NBC: Latest on Napster

IronMan Mike Curtis ironman@ironmancurtis.com
Sat Mar 10 18:27:52 EST 2001


It'll be interesting to see how this works.

First, I don't think the labels can stop songs based on title alone.
you can't copyright a title.  I can write my own Mannish Boy, Love Me
Tender, Moonlight Sonata, etc., withoiut infringing in the least on a
copyright.

So I'll guess that Napster will have to block <song title> by
<artist>.

That will stop songs made available by the good spellers.  but if
you've ever used Napster, you know that literacy is not exactly one
of the strong points of its users.  Do a search for "respect" by
"franklin", and be amazed by the many different spellings on
"arethia", "artha", "arteha", etc.  So all this will do, if my guess
is right, is cut down the size of the lists.  And once Napster users
get wise, I think you'll find a lot of other "misspellings" cropping
up.

But even if they do manage to shut down these songs and artists,
they'll still be available on other "peer to peer" software, such as
Gnutella, etc., all available on http://www.download.com and other
file servers.

RIAA has a golden opportunity to cash in on the most popular service,
the only one I know of where everything goes through a central
server, which is their only chance of cashing in on internet music
file swapping.  I really think they're blowing it.

I for one would be willing to pay a SMALL monthly fee, like $5,
possibly even $10 IF they'd provide GUARANTEED QUALITY files
themselves.  Many (most in fact) of the files on Napster just aren't
good quality - beginnings and endings chopped, errors/skips during
the song, improper titles and such, a total lack of information on
the songs, poor audio quality from cheap sound cards and slow
sampling rates, etc.

What Napster is good for is sampling music you weouldn't otherwise
buy, or finding out of print songs.  If you're a cheap college
student (needlessly redundant) with access to high speed internet
access of universities, Napster is reasonably fast and can save you a
lot of money on records.  BUT if Napster wasn't there, they'd just
swap CDs and cassettes, like always.

If you have a 56k modem AND a GOOD phone line, Napster is a pain.
The files take too long to download.  MORE than half the time the
transfer fails for some reason or other and you have to download the
WHOLE song over again.

If your phone line is poor, Napster is next to unusable.  the other
day someone sent me an instant message via Napster, in Spanish.  I
couldn't make it out, and (s)he didn't speak english.  I checked my
transfers and saw that (s)he was transferring a song of around 8
megs.  The transfer rate was WAY less than 1 kbps, meaning this
transfer would require _over_ EIGHT HOURS!  My best guess was that
(s)he was asking me to leave my computer on line (it had a LOT of
"por favor"'s in it.)

A few hours later, my machine crashed.

Right now, Napster is NOT a professional grade service.  It's roughly
like getting songs off the radio, except that you can "request" them.

As we've seen, Clear Channel does NOT announce the names of songs,
apparently with the long term larcenous intent of extorting money
from labels for the privilege of having titles and artists associated
with the music Clear Channel benefits from.  Without the music,
they'd all have to go Talk Radio, like we don't have too many of
these already.

Commercial radio has become dull and boring.  Some suit in an office
somewhere figures out what they need to be playing.  It's so
specialized that there's just no variety.  We even had one station
for a while that played NOTHING but THE BEATLES!  (Don't worry - it
didn't last :-)

I think as a direct consequence, listeners listen to less radio these
days.  I know I do.  I'd rather listen to my own CDs and tapes.


-IronMan Mike Curtis "I am not just impressed, I am totally amazed...
you had me completely speechless..." (review of web video by one of
Europes top harmonica players) http://www.IronmanCurtis.com/IMC10-06-00.rm
Slide guitar/4 pt harmony http://www.ironmancurtis.com/All%20Shook%20Up.mp3
Order my CD on USA Music Group records http://got.to/bumpNgrind



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