Friday, March 04, 2005

CONFUSING 'SHARING' WITH 'SELLING': The conversion of Napster into a music industry stooge has been completed. Just as the name is now stuck onto a big label approved sales house, so too has Shawn Fanning become a drudge of the majors. He's getting them to sign up for his Snocap system, which is an attempt to make peer-to-peer a world that EMI et al can live with. In effect, it's ruining what makes p2p great by introducing a bloody great till at the end of every exchange, but it's the attempt to swindle the meaning of language in the interests of the labels which really hurts. This is supposedly about "sharing" music, but really it's about disguising selling as sharing. The idea is, of course, that Snocap allows the music industry to keep tabs on exactly what you're 'swapping', the better to present you with a bill at the end of it.



Fanning has more than a look of Ashley from Corrie here, doesn't he?

"The internet will become a much richer resource for music fans everywhere," said Shawn Fanning, commenting on the deal.

He added: "This is an important step toward the growth of a digital marketplace where consumers can discover, share and purchase music from massively deep, almost infinite catalogues."

Record labels view the technology as a way to turn peer-to-peer networks into profitable distribution tools.

The current model of online music distribution is expensive - relying on large, costly servers, requiring huge amounts of bandwidth to serve potentially millions of people.

Utilising peer to peer networks would be an inexpensive system of distributing music to customers.


So... hang about a minute: this is meant to be making the music experience better and richer for us, the consumers - and yet all it really does is allow the music industry to use the peer to peer systems they've been pursuing like harpies for the last five years to sell their music while we pay for both the music and the bandwidth? I don't quite see what we're getting out of this - unless, maybe, without needing to maintain "expensive" servers and shell out for telephony, and no longer requiring intermediaries like iTunes to take a cut, the cost of songs per track comes down to something like ten cents a pop. And that doesn't seem likely.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ashley & Tyrone's lovechild, I'd have said...

Eleanor G

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