website and set more songs downloading on your cable connection at home. It resumes partial downloads and is available for both Linux and Windows (closed source tho at the moment).

  • Hee hee - thanks!

    I have to admit, I got very lucky - wrote that thing in a mail this morning when I saw the news item, was the first to get to the Slashdot thread, copy - paste, instant karma!
  • I think you've missed the point - sure $10 a month would be good value, if OpenNap didn't exist. OpenNap is a pure clone of the Napster servers that is totally free to run and use. It's too late for Napster Inc - we don't need them any more.
  • With tons of other [ways to get a five-finger discount], why pay for anything? The whole point of stealing is to get free stuff. I don't care about the companies, and I don't care about the inventors. I care about how fat my wallet is. Shelling out money for anything doesn't go well with me anymore.

    Screw da Man! Run, don't walk, to loot your local Gap!

  • Just tell her to do a google search for 'Napster unban'. It'll wipe out all the Napster entries in her registry.

    I got banned last week, too. I must say that getting banned just pissed me off. Before I got banned, I was just sorta downloading off and on -- maybe for an hour or so every week.

    But now?

    Fuck that. I've got 1 30 gig hard drive packed with MP3s, 1 40 gig hard drive, and my connection is up 24/7. 70 gigs -- 24/7 on a 1.05 Mbs SDSL drive. No upload caps. Have it at.

    They can keep banning me, and I'll keep running the dumb little unban crack. Obviously, they don't ban IP addresses, so what's the point?

    Maybe this kinda attitude just hurts the artists -- okay, I can see that. But the idea of "banning" one person while millions of others are doing the same exact thing is just absurd.

  • I'd rather pay $10/month, and be able to dl and new albums (which you can often find in their entirety)

    Except that the only way all those new albums are making it onto napster now is because it's free - It's a chicken-and-egg problem.

    You're less likely to find the new ablums online now that people have to pay for it. I will certainly no longer offer my 4,000+ mp3 collection. Where's the reward for it? I'm sure that, like most people with really large collections, I share 20 or 30 times the number of songs per day that I download. I'm certainly not going to pay for the priveledge of giving away my bandwidth - that's ludicrous.

    It's a lot like the karma cap. Once you hit 50 karma, what's the point in continuing to post logged-in? You can only ever lose karma.

    Leading the partnership for a Britney-Free napster,
    Son of Dog

  • Maybe I'm wrong, but I figure they can't lock out OpenNap. Maybe if you download the new, 1337 client, they can change it to make it harder, but someone can [may already have] coded an open napster client. Even if not, plenty of folks have older versions [I know I still do] that will work just fine. BTW, Napigator makes life ever so much easier when looking for non-Napster-Inc. servers.

  • Yes, but... From the sound of things you are just paying for record companies to look the other way when you trade music. Although they clearly see the difference between trading for free and them getting money, it seems that in terms of copy-rights, paying the middle man shouldn't change the legality. I've baught more CDs after listening to MP3s for months than I ever had when I listened to the radio. I don't see why I should be paying the companies for their own advertizing.


  • Since Napster,, etc, came on the scene, I have to admit: I don't even want to buy CDs, because its too much trouble. I have bought a number of them, like the U2 cd, but they're just sitting around in shrinkwrap, unless I couldn't find high-kbps digital versions.

    I'm happy to pay for the music. As a consumer, there's 2 things I want out of digital music (maybe 3):

    I want it now, conveniently, and I want to get it again if I lose a hard drive without paying for it again

    I want to be able to buy only what I want. One song from an artist shouldn't cost $14.

    I want artists to get more money, so more artists are supported, and more people are encouraged to go for it

    One does have to wonder, what are the record companies good for, in this scenario? But whatever. I want my music digital, I want to pick and choose songs, and if I get those things, I'll happily pay for them. (I'd gladly pay $2-3 a song)

  • by Peter Dyck ( 201979 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:42AM (#472588)
    I share 20 or 30 times the number of songs per day that I download.

    Oh, you're so ELITE!

    Shit. Back in the days when I was trading C64 games I realized that counting the "warez" doesn't work. Give all you've got out freely and you'll get everything for free.

    When the stuff you trade flows freely, everybody benefits. Yeah, there are unavoidable freeloaders but most traders will appreciate you for sharing freely. Can you argue with that?

    Bean-counting warez was a bad mistake back then. It's a bad mistake now.

  • Hooray for Gnutella! And an even bigger hooray for LimeWire, for updating the client and making it viable again.
  • by MrShiny ( 171918 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:46AM (#472594) Homepage

    I think a pay service is a fine idea but they are going to have to give you a lot more than the hacked together search engine that they do now. For example, how about:
    • Releasing a 1.0 client that looks like a professional application (e.g. doesn't have buttons stretching halfway across the screen) and fixes the dozens of obvious bugs.
    • Implementing a sophistocated search engine that goes beyond simple keyword searches. It DESPERATELY needs boolean operators and making the Artist and # of results fileds work would be nice too.
    • Searching across ALL of their servers regardless of which one you log on to. You may not have noticed, but right now searches only hit users on the same server as you so you never get more than a fraction of Napster content at one time.
    Now that Napster actually has a business model I think it's about time that they replaced Shawn Fanning's amateur project with a professional quality application.
  • by IntelliTubbie ( 29947 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:50AM (#472601)
    Does anyone remember the AOL lawsuits from a few years back? People sued because they got busy signals trying to dial up -- they felt that by not being able to connect, they weren't getting what they were paying for.

    As soon as Napster goes subscription (and hence becomes a legitimate business in the eyes of, you can count on a huge increase in the proportion of modem users. While curious average users will sign up in droves, college students with high speed access will avoid the charges by using other methods of file transfer among their friends, e.g. ICQ, IM, FTP, file-sharing, etc.

    And you can also bet that complaints from modem users will skyrocket: people can't connect to the servers, can't find the songs they want, downloads are too slow, high-speed users keep disconnecting them, etc.

    Right now, a large percentage of Napster files come from college students (witness the huge drop in files over winter break), and since modem users don't have to pay for the service, they don't have any legitimate cause for complaint. But as soon as they're in the vast majority and are shelling out a monthly fee, modem users will expect a certain level of service. Unless Napster can deliver it, they had better be prepared for a barrage of lawsuits.

  • This, I have to say, is a novel concept; paying a middle man when there (technically) isn't one.

    Not true. Napster's software is performing the service of a middleman, connecting the two individuals easily in a way they probably never could have done without the software, and then asking payment for the cost of making the software and running the servers. eBay charges for the same sort of thing; why should it seem so strange now?

  • I'm still not sure what I'll be paying for under the new Napster deal.

    Is it for the basic service Napster provides, linking users with MP3 files together? In that case, there are similar free services, which makes it a little hard to compete (think Netspace vs. Microsoft)

    Is it some sort of royalty fee for the songs? Because it seems they are charging a per-month fee, which wouldn't even cover the cost of one CD. Better than making no money, but does it stop Time-Warner from suing me?

    How will they pay royalties? Search transfers for artist names? Occasionaly, the artist's name doesn't show up, and what if it's wrong? For instance, the Gourds (from Austin) did a remake of "Gin and Juice" (great remake, too), which is being labeled on naspter as either a Phish [] song or a Ween [] song. Has technology gotten to the point where a song can be uniquely identified, even if ripped at different bit rates, etc? Or will they just hack it?

    This is a strange story - it once was "we're thinking about a pay system" to "the system might be in place in 5 or 6 months". Still no real story, no hint how it will be done. Perhaps the best question is, which Napster version is the one where they start monitoring your habits? Is it already out?

  • You're never going to /. the BBC ...

    Agreed - aren't they the most-hit non-search-engine site in Europe or something? I bet slashdot could get BBC'd more easily.
  • You raise an excellent issue. I believe that you are correct in pointing out that the users should receive some compensation for the use of their hardware and bandwidth.

    However, your estimation of the economics of the marketplace appears to be somewhat naive. Take a real world example, for instance, a broker who negotiates transactions for his clients and purchases and sells stocks for them. The agent's only role is to connect two people and negotiate a price for the transaction. In principle, the buyer and seller could carry this out on their own, but for a variety of reasons (lack of time and expertise, etc.), it just turns out to be far better for everyone to have the broker assist them. The same brokered concept is true in many other marketplces -- real estate agents, auctioneers, etc...

    Napster is a broker. Nothing more, nothing less. While in principle there is nothing preventing your "skinny earringed punk" to learn about your extensive mp3 collection, connect to your machine, and begin downloading your songs, in practice he would have never known about your mp3s. As such, Napster is providing a brokered transaction and is entitled to charge the downloader for its services. I agree that you should be entitled to some fraction of that charge in remuneration.

    The real question will be whether the average user will switch to another P2P format. My guess, based on the level of techical expertise of the average user, is quite simply, no.

  • by Stavr0 ( 35032 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:56AM (#472612) Homepage Journal
    No thank$.

    The majority of MP3s floating out there were done by the clueless who :
    used Line-In instead of DAC
    If they DACed, they used a Crappy CD/CDRom (Jitter-bug is a dance, not an CDROM "feature")
    Encode at 128k at the worst possible setting
    Couldn't ID3 tag if their life depended on it
    And don't get me started on incomplete, unverified, mislabeled songs...

    It's like paying for a really bad tape of an FM broadcasted song.

  • As long as the fee is relatively small (say, $5-10 per month) I'll gladly pay for Napster just to eliminate my guilt. Since I started working from home full-time (where I can crank the tunes and have DSL) I've begun using Napster a *lot*. I mostly use it to download songs that I think I might find interesting. If I really like them, I usually buy a CD, so I can feel like I'm not totally freeloading (also, by buying the CD I can rip my own, high-quality copies). However, stuff that I don't like quite well enough to spend $16 on, I still keep, and I still listen to, and I feel guilty about it. I know that what I'm doing is illegal and that bugs me.

    If, for a few bucks a month I could know that the copyright owners are getting paid and that the whole deal is legitimate... I'm there. Really, I don't even care if the artists are getting paid, just so long as what I'm doing is legal, my conscience will be happy.

    The reason, BTW, that I don't care about whether or not the artists get paid is that I think the free flow of digital music will eventually either cut the record companies out or force them to be fair to the artists. Technology is going to break their stranglehold on the industry and to stay in business they're going to have to start providing real value at a reasonable price to artists and consumers. The more the record companies rip the artists off now, the more pissed off the artists will get and the faster that process will occur.

  • by Platinum Dragon ( 34829 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:58AM (#472615) Journal
    Well, there weren't any details on how the subscription service would be set up, but one would hope it would be some flat rate for unlimited downloads. $10 - $15 would be reasonable for that kind of access, though I can already imagine the fr33 muzIk kiddi3z already kvetching about how "music should be free." As in beer, of course; some (not all, but some I'm sure) couldn't care less if the actual artists are free as in speech - for such an example see, Offspring, latest CD, Sony, controversy.

    The article implied the artists would get paid royalties. In a perfect system, the artists would be directly paid all of the money, but then, nothing's perfect. I'd like to know how Napster/BMG plans to divide up the royalties. Number of downloads? Number of songs on the network? And what about indie artists who aren't a member of a label that signs on with Napster? What about artists belonging to labels that might still wish to litigate after the service kicks in?

    There are still a shitload of unanswered questions, and lots of time in which to answer them.

    Let the "last night of Studio 54" feelings begin.
  • by yoz ( 3735 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @09:59AM (#472616) Homepage
    Napster is a relatively simple protocol, with a simple (though now very well-tuned) server backend. It's fast, but it doesn't do anything particularly clever. This is why OpenNap turned up so quickly, and why we don't need to pay for Napster.

    Audiogalaxy Satellite [], on the other hand, has nearly all its cleverness on the server side. It keeps note of the songs you want and starts downloading them for you when you're around, automatically. It chooses the nearest peer to you automatically. It understands the difference between artists and titles, so you can browse by artist. You can leave the client running on DSL/cable at home while you use the web interface at work to send stuff to it. And loads of other features.

    It's very, very cool, and it'll be much harder to clone for the Open Source world. I'd pay for it.
  • by phaze3000 ( 204500 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @10:00AM (#472619) Homepage
    OK, I can see this is all well and good for the big five record companies. But what about the rest of us?
    I make my own tracks []. Before with Napster I connected and I shared them. Now Napster are going to be charging a fee for me to share my tracks, and furthermore they're going to be making money by charing other people to listen to them! Does this in any way strike anyone as injust??

    I'll be emailing Napster to enquire as to exactly how they intend to resolve this issue. If I had money for lawyers, I reckon I might actually have a pretty decent case, because they've set a precedent by paying other artists.
    But then of course the question arises: how much are they going to pay everyone? They could, I suppose, pay per search request (they can't tell when someone connects to download at present). But how do you link searches to particular tracks? Filenames are pretty meaningless.
    There are a hell of a lot of issues that need to be worked out here.

  • Napster is just a server people connect to and search thru. When you actually start trading music it's done directly, not thru any napster server. It's basically like IRC with searching. Not overly intensive.
  • Was your AOL-Time Warner-Bertelsmann
    reference part of the joke?

    But if you look at scroll down to the bottom of the page where the copyright disclaimer is and you can see that they're already partners in europe :)

    As for 3 subscribers, you've gotta be joking- hmm then again. There's a lot of (better []) free alternatives out there :)

    Now I've just gotta get out of the shock of a non goatse [] first post :)
  • My problem with having the service pay based is that I would be paying $X a month to download MP3s, yet sharing 40, 50, or 300 mp3s to others. So let me get this straight: I share my mp3s for free, but in order for someone to download mine, or me to download theirs that they put up free I pay Napster $10 for the service of a search engine.

    I forsee the usage of Napigator in my future []
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Friday night 11:00pm

    You go over your plans for the night:
    1) You can stay home and drink by yourself but that's no fun (Be content with your mp3 collection and just listen to your own)
    2) You can go over to your buds house and drink but you want to meet new people (Grab some mp3s from your friends)
    3) You can go out to a bar, spend $10.00 on a cover charge, pay 3x more for beer (Use napster).

    Most of us would choose 3. Sure we could go to the cheaper bars but there's no hot chicks there(OpenNap / Gnutella).
  • Surprisingly enough there are people out there to do know what they are doing, it just took the media hoopla to bring their attention around to making better encodings, and for better encoding software to be released.

    In the last 6 months, I have noticed that an increasing number of mp3's are encoded at 168 kbps or more. In the last two months I have yet to do a search on napster that did not return at least 10 solid hits at 192 kbps that were on fast connections.

    There is now enough well encoded materiel out there that you can be picky about what you choose to download. I remember the Old Dark Days (a 1 1/2 years ago) where finding an mp3 at 128 kbps was lucky... and the only copy of Biggie's Hypnotize was enocded at 32kbps and you were stuck with it because it was the only one and that's what everyone had.

  • Once you start paying for Napster, you are tracked by your credit card to your real name and address. The record companies get a judge to force Napster to release to them, the name and CC# of all users who downloaded a song from a copyrighted artist, and force the judge to charge said credit card for the entire album. BAM.

    You would have to be a complete idiot to sign up for something like this, which means it will be "First Posters" and "Goat SeX", and that's about all.

  • Repeat after me:

    You don't have a 100MB Ethernet connection to the internet!

    Ok, so maybe in the unlikely event that your college is 100Mbit within the dorms (the few that I know of are all 10Mbit, and even some still have Cat 3 strung), I seriously doubt that you have anything more than a full T3 to the internet at large. A T3 is only 45Mbit/s. And you're lucky if you even have a T3 dedicated to drom internet use.
  • It doesn't make sense that the music labels will settle for a subscription fee only system.
    Something tells me Napster plans to migrate to a "copyright protected" music format later on so that they can squeeze out more money from people with expiration dates and "play-only-on-this-computer" authentication.
    If they don't, they lose too much of their much cherished control over music. $10 a month won't make up for the amounts of music people will download.
  • If I'm tried for, found guilty of, convicted for piracy and sentenced to pay a fee to offset that piracy (like DAT tax, Audio CDR tax, audio casette tax, Canadian CDR tax, etc.), then why shouldn't I parate, right? The fine legitimizes the crime. It's like if the county mailed and forced you to pay you a parking ticket every day for parking in the handicapped zone. You may as well park there, right?
  • But I won't give you any points for not being able to look at the filesize and be able to guess that it is the complete song.

    Normally, when I search, I sort by song length. This puts all the complete files together; then I go for low pings. But this still doesn't help with users who log off and users who set their simultaneous uploads to 0.

    Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? []
  • by yoz ( 3735 )
    I have been on various OpenNap servers out there, and they are WORTHLESS, because it's only running on a SINGLE MACHINE, therefore only a few thousands users can be logged at once. That's not enough : the chance you'll find the song you're looking for is exactly ZERO PERCENT. Unless you're a Britney Spears fan.

    Wrong. OpenNap servers can be linked together to form a network with shared file and user databases. This is what the OpenNap and MyNapster [] networks are. The numbers are already pretty damn big, and believe me, once Napster goes subscription-only the user base on these free networks will rocket far higher.

    Note that if you're using the original Napster Inc. client for Windows, you can switch between networks with Napigator [].

    Remember that Napster has thousands of machines connected together, and even though they do have islands, you still search across a user database of hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

    See above.
  • Do these support text-based only? I SSH/telnet to Linux servers to use Napster (downloading with Windows Napster on a 26400 modem connection is not fun!). I don't have my own Linux box yet. Thanks!

  • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @10:41AM (#472671) Journal
    How long until after Napster begins this service with all the big labels will it be before they begin the OpenNap Witch Hunt? How long will it be before they claim 'the Napster protocol is proprietary IP and OpenNap is an unlicensed implementation of our IP"???

  • Napster is introducing a subscription service, while keeping the existing free service intact. All you Linux zealots shouldn't jump up in arms at the first mention of money! RTFArticle ...
  • This, I have to say, is a novel concept; paying a middle man when there (technically) isn't one.

    It's like paying the newspaper publishers to buy stuff from the classifieds; they're providing the service of connecting buyer and seller who might not otherwise get connected.

    In this case, Napster is merely connecting sharer and sharee.
  • The artist may see $0.02 from a cd purchase you make.

    That's $0.02 more than the artist is earning when you download the song from napster/napigator/gnutella/etc.

    If 1,000,000 people buy his cd and he ONLY earns 2 cents a piece (as in your example) he ends up with $20,000... which isn't much for having sold a million copis, but is quite a bit more (say, $20,000 more!) than the 0 dollars he earned from all of your piracy.

    -The Reverend (I am not a Nazi nor a Troll)
  • Point taken. But it's still more expensive than other alternatives. When you get a CD, it's pretty much going to be higher quality than anything you get off Napster. The higher price makes sense. But if what you get off Napster is no better quality than what you get off OpenNap or one of the many other free alternatives, why pay the ten bucks? Just to be sheep? You shouldn't just pay because they start charging--you need to make the cost/benefit decision all over again.
  • by lemox ( 126382 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @11:17AM (#472697)

    My god, you'd think a Slashdot reader would be the type to hurl accusations before even knowing the facts... : )

    As I understand it, the subscription fee will *only* be for those wishing to use the "deluxe" service of napster, where garanteed quality mp3's will be offered. No, they won't be profitting from your cherished semi-fragment of a Metallica song. The free part of the service will remain as is (although I wouldn't be surprised if they skimped on the search servers for it), while they'll offer good connections and high quality stuff to the people who pay. This has been in the Napster FAQ for months people...

  • I know. I was being a bit facetious. I understand why the companies are doing what they are. I wonder what the licencing terms are for this new service. It seems sketchey if the users pay for the big companies to look the other way. It'd be completely different if I were paying for legal access to corperate servers, but if it is just paying for the ``right'' to copy files from others' computers, then it seems very odd.


  • Right now it's clear that the bulk of big faster napster servers are run by Students. If my university weren't so tight fisted then i'd run one (but the 28.8 connection with per minute charges that they give me free doesn't quite hack it).

    However I wouldn't run a server so that some corporation can get rich out of it.

    Why should users pay napster and the record company so they can download a song from me!?

    I wouldn't share on napster if it made napster inc rich.

    Napster will soon find that for their business model to succeed they'll have to pay the servers - sadly that's unethical :)
  • One issue that many have raised is the fact that users would be paying to donate hard drive space. It seems that the new model would probably put Napster in a position where they would have to provide the hardware and bandwidth, as users are not going to be terribly enthusiastic about donating to what is a commercial enterprise.

  • It's very, very cool, and it'll be much harder to clone for the Open Source world. I'd pay for it

    I agree.

    I remember using a year or two ago when it was just a simple mp3 search engine. And it was a really good search engine at that. (Searches FTP sites of course.) Though, at the advent of Napster, I began to use that program instead... until I realized it was 'too big'. The realestate the program uses just to grab mp3 files was too much for my taste. So I stopped using it.

    Then maybe about three months ago, I was trying to look for some song and resorted to using my old mp3 search engines. I was very surprised what happened to They really cleaned up. The first gave you the option to either search through 'ftp' or download through 'satellite'. I was curious what this satellite was and downloaded it.

    Well, what do you know. It's the small little program that just sits in your tray (for Windows anyway) and uses a small amount of desktop realstate when you do decide to bring it up. I don't know how small. It's small enough to just show you information what kind of transfers are occurring at the moment.

    The AG Satellite uses your browser to search for music. And like what Yoz said, it shows you your library, categorizes it by genre, and you can play it through your browser... using your preferred mp3 player. Top that off, it gives you the option if you want to buy that CD, gives you related artists to that music, and even has special sections with certain genres.

    I think Napster also has a couple of these... and I think in the latest version, you can buy CDs through CDNOW.

    By the way... the searching for mp3's seem more efficiant than Napster... but with one flaw... it doesn't have a user base as large as Napster.

    But trying to hit the AG website... seems like the /. crowd is already hitting it pretty hard! Maybe that's a good thing ;)


  • I Agree on everything but the 128k, what is wrong with 128k it sounds fine. most people CANNOT tell the difference between 128k and 192!

    You're somewhat right. When I first started collecting, I couldn't tell either. Then something happenend. My ears 'trained' themselves... Don't know what happened but now I can just hear those swishes and the way the 'sh' sounds and cymbals get 'mushed up' by the bad encoding -- it's gotten to a point where I can hear it in pubs and bars where they have DBS-radio.
    I went back to my first MP3 CDRs (full of 128s) and listened again. Bletch.

    Oh and what's with the -1 TROLL with my original post??? I believe I am making a valid point about the quality. It's one thing about complaining of the quality of something you 'get for free' and quite another when you're paying.

  • If you already own the music.. why don't you just play it from the CD? Do you really need an mp3 version so you don't have to walk your fat ass over to your shelf of CDs?

  • Maybe on a computer stereo, but try hooking it up to a real system. I most definately can tell the difference between 128k and 192k, I kind of tell the difference between 192k and 256k, but 256k is my limit. Although I have a friend that works as a music producer that says he can hear the compression on a MD, which is approx 256k.
  • by yoz ( 3735 )
    They CAN, but it won't scale, not over the internet (latency!!!!!). You'd need too many machines, and the search would be too slow. Hell, it's already slow enough on Napster right now, even slower on most OpenNap servers. You are certainly right when you say the OpenNap user base will increase dramatically when free-Napster dies, but I don't see how *technically* it can scale up.

    I wonder what the OpenNap server-linking system is, underneath. I imagine it'd be a cross between IRC-linking and Gnutella. That would scale okay, wouldn't it? (Yes, I know Gnutella has scaling problems, but I'm talking about the general theory of the Gnutella method rather than the implementation - and remember that *this* network is composed purely of servers, so the traffic would look pretty different)
  • I buy probably 5-6 CDs per month, sometimes less, sometimes more, but in the end a price like $30/month would be worth it to me. The added inconvenience would be worth the exposure to a greater selection of music.

    There's no way I could burn an entire collection. New music is released much too quickly. Yes, I'd like to go back into old catalogs. There's a lot of music I'd like to check out, but my rate of CD buying doesn't really allow it. This would.

  • AudioGalaxy may track the songs you download. I don't know exactly whether they actually do this or not, but even the fact that they may be able to is worrying to me.

    Napster does this already. That's how those 300,000 (?) users who'd downloaded Metallica had their accounts disabled.

    IMHO, Audiogalaxy has a far better excuse for tracking this stuff, since a good chunk of the feature set depends on it. (But, yes, it's still tracking you.)
  • People seem perfectly happy to pay $40/month for crappy cable TV. I'm sure some segment of the population would be willing to fork over some similar amount of money for unlimited music of their choice.

    Maybe they should setup a tier system. For $10/month, you get 2 albums. For $20 you get 5, and for $30 you get unlimited.

    A subscription based service is where the industry is headed. It must. The big issues they'll have to solve are with artist compensation.

  • I have a very bad feeling that despite the fact that Napster will be charging a subscription fee the artists will still be abused. By this I mean that they'll continue to receive a very small amount [] of the overall amount that you pay. It'll probably be even lower since it'll be a flat fee.

    If you want Fair Compensation and you care about your probably starving artists check out Fairtunes [].


  • It sounds an awful lot like you're talking about something like emusic [].

    A one-year sub gets you unlimited access to their collection for something like 10 bucks a month. A 3-month sub is more like $15, and you can also just browse around and buy tracks one at a time for a $1, without subscribing.

    I guess the quality of the tracks might not be quite what you're looking for (quality -> big files -> long download times, so there's tradeoffs here). I understand they're working on adding some fatter files for people with wider pipes.

    Full (?) disclosure: I work there these days.

  • It's difficult to compare with Gnutella, because remember that when your gnutella client receives a broadcasted search request, you only need to compare it against your own files, i.e. the files of a single user. In the case of a distributed OpenNap network, you will get as many broadcast searches, but you'll have to match each of them to your own set of 5000 users database.

    Anyway i'm not convinced, though it's an interesting challenge and I hope that OpenNap works out okay.

    I'd like to point out that my first post has been modded down just because i dared voice criticism over OpenNap...

  • I Agree on everything but the 128k, what is wrong with 128k it sounds fine. most people CANNOT tell the difference between 128k and 192!

    I disagree. It is quite easy to tell the difference between 128k and 192. Often, people who encode at higher bitrates tend to do so digitally (rather than Line In) and all the other quality-reducing things.

    The difference between 128k and 192k is even more obvious if you usually listen with a good set of headphones.

  • Hmmm. I definitely remember some mention of request logging in the proceedings.

    I'm still reasonably sure that file requests do go through the Napster servers and are logged - can anyone confirm this?
  • by sdo1 ( 213835 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @12:24PM (#472749) Journal
    When the stuff you trade flows freely, everybody benefits

    Except of course those who spent time to write the music, bought instruments on which to play it on, payed to have it recorded, payed to have it mixed, and payed to have it mastered. How are they benefiting from this free flow of information?


  • This, I have to say, is a novel concept; paying a middle man when there (technically) isn't one.

    If Alice wants to download a Metallica tune from Bob, I don't really see them shelling out the $$$ for Napster.

    I think it should be fairly obvious to anyone that you are wouldn't shelling out money to Napster for nothing. If Alice wants to download a Metallica tune from Bob, she is free to do so without maying money to anyone. Bob ca njust email her the song. But that is not how Napster works. Alice asks the Napster server (and servers are not free) who has the Metallicxa song she wants. Napster searches its database (databases do not maintain themselves) and tells Alice who has the song she wants (the high speed lines it communicates with are not free).

    Take a look at this real life example. If you want three keys of coke, do you find a supplier yourseld? No, you call up your cousin Vinnie, who "knows people," down on the docks. Vinnie has names written in his little black book. Vinnie'll hook you up, 'casue he has the connections. And is Vinnie gonna want a cut? Sure is. Vinnie provided you with a service.

    Napster is providing users with a similar service. Right now they are doing at no cost to the user (be gratefull) but the record gods must be appeased, lest they call down the thunder. "Open source" and "free software" are great ideals, but Napster has a right to charge for its service. And you have a right to boycott it.
  • So let me get this straight: I share my mp3s for free, but in order for someone to download mine, or me to download theirs that they put up free I pay Napster $10 for the service of a search engine.

    And in just what way is this at all different from Caller ID? This scam has been propagated by the RBOCs for years, and I'll bet most of the people reading this are paying for it.

    Seriously, Caller ID shows that such a model can work, and that most people don't really mind paying so much as they let on at first.

    (BTW: This is the reason why it's a good idea to get permanent per-line Caller ID blocking (if it's available in your state) for your line if you don't want to pay for Caller ID service - otherwise, you're providing the info for free that the phone company then uses to fleece everyone else.)
  • thats really interesting. i never thought of it that way. i still have trouble justifying wrong actions that way. have you ever heard two wrongs dont make a right?

    this isnt to say that i dont trade mp3's-i do, i just admit that what i do is wrong. no silly justificaition for me.

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • For Windows, FileNavigator [] is a full-featured Napster clone that can also share non-mp3 files (movies, music videos, etc.) on servers that support them (i.e. OpenNap servers).
  • For all those who see these opennap posts and have NO IDEA what it is or where to get it, go to or They allow file-sharing... For Opennap SERVERS, go to

    Also, I think this is unfair to artists under non-RIAA labels such as Alternative Tentacles [], with artists like Dead Kennedys, Butthole Surfers, D.O.A., and I think Husker Du.

  • Yep, Metallica and the rest will never see a cent of this money. It goes to the people who have always been exploiting the artists.

    Actually, this is a really sweet deal for the music industry if they can keep the majority of users on Napster instead of IRC or free services. Specifically, if I'm a popular independent artist then the music industry will now be making money off of the distribution of my music on Napster. Essentually, the music industry now has a tax on most distribution of online music. The only real question here is "will Napster retain it's monopoly of online music distribution."
  • If Napster starts actually dispersing royalties for music, I might actually use Napster. As it is now, I hear customers in my store where I sell CDs say things like "oh, I'll just download it"... I know a lot of the artists personally - let me assure you they are not all part of the mega-conglomerate that I dislike as much as anyone else. Some of the artists who are not getting royalties for the music are very much outside the box. I want them to keep recording; therefore, I personally want to pay to own their music. That is how they can buy more time in the recording studio.
  • As much as I love (and use) the opennap servers, they are not a viable alternative to commercial napster. The servers have limited load, for one, and the (commercial) Napster users DON'T KNOW ABOUT IT. A friend of mine was recently banned by Metallica because she had a song titled "Metallica-Sucks.MP3"
    She didn't know what to do, because her IP dosn't change, and she couldn't get around the block. I asked her if she tried Napigator or any of the alternatives. Her response? "What? You mean that there's more than just napster?"
    She's just a typical college student. If the average student dosn't know about the options, who does?

    You see, there was a time, believe it or not, where nobody knew what Napster was, either!

    That's right, it is possible for people to learn about more P2P networks and clients if you give them a chance to grow.

    Amazing, but true!
  • No, the Napster deal will totally kill all hope for subscription based services (unless Napster now fails). This is the sweatist deal t he music industry could possibly have brokered for themselves. They _need_not_sign_any_new_artists_
    to make money. Specifically, if I'm an independent musician whosells my own CDs then the music industry (not me) recieves all the money from Napster when people use Napster to transfer my songs.

    Actually, it's just as bad for artists who are signed by the music industry. The industry will never need to pay the artists for Napster based revinue. Why would the music industry ever make subscription based services where they might be forced to pay the artists for downloads. hell, they do not even need to pay for servers now since Napster is P2P.

    Finally, if some independent label did set up a subscription based service why would any consumers buy their shit when they can just pay the Napster tax and DL all the same stuff + the main stream stuff. The only way to fix this is for everyone to switch to IRC for file trading.

  • I would be prepared to pay for Napster, but in return I would like a defined QoS.

    You will always end up finding that the *only* live version of Jimi Hendrix playing the Star Spangled Banner at Atlanta, in greater than 64kbps (ugh), and that isn't truncated before the last bar finishes its EL34 plate-melting feedback wail, is gonna be coming from the fastest 28.8k connection from a user on a Zimbabwean ISP, where the backbone connection is accomplished with a k56Flex modem on a noisy dial-up line.

    And you, with your bidirectional cable, DSL or better, sitting there in front of an Internet connection where you're used to access that's almost as fast as reading stuff off your hard disk, will *still* have to sit there. Smoking cigarette after cigarette, sitting on your hands so that you don't move the mouse and somehow cause Windows to crash, you will each packet to safely make it down the rickety telephone lines from a 486SX-33 running on a portable generator in Africa, all the way across the Atlantic, and finally through all the myriad of hops to your machine.

    You lose a packet somewhere along the way. You see the transfer rate drop to 0.00. It stays there for a second, then resumes its blistering fast 0.08kbps. Great. Only 7 more hours of this hell to go through, afraid to touch your computer or any others sharing your Internet connection, lest the fragile connection get broken.

    And, of course, it does.

    Just as the anodes in the output stages of Jimi's Marshall stacks start to droop and short against the grids, the neighbor of the super-rich guy in the village picks up the telephone. The click on the party line is the click that is heard half a world away: Transfer Error!

    Napster is over.

  • by localroger ( 258128 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @02:54PM (#472799) Homepage
    That is truly hilarious. How perfectly you capture the irony that is the combination of wideband+napster.

    Of course, there is the other side. I collected a lot of our vinyl albums in MP3 for my girlfriend, who is album- rather than song-oriented. Some of her stuff is a tad obscure (Bob Dylan's Royal Albert Hall, or the pirate No Stone Unturned Stones album). You fight those Zimbabwean modems for a week or more, then one day...

    ...You search and there is not one, not two, but three folks with every single track, neatly labelled and numbered. User #1 is another Zimbabwean. You cancel the transfer and try user #2, and...

    vvvvVVVVVVRRRROOOOOMMMMMMMM the first transfer starts, 20kbps, 30kbps, levels out at 50kbps; the second starts, goes straight to 50kbps, the third starts, goes straight to 50kbps, the fourth naturally gets remotely queued but that doesn't matter, you are gripping the armrests and when transfer #1 finishes #2 kicks in, you rightclick #1 and play song, go to the library, take a few samples from different parts of the track, and the last bars are fading sweetly off into nontruncated bliss when you pop back to transfer and transfer #2 is finished and #5 has started, and within 10 minutes you have the entire album. Half an hour later you're popping the CD into the stereo for the female companion to admire. And life is good.

    Oh, and while I usually get 800kbps or so ratings from bandwidth meter websites, on Napster I often see exactly the 1.5mbps down and 200kbps up I'm promised by BellSouth for my DSL connection.

  • What about if by providing bandwidth, a user was credited some way towards their own napster subscription, i.e. if you serve over a certain threshold, you get a 50% discount on your napster subscription? Would that change the incentive level for being a host in a subscription napster world?

    I can see napster setting up serving brackets, with hosts that serve up a lot of files getting varying levels of discounts on their own napster subscriptions. Then the hosts would have an implicit incentive to provide a wide catalog of songs.

    What do the rest of you think of this?
  •'s the CPU speed for doing the MP3 encoding. The MP3 format is designed so that it takes quite a bit more horsepower to encode a song than to play it. My 450MHz Celeron makes short work of playing MP3's, but using all the resources it takes close to real listening time to encode them. A GHz level CPU with better cache would cut this some, but not enough to not be a nuisance. As the guy said, Napster (like a MP3 player) runs in the background. MP3 rippers don't.
  • by emufreak ( 83564 )
    The Napster/Bertelsmann Q&A [] says this:

    Will Napster continue to offer a free service?
    Yes! We are committed to creating a system in which users can choose to participate without paying any money. We realize that Napster is nothing without its user community -- you make us what we are. However, for a small membership fee we feel that we can facilitate an enhanced service that you'll find even more valuable and that will allow us to generate revenues to be able to make payments to artists and songwriters for music files that our users share with each other. We are working with Bertelsmann and other potential allies in an effort to work out the details of how all this will work and we will, of course, keep you fully informed as details become available.
  • This rant applies to all, not the person above.

    Which still does not remove the fact that:

    1. Music costs money to make.
    2. Artists get paid to play music.
    3. Record companies get paid to distribute music.
    4. You pay for CD that artists make.

    ooppss...silly me. Why pay for music when you can download it for free?

    Now for the facts:

    1. Stealing is illegal.
    2. If you take the CD from the store it is stealing.
    3. If you take the CD from your neighbors house without them knowing, it is stealing.
    4. If your neighbor lends you his CD and you give it back without making an exact copy that never wears out, it is NOT stealing.

    So, now that we all agree on the rules here, how is giving out the music on Napster not illegal? Hmmm? Why I suppose it is. To "jump ship" because Napster asks you to pay for what you would have paid in the store for is saying "I don't want to pay for it. I want it free."

    Well, the rules don't allow for it. You are stealing. End of game.

    At least admit you are stealing and don't cover it with any namby pamby socialist "everyone deserves music for free" crap. If I install a piece of software on my PC that I did not buy and I get in trouble for it I am not going to say "But they make enough money as it is!" You are a thief now shut up. Everything else is just whining.

    The whole problem with the Napster argument is that people actually try and defend the stealing of the music. At least admit what you are doing and don't try to legitimize it.

    I am certainly not going to spend 8 hours a day doing what I do for free. If you ask these artists to do the same, but are not willing to pay for what you get, then you don't deserve to be called anything more than a whiny freeloader. Get up off your ass, start a digital distribution center where all you need money for is to cover the cost of distributing the music and that way you can spend all your profits on paying the artist. Oh yeah, you don't believe in paying. Silly me. I hope some day your career becomes something that people demand you not get paid for.

    When I was a teacher people said "you didn't become one to become rich. You should be dedicated." That didn't put gas in my car and food on my table. I need money to live. To ask these people not to get paid is no different. I can't wait for the day when you demand that the Internet be free, or that computers cost $50, or that all software be free. Get a grip...getting paid for what you do is how things work!

    Now admit it, you have no other answer than to say "screw you." Anything else you say will consist of:

    - They already make too much money.
    - I don't wanna pay!!!
    - Why should I pay Napster when I am essentially paying to offer my files? Where is my money? (This one makes me laugh because it violates your own argument against having to pay for something you can get for free. I thought trying to make money was wrong?)
    - I don't want to line the pockets of the company!

    Give me one good reason why you DESERVE this service for free that does not include anything about how much money someone else is making. And don't bring up the fair use are downloading the songs without any intention of paying for the CD nearly 9 times out of 10. How is that fair use? Fair use is fine as long as someone gets paid eventually. A DJ buys the CD so the artist gets paid, even though hundreds may hear the song each night. The radio station has to pay. Everyone else pays except you!

    I say make the song free but make you listen to an ad at the beginning. Nah, the you will whine about having to listen to the ad. Go out and work for free and tell me how it feels.

    When I taught I had a student tell me he stood in line for the free cheese being given to poor families. I taught very rich kids. I said "that was meant for those who can't afford to eat." He said, "But it was free." I said, "But you don't need it and others do." And he said "But it was free. Why should I pay for it if it is free?" And I said "If you had $1000 in your pocket and someone was giving out $5 dollars to anyone who said they needed money for food, would you ask for the $5 because it was free?" And he said "Heck yeah! They are giving it away, aren't they?"

    It was then and there that I decided that America was morally corrupt in many areas.

    Forget it...the best I can do is to raise a child who knows better and wont lie. Me? I use Napster, I know why I use it, and I will pay for the service. I wont hide behind some ideal because I am too much of a coward to admit that I just don't wanna pay for what others make? When are you going to learn that everything costs somebody something to produce. All the free services out there will eventually go away when they cannot support themselves. Hell, even Slashdot has to make money to stay alive. How long will Andover/VA Linux be able to keep the money flowing? When they cannot and they sell this site to someone else, what then? WIll all of you pay CmdrTaco and Roblimo to keep Slash alive for you? Would Slash have survived if they had not been bought? No...we all are expected to show some value eventually. When VA Linux cannot say "These web sites strengthen our business" they will sell. You and your kind will just jump to the next free thing. And you will be the next in line to eat the cheese.


  • so anyway, I don't think that emusic is going to be doing high-quality mp3s, anytime soon, which will stop me from subscribing, but other than that, it looks like a pretty excellent service!
    This would depend on your definition of "soon" (and it ain't up to me to do product announcements), but this is definitely in the works. They're re-ripping the entire backcatalog of CDs (and yeah, this time the wavs are being archived).
  • by batmn42 ( 158573 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @07:33PM (#472834) Homepage
    Wow I think you're right!! 10 bucks a month would be a pretty good deal from Bertelsmann..

    Wait, while I was typing this, my friend just told me about some deal that gets you 12 CDs for JUST ONE CENT!!!! Man if everyone knew about this, we probably wouldn't need Napster anymore!

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson