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P2P: Past 2 Present

It’s interesting to see how music has evolved to adapt to the changing economy. I mean, let’s be honest – it’s always been a game of money. But it’s also been about quality and convenience. P2P (peer-to-peer) networks understood all of these concepts when it came to music (among other things), which is why they provide users with free software enabling them to share whatever media they so choose.

Napster was the first of these, starting up in 1999. It didn’t start because of an economic recession, but rather to benefit those who loved music but didn’t have the means to obtain it. Napster was convenient, and best of all, free. I guess it comes as no shocker that the music industry wasn’t happy about this – so they sued. Napster argued under section 1008 of the Audio Home Recording Act, which says,

No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.

But it was a no-go. The recording industry won the battle. But the lawsuit was just the beginning of P2P’s popularity, since it attracted millions of users to Napster when they found out about the possibility of free music. Irony?

Now, after closing and opening and being bought and sold several times, Napster is back as a subscription service. But why would this be appealing at all? Going from free to having to pay does not sound like something most people would want…

Because of Napster’s vast music library. According to Music Week, Napster now has 10 million songs, 790,000 artists, and 980,000 albums available to stream online, as much as you want, for one low monthly fee. And not only does it let you stream music, but it also lets you download so many songs per month based on your subscription status. Pretty sweet, right?

And before I’m accused of it, no I am not advertising for Napster. But I think what they are doing is good. They have gone from illegally helping provide the public with copyright music for free to a good model for getting the music you want for a low price – lower than iTunes’ 99 cents per song. You gotta make money somehow in this economy! And regardless of where you download your music, you can still play it on the go.

That’s not to say that P2P doesn’t still exist; in fact, it is probably more popular than ever. But cheap, legal subscriptions are also a good option.

Oh the times, they are a changin’…

1 comment to P2P: Past 2 Present

  • rfondu

    Music sharing has evolved in the past ten years exponentially and the number of songs and artist available to the public will continue to grow and be available at greater speed. What some programs are starting to do is charge monthly and what this does is give people a security as to think they can use these programs without getting sued. The prices are so low that it is virtually a non-issue financially. The music industry may not me crazy about the concept but the marketers of these P2P companies are clearly thinking outside the box.