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Music Media

The Nine Lives of Napster 309

lisa langsdorf writes "There's an interesting article on BusinessWeek.com today about Napster's race to gain greater market share in the music download business. According to a recent study, Apple has 75% of the pay for music download market, but Napster could soon gain more market share due to a new upcoming market push. BusinessWeek says: 'Napster could start to increase market share in the more profitable business of selling monthly subscriptions, where customers can listen to -- but not own -- as many songs as they want each month for $9.95. While Napster is far behind RealNetworks' Rhapsody service, AOL's MusicNet, and others, it's taking the lead again in the old Napster's stomping ground: college campuses.'"
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The Nine Lives of Napster

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  • Does anyone know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by namidim ( 607227 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:01PM (#8443970)
    How a monthly subscribtion eventually filters down to the artists? It seems such a system would make it hard to do the "for each time a user listens to X's song they get hit with a bat by the RIAA" analysis.
    • by skink1100 ( 259238 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:03PM (#8443995)
      > How a monthly subscribtion eventually filters down to the artists?

      The artists get a monthly "attaboy" form letter from the RIAA.

      • The artists get a monthly "attaboy" form letter from the RIAA.

        Which, knowing how the RIAA works, probably says, "Your $350 monthly membership dues must be paid in full by tomorrow, or we will not forward your $9.37 royalty check this month."

    • by TheLinuxSRC ( 683475 ) <slashdot.pagewash@com> on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:13PM (#8444118) Homepage
      How a monthly subscribtion eventually filters down to the artists?

      That is an excellent point and might I add another. It seems the public wants, no, demands portability with their music. Are you supposed to only listen to Napster's offerings on your computer or do they have some DMX/Napster thing-a-majig coming? And if so we are back to "How do we pay the artist?".

      just my thoughts....
      • My music is portable.

        1) I can log in to any Windows computer, install the software, login and up come all my playlists

        2) I'm in front of the computer 6-10 hours a day at work and my computer at home is connected to my stereo, most hours of may day were I could listen to music are covered

        3) Wireless net will eventually make it to my car giving me access from my car

        4) http://www.listen.com/wireless.jsp?sect=main

        I've had Rhapsody for about 8 months now. I've listened to close to 2000 songs. Either I woul
    • These people seem to have the most difficult time usderstanding that the music business is over.

      There has been a order of magnitude change in the price that people are willing to pay for pre-recorded music. This change happened in 1997-2000 when the combination of MP3, CD rippers, Napster, and $100 CD burners came into public consciousness at the same time.

      In other words, people aren't going to pay $18 for a CD or $1 for a song. They will pay $1.80 for a CD and 18 cents for a song.

      This is th
  • Cool... (Score:2, Insightful)

    Because as we all know if you can listen to it...then you can record it :) Not that i would do such a thing...but im sure somebody here can figure out the end run on this model :)
    • Re:Cool... (Score:3, Funny)

      by MikeXpop ( 614167 )
      Yes. And then you have a hug WAV the quality of a 128 Kbps WMA, or you have an mp3 whose quality can be compared to a robot fscking your ear.
  • Sorry... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BigZaphod ( 12942 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:02PM (#8443983) Homepage
    ..but I am entirely uninterested in NOT owning my music. I like Apple's model a lot. And, thanks to Pepsi, I've even bought some songs from them now and it works wonderfully. If I had a job, I'd probably be buying music from them on a regular song-by-song basis. But I don't. So for now, I use bottle caps with codes that my girlfriend gives me. :-)
    • Re:Sorry... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by stevesliva ( 648202 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:13PM (#8444120) Journal
      I forsee that I'll be about as interested in owning music as I am in owning an encyclopedia. Welcome to the on demand world.
      • Re:Sorry... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phatsharpie ( 674132 )
        Hmm... But what if you have to pay $9.95 a month (on top of your ISP charges) for said encyclopedia?

      • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cnkeller ( 181482 ) <cnkeller@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:31PM (#8444353) Homepage
        I forsee that I'll be about as interested in owning music as I am in owning an encyclopedia. Welcome to the on demand world.

        I didn't read the article, nor do I have any plans on checking out the service. Having said that, this is a pretty lame analogy for most of us. I can't recall the last time I wanted to jam out with a good article on the Vietnam War while cruising up highway 280 to san francisco. But, when I feel like listening to Front 242 (hello 90's music) and putting the transmission in to Sport mode, thank god I have my iPod and a non-RF interface. And when was the last time you wanted to share a good piece of reference material at a party?

        Let's face it, a lot of things *may* work on demand (movies seem to be what most people think of), but music is something that people like to share in a portable fashion: in the car, at a party, on the boat, wherever you spend your time.

      • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:34PM (#8444386)

        What does on-demand get you, really? It depends on your listening habits. Let's say you are starting from a blank slate, and have no music.

        After three years of subscribing to Napster, you are still no better off than you were when you first started. You have paid out $360.

        If you had spent this money with Apple, you'd have 360 songs on your hard drive, that would be in a lossy format, but otherwise yours to do with as you please.

        If you had spent this money on CDs, you'd have around 25 albums, or approximately 300 songs. These songs would be completely unrestricted in what you could do with them, be in a non-lossy format, and able to be stored in a reasonably secure manner.

        With the case of Napster, you end up with nothing, and they could go out of business at any time. However, you get to hear a wide variety of songs.

        With the case of Apple, you end up with a lower-quality format than CDs, but you get the files to keep. You start out with a small selection of songs, but it widens each time you spend money. If your hard drive crashes, you've lost them all, unless you back up. If you back them up to CD, you should be aware that CDRs have a dramatically lower life than silver CDs.

        With the case of CDs, you keep a high-quality copy of the songs that belong to you, they last much longer than CDRs, and are less susceptible to scratches/sulight/etc. However, you have to go outdoors to buy them, or wait for them to be delivered. There is the same problem as Apple, in that you start of with a limited selection of songs, but this constantly grows.

        So basically, if you only listen to a few albums at a time, and you want to own your music collection, then Napster is right out. Apple is cheaper, but CDs have significant benefits. Apple is more suited to the impulse buy than CDs (when you are sitting in front of your computer, of course).

        But you need to look at the wider picture. The people who want a constantly changing selection of songs, or to listen to stuff that was released just the other day, already have something to satisfy those urges - radio. Given the combination of radio and Apple/CDs, it's very difficult to see what value Napster is offering.

        • Re:Sorry... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by stevesliva ( 648202 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:20PM (#8444953) Journal
          What I really want is micropayments for what I actually listen to. I don't want to buy the music, I don't want it filling up my HD with obsolescent formats, and I don't want a montly subscription. I want to listen to at most three hours of music a day, and I want this to turn out to cost extremely little to me, but to allow the content providers and artists to profit. I also want this for cable TV, where only couch potatoes get their money's worth.
        • Re:Sorry... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Graff ( 532189 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:01PM (#8445378)
          If you had spent this money on CDs, you'd have around 25 albums, or approximately 300 songs. These songs would be completely unrestricted in what you could do with them, be in a non-lossy format, and able to be stored in a reasonably secure manner

          First of all, the AIFF audio in a CD is a lossy format. You can't sample music at any bitrate and expect to retain all of the information. A 44kHz 16 bit sampled song (the format used by CD audio)only retains the frequencies below 22kHz, due to Nyquist sampling issues. You also get some aliasing of the music which produces artifacts.
          With the case of Apple, you end up with a lower-quality format than CDs, but you get the files to keep.

          Since Apple gets the majority of its song directly from studio masters you are going to tend to get quality which is about as good as that on a CD. This is because even though the AAC files are considerably compressed they are compressed in such a way that they only "lose" the portions of the audio which you are not likely to hear in the first place. CD audio samples the music mechanically and pays no attention to how the result sounds. AAC encoding is very good at retaining the original sound of the master. Yes you might hear some artifacts but you would also hear artifacts if you compared CD audio to the original masters.

          I look at buying songs through iTunes this way: I'm going to want to encode the song to put on my iPod anyways so why go through the bother of encoding it myself? If I buy a CD it costs more and I'm encoding from one lossy medium (CD audio) to another (AAC). Not only that but I also have to take the time to go to the store, buy the CD, and put it in my computer to rip it. If I buy through the iTunes Music store all this is done for me, at less cost, and directly from studio masters. I've also been getting free songs through Pepsi and exclusive tracks through Apple. It seems like a good deal to me.
      • Re:Sorry... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by shaper ( 88544 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:38PM (#8444426) Homepage

        I forsee that I'll be about as interested in owning music as I am in owning an encyclopedia. Welcome to the on demand world.

        False comparison, not insightful. I don't read the encyclopedia while driving to work in the morning. I don't read the encyclopedia while jogging or riding a bike. I don't read the encyclopedia for hours on end just for simple entertainment. I don't go to concerts to watch a live encyclopedia performance.

        And like a LOT of other people, I would not pay for a subscription to an encyclopedia, either.

      • Re:Sorry... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Daytona955i ( 448665 )
        Let's see... how often do you refer to an encyclopedia? How often do you listen to music? If the answer to both those questions is almost never then you've earned the right to STFU (Shut the fine up for the acronym impared)

        I bet you are also likely to pay a monthly subscription to access an encyclopedia aren't you? How are the two related? It boggles my mind to think that you said I don't want to own music just like I don't want to own an encyclopedia.

        I mean sure, when cd's first came out, everyone had an
    • Don't forget 7-11. They have Pepsi cups for their fountain drinks. I'm a coke drinker, but I use the 32 oz pepsi cup and still get the free songs from pepsi, all whilst drinking my coke :-D
      • Re:Sorry... (Score:3, Funny)

        by grub ( 11606 )

        Coke in a Pepsi cup? Philistine.
    • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chester K ( 145560 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:19PM (#8444188) Homepage
      ..but I am entirely uninterested in NOT owning my music.

      I am. I'd rather pay $9.95 a month and have access to the label's entire catalog for streaming for as long as I want to pay $9.95 a month, than pay a dollar per song.

      It breaks down to the price of about 10 "bought" songs per month, or 120 "bought" songs per year. Compared to my MP3 library of 3000+ songs, I'd have to subscribe for well over 20 years before it'd be cheaper for me to have just bought all that music outright.
      • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Informative)

        by GreenCrackBaby ( 203293 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:22PM (#8444966) Homepage
        I'd rather pay $9.95 a month and have access to the label's
        entire catalog

        Not agreeing or disagreeing with you here, just pointing out that with Napster, if you pay the $9.95 per month you actually aren't given access to the entire catalogue. Many songs appear to be marked as "purchase only".

        Food for thought...

    • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Saeed al-Sahaf ( 665390 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:31PM (#8444346) Homepage
      ..but I am entirely uninterested in NOT owning my music.

      Well, I'm sorry, but you don't own your music unless you made it. What you do own is a copy of the music and a license to listen to it under certain conditions specified by the copyright owner. This includes all that vinyl (you do know what "vinyl" is, right?) and your CD collection as well.

      • Re:Sorry... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Michael Hunt ( 585391 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:44PM (#8445195) Homepage

        If you buy an album, you own it. Period. You can do whatever the fuck you want with it. Period. It is yours.

        Copyright law introduces some restrictions on what you're allowed to do with the intangible content on it; the aim, of course, is to guarantee the producer a limited monopoly on the ability to produce said album.

        Let me repeat that. You do not license CDs. You own them.

        I could take a photo of me putting my wang between a pair of Cindi Lauper CDs and that wouldn't violate your hypothetical license.
  • Now that /. has given away the secret (marketing on college campuses) Napster won't be able to get that market share after all! Oh, woe is Napster! ;)
    • I'm on a college campus, and I don't know anybody who uses or would use the new Napster. However, iTunes is quite large. On our dorm subnet, there's probably around 50 people sharing their iTunes playlists at any given time. Given that that gives pretty much the same benefits as Napster would, there's just no benefit to using Napster besides "legality".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:02PM (#8443992)
    While Napster is far behind RealNetworks' Rhapsody service, AOL's MusicNet, and others

    It's gotta hurt pretty bad when Real is considered better than you!
  • Just curious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:03PM (#8443996) Journal
    Why all the hooplah about all these "me-too" online music downloading businesses?

    I mean, I know you all are stiff for Apple, so anything they do just has to be covered as innovative and cool. But Napster is not napster anymore, the name was merely bought.

    Big fricking deal.

    I just dont care that the new Napster is going to start a big marketing push. That's what businesses do, duh.
    • But Napster is not napster anymore, the name was merely bought.

      I'm glad someone has finally pointed this out. The "new napster" is actually run by Roxio, the folks that make EasyCD Creator for Windows and Toast for Mac.

      Now if only the Nero guys would show us what a real music store could look like....!!
  • Beam Back (Score:5, Informative)

    by selphish189 ( 754989 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:03PM (#8444000)
    You should be able to just use beam back to... well... beam back the streaming media (if that is in fact how napster does it) onto your computer. You can dowload it at www.freshmeat.net.
    • Re:Beam Back (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Shados ( 741919 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:07PM (#8444047)
      Good tip. And if that doesnt work, well...it wouldnt give good quality...but the way I see it...(and many already mentionned), just take an analog wire going from where you plug your speaker to, let say, the line 2 input of a front panel of an audigy platinum (or superior equivalent) and record from that source... Anything software-based would be screwed right there o.O Unless of course it doesnt work on the computer at all... In any case, I thought why on-line music stores caught with the general population was because you could burn CDs of the songs... I dont like that, but so many do, or need to (older car cd player, etc), so well, if its streaming, people who cant get around it cant really enjoy it... Just my two cents.
  • Local record shops are getting out of the store fronts and turning into online only shops. dealing with fickle connoisseurs.

    Apple sells hardware.

    Face it, there is no room for Napster anymore. The era of pirating and sound liberation, where Napster ruled (well, AudioGalaxy did for me) is over. :(

  • Is Napster Secure? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bfree ( 113420 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:04PM (#8444004)
    Can you simply subscribe to napster and stream the content to disc, thus illegally "buying" it? It's not that I want to do this, it's just that I would imagine that if people cannot do this (or have to go d2a2d to do it) then their market will always be much smaller than the stores, if however you can rip off the content then I imagine many users will go that route as a cheaper way to get their hands on music that's slightly more legal than simply going peer to peer. Come to think of it, can you just timeshift the napster content legally? I presume not as you can control it's delivery but ...
    • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) * on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:09PM (#8444071)
      It looks like it uses WMA, which has fairly good DRM. Screws people who aren't on Windows 2000/XP of course, but I guess they consider people using Windows 98, Linux or MacOS not mainstream enough (or more likely, the underlying OS not DRM-secure enough).
      • Lets see it's as trivial as looping back the SPDIF out to the in at worst. Yes you will have some recompression artifacts but since to many people accept 128kbit mp3 as sounding good enough I doubt you will change that much.

        But realy isn't windows 98 still a huge segment of the internet connected PC's Even 2000 is only passing 4 years old now and thats at a time when a lot of people havent been upgrading simply because the PIII 500 running windows 98 is fast enough to run internet and word proccessing.
      • Not trying to imply that I like Windows Media, or enjoy using DRMed WMA streams or anything, but Windows Media [microsoft.com] does work on Macintosh.

        In particular:

        Support for Digital Rights Management
        Plays secure content protected with Microsoft Windows Media Rights Manager version 1.3.

        Interestingly, there is no indication on the Windows Windows Media Player 9 pages as to which version of the Windows Media Rights Manager they are using.

  • by xeaxes ( 554292 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:04PM (#8444009)

    Napster could start to increase market share in the more profitable business of selling monthly subscriptions, where customers can listen to -- but not own -- as many songs as they want each month for $9.95.

    Like most people, I buy around 4 - 5 CD's a year. This totals about 50 - 60 bucks. For me to pay $10 per month, I would have to own the music to justify the $120 per year cost.

    I believe that most people, much like myself, would like to own their music. I want to put it on any device I want. I want as many copies as I need. And, I want it available anytime, anywhere. When these companies figure that out, then they will start making money from me. Until then, I will continue to buy the 4-5 cds I deem worthy.

    • Worse is the huge problem that people who pirates the music can do that, people who buy it are bound by all those limitations... I totally despises piracy, software or music, RIAA or not...but its just annoying when people who screw the system get to do things I cannot, that seem rather fair to me... (for now you mostly still can...but this DRM thingny is starting get restrictive for my taste, if amazingly easy to bypass...) I usualy end up buying the DRMed music, then getting rid of the DRM by a mean or an
    • hehe... especially because if instead of payin $120/year you bought those 4-5 cd's off of something like iTunes ($10/album) you'd only pay about $50. Therefore not only would you own the songs (and be able to burn them to disc) you'd save yourself about $70, enough to buy 7 more albums. (or 70 individual songs).

      I never really got why anyone bought napster... the whole reason it was popular was because the songs were FREE. Illeagal but free... now you have the stigma of illegal music attached with the name
  • I will not buy DRM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by reub2000 ( 705806 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:05PM (#8444013)
    I will not buy from these places. I have no problem with paying for music, it's that I don't want DRM. If any of these places where to sell me music without drm, I would buy it.
    • by wongaboo ( 648434 )
      I don't know about Napster but I find it easy to recode my AAC's from Apple's itunes music store as MP3's. Bye bye DRM.
    • ... I have no problem with paying for music, it's that I don't want DRM. If any of these places where to sell me music without drm, I would buy it.

      You may be interested to know they are still selling these things called "compact discs" as well as "albums". You are still free to purchase these, despite what the Music Download Curmudgeon Club on /. may lead you to think.

      How about, as well as not supporting the current crop of musics sites, all who feel as this gent does, quit repeatedly posting said fact

    • by TedCheshireAcad ( 311748 ) <ted@nOSpaM.fc.rit.edu> on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:19PM (#8444938) Homepage
      I will not buy songs online,
      I will not buy them any time.

      I will not buy them from iTunes,
      I will not buy them from tycoons.

      I will not buy them on a Mac,
      I will not buy them, even in FLAC.

      I will not buy them from Napster,
      I will not buy them any faster.

      I will not buy songs online,
      I will not buy them any time.
  • Brand name (Score:5, Interesting)

    by funny-jack ( 741994 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:05PM (#8444016) Homepage
    Napster the music-sharing service used to be cool. Now, it's nothing more than a Brand Name [target.com]. That's not nine lives, that's just someone profiting off of an established name. Sad.
  • Hmm, sounds like a motto for catster, dogster [slashdot.org]'s competitor
  • And when you... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Creepy Crawler ( 680178 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:06PM (#8444037)
    Unsubscribe, you lose all 'rights' to play?

    Dont do DRM.
    • Unsubscribe, you lose all 'rights' to play?

      So when you stop paying, your music is no longer yours? How lame is that.. at least Apple doens't force you to buy in order keep your music. The Napster model forces you to keep paying in order to enjoy what you have. In addition, you have to pay Napster in order to listen to internet radio. With Apple iTunes, internet radio stations are free, plus you can stream your music (bought, ripped, or downloaded from whereever) with anyone on your LAN) for FREE, plus you
      • the music is never really yours to being with. The subscription is not a download model, it's like XM satellite radio, but with more control over what you listen to. The only way to get locally stored audio files would be to crack the DRM (illegal under DMCA) or run an audio cable from line-out to line-in on your sound card (which should be legal under fair use, but probably isn't any more under DMCA).
    • Well, think of it more like cable TV or satellite radio. You never owned anything to begin with, it was just broadcast to you. So, if you don't pay your cable bill, the company shuts off your television. You haven't lost anything. When you decide to start paying again, you have access to everything you had before.

      Want to switch music services, no problem. But, you might have to deal with a different selection of artists. Like a song and want to listen to it whenever? Buy it.

      For the record, I suppor
  • by gpinzone ( 531794 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:10PM (#8444079) Homepage Journal
    While Napster is far behind RealNetworks' Rhapsody service, AOL's MusicNet, and others, it's taking the lead again in the old Napster's stomping ground: college campuses.

    Wow! I never knew there were so many ways to use your hard earned money to buy poorly encoded music. BTW, are the college campuses they speak of from the days of the free and illegal Napster or the new and legit one?
  • by screwballicus ( 313964 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:10PM (#8444085)
    From the article:

    Penn State University and the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music intend to offer free Napster subscriptions to thousands of students in coming months. These are just pilot programs, and Roxio granted big discounts that will keep profits negligible at best, say insiders. But the hope is that the students will become paying customers for years to come. "Smart," says Kenswill.

    A college endorsing and paying for a private entertainment service of this sort? This is a school of music, but billing Napster as academic resource seems a little questionable. Unless I miss my guess, Napster's unlikely to have deals with the world's great bastions of classical music performance. Another example of an academic institution adopting a policy of private endorsement.
    • I'm pretty sure these schools are public universities as well. With that said, I read "questionable" as "conflict of interest". Maybe we should call the GAO.
    • his is a school of music, but billing Napster as academic resource seems a little questionable.

      In all fairness, all that "free" music from the original Napster was costing universities millions of dollars in wasted bandwidth and imposed an enormous risk of legal exposure. Making deals with Roxio might well free up a lot of academic IT resources that had been hijacked by file trading.

      And before some armchair sysadmin objects that "new" Napster will consume as much or more bandwidth than "old" Napster, it
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:11PM (#8444097)
    Posted Anon for obvious reasons.

    Why should I even bother with any of these pay for download schemes? Lets be serious here.

    They dont provide any CONSUMER Benifit over the "shady" p2p services.

    They give me no incentive to switch. The quality of the files are oft worse then what i can get illegally. You pay for something, and dont get anything tangible in return. The selection is severly limited. And there are file restrictions.

    There is a very easy way to fix this whole problem. Put up a "donate" button on artist's websites so I can fling them a few bucks.

    Unfortunatly, due to politics, this is mindboggingly complex. Im getting really tired of putting up with half-assed efforts that are simply a mediocre nod to the population.

    Remember, we are fighting with people who think that free, instant, worldwide access to much of the art created in the past 100 years is a BAD THING.

    ugh. just ugh.
    • by e6003 ( 552415 )
      I'd also point out that I have been downloading heaps of free, and legal, music from Sharing The Groove [sharingthegroove.org] and ETree [etree.org]. It's mostly music from bands that permit taping and distribution of their concerts. It's a great way to try out new music as well. If I wasn't unemployed I might retaliate by buying some concert tickets... Sorry Napster. Even if you weren't WMA-only you still don't have the sort of music I want to listen to.
    • by fupeg ( 653970 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:56PM (#8445318)
      You're absolutely correct that the biggest reason people choose to buy their music instead of getting via p2p is for moral/legal reasons, not because of its "consumer" benefit. There are some convenience reasons too, at least for iTunes.
      • It is far easier to search for something on iTunes, especially non-Top 40 music.
      • The downloads are almost always faster, sometimes dramatically so, especially for non-Top 40 stuff where you are probably only downloading from one person.
      • It is more secure. You are not opening up your computer to some virus/worm that is p2p aware.
      • Quality controls. Ok so maybe you're not satisfied with 128 kbs AAC. I won't get into the debate about the quality of such files. However, at least you're not going to get a messed up rip, or a partial song, or a song that claims to be 320 kbps stereo but turns out to be 64 kpbs mono. You're not going to get Madonna cursing you out either.
      • Combining the two points above, you don't have to worry about downloading something with a virus.
      • Download albums. If you want to download all of The Shins album, you don't have to go and search for them song by song. Buying a whole album is trivial on iTunes, just as easy as downloading a single song.
  • Are people really going to accept some artificial limit on the number of times you can listen to a song or view a video? You know there's a great deal of money behind the idea in order to put us all in line, but come on now.

    Half the fun of discovering/enjoying new music is turning your friends on to it. For me anyway ...

    I understand the need for these distribution companies to cling to the idea of control and taxing our enjoyment habits, but they need to dig deeper when they think about a possible business model that will work for the artists, themselves, and most importantly the consumer ...

  • As S Jobs says... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by computerme ( 655703 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:13PM (#8444126)
    You RENT an apartment, you BUY music...

    I'm now over 250 song purchased from the itunes music store and still think its the closest thing to digital music nirvana there is.

    Very liberal DRM (that still protects the artist), cheap, Incredbile round tripping between itunes software and the ipod and the list goes on...

    Scott "how's buymusic.com doing now?" Blum can kiss my itunes using behind. It still cracks me up when i think of the shameful buymusic.com launch and the quotes that were attributed to him....

    • Re:As S Jobs says... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by spinspin ( 624028 )
      http://www.downhillbattle.org/itunes/ "iTunes music store. Facelift for a corrupt industry"
      • blah blah blah... how much money do commerical artists get via kazaa?

        If apple tried to "change the way musicians get paid" when they launched itunes, there would be a grand total of 14 songs on the itunes store instead of today's half million dollar total...

    • You RENT an apartment, you BUY music... I'm now over 250 song purchased from the itunes music store and still think its the closest thing to digital music nirvana there is.

      You don't own that music. What you get from iTMS is a long license to play that music on a narrow range of hardware device. You are buying a subscription, only instead of a monthly fee you pay a one-off license fee.

      Don't believe me? Try reselling what you have "bought".
  • Napster is dead (Score:3, Informative)

    by paradesign ( 561561 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:14PM (#8444135) Homepage
    Thats all there is to it. It had its time, it made its splash, its part of our collective history now.

    There is nothing Napster-like about 2.0, NOTHING. I think someone should sue them for false advertising, because Napster is supposed to be synonymous with free.

  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:16PM (#8444151)
    How does free subscriptions at two universities translate into "it's taking the lead again in the old Napster's stomping ground: college campuses."

    Hell, I had an inch-thick binder full of 9-point type with just a few day' worth of 'classic' napster download logs "back-in-the-day" at a teensie campus... the lead is a long way off.
  • Why... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rick Zeman ( 15628 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:18PM (#8444181)
    ...should campuses be buying music subscriptions for their students? Do they buy magazines, etc? Nope. I see things like that and then see the universities plead poverty....
  • by orthogonal ( 588627 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:19PM (#8444192) Journal
    Napster could start to increase market share in the more profitable business of selling monthly subscriptions, where customers can listen to -- but not own -- as many songs as they want each month for $9.95

    Of course it's more profitable -- you're tied to the service by an umbilical cord, and as soon as you stop paying, you lose all access to the music, no matter how much you've paid up to that point!

    There's a reason Americans are so big on the home buying thing: they don't want to pay rent for the rest of their lives.

    Let's do some math: $10/month = $120/year = $1200/decade. So if after paying my 1200 bucks, I decide to stop subscribing -- or Napster goes out of business, then I have, let's do some more math: squat! No music for my money.

    And of course, my subscription won't work at work -- my employer won't want the bandwidth cost of my streaming --, and it won't work on my portable, because it'll all be DRM'd streams.

    If I want to listen without owning, there's this thing called radio. Since that's almost wholly dominated by Clear Channel Homogeneity, I re-phrase: Internet radio.

    But no way will I subscribe to ephemeral music encumbered by Digital Restrictions Management.

    • Well, how about these analogies:
      Why would anyone pay to go skydiving? After the jump is over, do you still own that jump and can you make it again for free? No. After eating a meal at a nice restaurant, do you own the meal and can you eat it again? Not unless you are some kind of twisted sicko. Why go to a concert? You can't (legally) repeat that experience for free.

      Music in the format Napster is selling is an experience, something that can't really be owned. You pay to enjoy music. What have you t
  • I honestly have to believe that Napster's college program is overrated. Woo hoo, I am a college student and I get to stream songs but I can legally save them (sure there are ways to save the stream but let's save that discussion for another day.) So I stream one song and think it's pretty cool but damnit, I have to pay for it "again" and it will only be in the WMA format.

    I say again because don't believe that I haven't in some direct or indirect way contributed monetarily to the ability to stream songs. Wh
  • 1. Although Napster was shut down, I know a large number of people who still remember it fondly. (My own father particularly loved Napster, and was enraged that it was shut down.)
    2. Having to keep track of payment will complicate the new Napster.
    3. Napster's strength was in it's population. Unless they can get a big following, they'll be rather useless.

    If I had to gamble on it, I would bet 1 to 4 against this new Napster.
    • If I was a betting man I would bet that the only similarity between the old Napster and the new Napster will be the name and the logo.

      Odds are it will be (no, I didn't RTFA) a streaming media subscription where the company has almost enough servers and almost enough bandwidth to provide you with streaming audio that you can listen to as often as you like, any song on their list, 24x7. Some kind of propriatary player (no, can't download them to your Rio or iPod) program on your Windows 2000/XP computer tha
  • Why would I pay for something I don't even download for free? The abysmal quality of the generally shared (legal or illegal) music files only takes one or two listens before you'd rather go listen to a Mariah Cary CD.

    Even the MP3s/OGGs I've created myself at the highest quality levels possible are still noticably shy of true CD quality in many cases, and that level of quality is rarely available via downloads. The only reason to have them is to carry large amounts around with you, to play on largely sub-s

  • by cenonce ( 597067 ) <.anthony_t. .at. .mac.com.> on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:24PM (#8444250)
    iTunes has streaming music for free anyway. Frankly, 9.95 a month for songs I can't download and listen to when I want is about as good as listening to the local radio station.

  • by morcheeba ( 260908 ) * on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:24PM (#8444260) Journal
    It's been 3 1/2 years since napster was shut down [wired.com] -- with a 4-year college, that means that anyone who used the old napster will be graduating out in about 2 1/2 months. This doesn't leave a lot of time for the new napster to get traction on the coattails of the old, especially when iTunes has been out since before the beginning of the school year.
  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:25PM (#8444275) Homepage Journal
    Thank God the world isn't run by those who predict, semi-predict, or produce weasel-word predictions that can be plausibly denied.

    "While praising Apple's service, analysts caution that its success won't necessarily transfer completely to the Windows environment." - John Borland, c|net news, 7/28/03

  • by overbyj ( 696078 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:26PM (#8444280)
    because comparing Naptser to iTunes in the pay download market versus the pay stream market is moot. If you, Apple has a marketshare of 0 in the pay stream market. Basically, Apple says "so what" to that. I am happy with the ability to listen to radio streams and not rent music. Napster can increase their marketshare all they want in the pay stream business because in the end, I think that market will dry up after people realize "Hey, I am basically paying for selected radio."

    Good luck Napster on that one because you are going to need after losing $15 million last year. Here's to hoping that you find many more suckers in the pay stream market.
  • by heldlikesound ( 132717 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:30PM (#8444333) Homepage
    This sentence is so dumb and useless.

    "According to a recent study, Apple has 75% of the pay for music download market, but Napster could soon gain more market share due to a new upcoming market push."

    In other words, Apple is beating the crap out of Napster right now, but Napster might do better. They might do better because there are only three options, do better, do worse, or stay the same...
  • Can't "own" the songs? Not like we own them now..

    Besides, it's nothing one of these babies [radioshack.com] couldn't fix.

  • Napster on campus (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The whole napster on campus thing is silly. Only very long in the tooth graduate students remember napster at it's prime. Why would youngsters feel any bond with napster?
  • by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) * <jhummel@@@johnhummel...net> on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:35PM (#8444394) Homepage
    So let's go back a bit and look over the very short history of music downloading.

    First, people discovered MP3's. And that was good.

    Then they traded with each other via IRC and FTP systems.

    Then along came Napster, and automated the whole process.

    Then Napster went bye-bye.

    OK, I'm good so far. As of this point in history, the RIAA is making $0 additional dollars out of Internet downloads. Other services are trying out, like MP3.com and emusic.com and so on, but that's not helping the RIAA. Not that I'm terribly concerned about them myself, but I'm sure they are concerned about themselves.

    So then this happens:

    The rise of the subscriber services. For only $10 to $20 a month, get all the music (within reason, check your personal download service) you want to listen to, and if you want to listen and you're not connected to the Internet, well, tough, we need to verify you, and pity if you want more than maybe 3 machines all listening at once.

    Keep the music on your hard drive? Pish-posh! You must be insane.

    As we all know, subscriber services have pretty much crashed and burned. And this is the part I don't get:

    Why do those who prefer subscriber services keep trying to tell everybody else how great it is? Since Rhapsody and Real Network's service came out, it's been "the consumer will realize how great our service is, and they will come to us with great shedding of tears of joy, and we will ease their music needs with our streaming servers!"

    Except that people aren't rushing to subscriber services. Most of these services have just not been doing well.

    Moving on in history:

    Steve Jobs insults the RIAA in a speach, then introduces the iTunes Music Store, careful not to call it the "Apple" music store to keep "Apple Records" from sueing. It doesn't work, but as the iTunes Music Store sells 1,000,000 songs the first week, which when you think about how Rhapsody had 300,000 subscribers

    every, that's pretty cool

    So let's get back to Napster 2.0.

    Napster 2.0: "Invest in us! We sell music like Steve Jobs and his crew as well!"

    RIAA Members: "So how will you make money? Apple's making all of their money with the iPod."

    Napster 2.0: "Subscription services - people will love it! And then no more of that pesky downloading of music, since all music lovers are just thieves anyway, right?"

    RIAA Members: "Makes sense. Obviously the iTunes store will fail once people see the wonder of subscription services."

    Napster 2.0: "We're going to be rich!"

    So that's where we are. I know Micorosft likes Napster, and wants them to do well to peddle WMA to the world, and then there's the whole college thing.

    And once those college students leave the dorms? Will they say "Hey, let's pay $10 a month to Napster to keep listening to music!", or will they say either:

    A. I haven't had to pay for music in years, and now I can't listen to my old stuff. Streaming music stuff - I'll just download it off [insert P2P service here].


    B. Well, guess I'll have to buy the song. May as well use the iTunes store - it works with my iPod.

    Napster doesn't really have a "value added" reason to use them over iTunes. Sure, there are WMA devices out there, and I'd be surprised if the average man on the street can name you 1. No, not geeks - I'm sure I'll get calls of the "Archon Mega Zord Power MP3 player!" - average man on the street. Ask them what MP3 player works with Napster, and you'll either get blank looks, or "iPod", and then you'll scream and say "those only work with the iTunes store, you nitwit!"

    And then they'll say "Oh. Well, I guess I'll go there instead."

    Apple's got it all d

  • I saw prepaid Napster cards in the local conevience store the other day. Scary...
  • Why does a "market push" usually occur when your food is so bad you have to change your company name [kfc.com] or you raise your fees becuase your stock tanked [blockbuster.com]? I'd say that's what's happening here
    too [fuckedcompany.com]...
  • by gordguide ( 307383 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:37PM (#8444421)
    Am I just stupid, or is there some benefit to paid streaming? Exactly what added value do I get for $120/year over the hundreds, nay thousands, of streaming music stations I can get off the internet now?

    Is there some advantage to picking my own songs (ie I'm doing the DJ work here) versus logging into an all-Blues or all-Jazz or all-whatever streaming audio feed and forgetting about music 'till I shut down?

    Or does Napster offer an option to do that grunt work for you (which makes them exactly, and I mean exactly, the same as a free streaming radio station)?

    Sorry, I just don't get it. My $120 still buys 6 to 12 CDs a year (depending on whether they're new releases or older albums) and I can have my choice of internet radio stations, many of whom broadcast at 128 kbps.

    At least with the iTMS you can keep the songs; although I still bristle at paying anything for a lossy compressed version I'm not naeive enough to think that it's not good enough for many people.

    But streaming music is free, free, free right now. What am I missing here?
  • Apple is not winning the game with a superior song catalogue, superior interface, or the ethereal Apple "coolness" factor.

    They are winning because of the iPod, the slickest portable digital audio player in the game.

    It's the hardware.

    If I could go to Best Buy and browse from a selection of six to eight portable digital audio players that worked with Napster's DRM, and these products were reasonably affordable and well designed, Napster's bottom line would be much better off. Much better off if Napster go
  • Anyone else been flooded with SPAM about how the NEW NAPSTER Rocks (or something like that)???

    How low can they go? That is the BIGGEST turn off, SPAM.

  • by Ryan Amos ( 16972 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:40PM (#8444459)
    As much as they keep trying to reinvent themselves, it's obvious this is a company that is just trying to keep its head above water. It's not even really Napster anymore, and I think people realize that. Whoever owns Napster 2.0 mistakenly thought that Napster was a cultural icon, when in fact, it was simply the first in a string of "free music" programs. People who want to pay for the music use iTMS; it works better, has more name recognition and is "cool," unlike Napster. All Napster really had was its brand name, and now that brand name is associated with "selling out," which pretty much dooms any product based on an image of "cool" to a short lifespan.
  • College Campuses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brianles ( 758375 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @04:44PM (#8444529)
    " it's taking the lead again in the old Napster's stomping ground: college campuses."

    i'm surprised people haven't realized that college students don't have money. the reason why napster was so popular with college students was because of their broadband connection and because it was free. free (and illegal) methods spread like wildfire on campuses and so long as there's a cheaper or free alternative, i highly doubt napster will become as popular on campuses as it has in the past if at all.
  • by syates21 ( 78378 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:35PM (#8445643)
    Some people will shell out a subscription fee for satellite radio. Think of the 9.95 fee for Napster as "satellite" radio, where you get to pick all the songs in the playlist on demand.

    In those terms it doesn't seem quite as unreasonable.

    I used to be a Napster subscriber, but since I bought an iPod I cancelled (can't use the .wma's on the iPod). The ability to just listen to songs on a whim whenever I felt like it is something that I definitely miss with iTunes. In fact, Napster is pretty much a superset of the iTMS. You can still do non-subscription $0.99 downloads if youwant.
  • Lease Theory (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @07:10PM (#8446006) Homepage Journal
    Is anyone else around here sick and tired of the movement away from ownership to where everything is leased, for a monthly fee..

    If you dont own it, boycott it.

Your fault -- core dumped