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February 16, 2005 11:46 AM   Subscribe

How To Hack the New Napster. Back in the day Shawn Fannings little dealie brought the world of free file sharing to the mainstream, now with the aid of Winamp and a few clever configurations, one can relive the past. via stereogum
posted by tsarfan (60 comments total)

 
Hey, why not post some serial numbers and cracks while you're at it? Sorry, but this is just lame.
posted by 327.ca at 11:52 AM on February 16, 2005


Hey, why not post some serial numbers and cracks while you're at it? Sorry, but this is just lame.

It's illegal to convert file formats?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:55 AM on February 16, 2005


I get all my music the old fashioned way: taping it off the radio.
posted by graventy at 11:56 AM on February 16, 2005


This is lame because it has been posted all over the place, not because it's about how to circumvent Napsters attempt at copy protection. It's actually a textbook example of why DRM systems can't work. This post might have been better had the author linked to DRM related sites or articles.
posted by chunking express at 11:57 AM on February 16, 2005


LOOK AT ME I BLATANTLY DON'T SUPPORT THE ARTISTS!!!111 OMGWTFBBQ!!1!!1ONEONE


Seriously, I totally agree with 327.ca why don't you just keep it to the back channels.
posted by vagus at 11:59 AM on February 16, 2005


This is non-lame.

Also, my assertions are more important then your assertions because I'm more important then you.
posted by delmoi at 12:06 PM on February 16, 2005


ne hawt chix?
posted by Hands of Manos at 12:07 PM on February 16, 2005


shoot the messenger.

fire away.
posted by tsarfan at 12:07 PM on February 16, 2005


I guess Napster is cheaper than iTunes, afterall!
posted by Thorzdad at 12:08 PM on February 16, 2005


shoot the messenger.

fire away.


Oh, please. Give me a break.

The message is only interesting here (on MeFi) if it's something people want to discuss. What, tsarfan, is the value in this post? Is ripping off Napster supposed to be another way to stick it to the Man? Or is there something else that's supposed to make this interesting?
posted by 327.ca at 12:11 PM on February 16, 2005


Shawn Fannings little dealie

APOSTROPHE CATASTROPHE!!
posted by Smart Dalek at 12:11 PM on February 16, 2005


This is the dumbest way to get free music that I've see yet. Obviously there are much more efficient ways to go about this.
posted by LunaticFringe at 12:13 PM on February 16, 2005


Also, my assertions are more important then your assertions because I'm more important then you.

You've been reading too much Slashdot.
posted by 327.ca at 12:13 PM on February 16, 2005


Awesome!
posted by argh!spiders! at 12:23 PM on February 16, 2005


Geez... tough crowd. I for one think this is an interesting post. Thank you very much.
posted by mert at 12:28 PM on February 16, 2005


327.ca, if you don't find the dramedy surrounding p2p and Napster interesting then why concern yourself in this thread?

I've been reading/posting on the blue for quite a while and I've noticed that p2p/Napster/music is of great interest to the readers/posters here who have a wide variety of opinions on the matter.

Personally, as a non-techinical person, I found the work-around pretty clever. meanwhile, chunking express found it to be just another reason why DRM systems can't work. i predict others will have different takes on it. That's how it is here.

Are you hysterical about this discussion because you're involved in DRM, a Napster stock holder, or because today is Get Hysterical Day in your town?
posted by tsarfan at 12:29 PM on February 16, 2005


This is lame because it has been posted all over the place

Just because it's posted "all over the place" means it shouldn't be posted here?

The message is only interesting here (on MeFi) if it's something people want to discuss

I've seen some interesting and comprehensive posts that received little or no discussion, yet still had a place here.

This appears (without having read any legal mumbo jumbo from the Napster site) to be a perfectly legal use of the service. As chunking express noted, DRM doesn't work, and companies that try to outwit the customer need to learn this.
posted by boymilo at 12:32 PM on February 16, 2005


Just because it's posted "all over the place" means it shouldn't be posted here?

Yes: A good post to MetaFilter is something that meets the following criteria: most people haven't seen it before
posted by nicwolff at 12:38 PM on February 16, 2005


Napster is the debil.

but apparently the devil likes the free music.
posted by electricsoup at 12:40 PM on February 16, 2005


So, has anyone done this? does it work? is the quality terrible? It sounds like a lot of work when you can just fire up a p2p program and find whatever songs you want, pretty much, no?
posted by amberglow at 12:41 PM on February 16, 2005


It will be amusing to see how Napster responds to this. I realize that it's now owned by somebody else but Fanning's original Napster didn't care about copyright (it didn't violate copyright, but it left it up to the peers in the p2p network to enforce it. The copyright enforcement ended up just about exactly as you'd expect.)
posted by substrate at 12:43 PM on February 16, 2005


It will be interesting to see how the labels react to this huge gaping hole in any subscription music service. I don't see it as unlikely that the bigwig music execs knew how easy it was to capture the sound device in Windows to get a .WAV file. I believe if they knew such they'd never jump on the subscription service bandwagon.

It just is way to easy for and my buddies to get to together and split the $15/month fee and get as many songs/albums that we want and then burn CD's for each of us. The whole process doesn't seem to be much more difficult or involved than just copying/sharing purchased physical CD's.

It just doesn't compute (for them):
In one month 5 of us split a subscription and download 100 CD's worth of music. "The Industry" then gets $15 ($5 a head).

If 5 of us split the cost of purchasing 100 CD's (let's say at $10 each) from iTunes and make CD's for each of us then "The Industry" gets $1000 ($200 a head).
posted by potuncle at 12:43 PM on February 16, 2005


(and more importantly, can us mac people do it?) ; >
posted by amberglow at 12:43 PM on February 16, 2005


Yes: A good post to MetaFilter is something that meets the following criteria: most people haven't seen it before

I hadn't seen it. Anyone else?
posted by eyeballkid at 12:45 PM on February 16, 2005


You can just convert the *.wavs to *.mp3s instead of burning them to CD, right? Seems to make a lot more sense.
posted by driveler at 12:47 PM on February 16, 2005


MetaFilter: Today is Get Hysterical Day
posted by Remy at 12:47 PM on February 16, 2005


Hey, why not post some serial numbers and cracks while you're at it? Sorry, but this is just lame.

Seriously, I totally agree with 327.ca why don't you just keep it to the back channels.


Thank you Cybercitizens!
posted by iamck at 12:49 PM on February 16, 2005


Most of these earnest discussions about how "DRM doesn't work" and "companies that try to outwit the customer need to learn this" strike me as being of greatest interest to pimply-faced adolescents who've just discovered how to get something for nothing.

Believe me, those companies you're talking about aren't reading MeFi. And I'm sure most MeFites (including me) are already quite convinced that DRM is a no-win proposition.

Are you hysterical about this discussion because you're involved in DRM, a Napster stock holder, or because today is Get Hysterical Day in your town?

Heh, heh. I love a good half-witticism.
posted by 327.ca at 12:50 PM on February 16, 2005


This 'hack' works for outputting WAVs and making CDs, but if you plan to encode the WAV back to a reasonable size using MP3 or what have you for use on the computer or iPod then your time is best spent elsewhere. The 'copy of a copy' lossy encoding devil strikes a hard and scratchy blow to the ear.
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 12:52 PM on February 16, 2005


I hadn't seen it. But then I don't spend my time slogging through dozens of news and tech blogs every day. I read metafilter because it is useful for filtering the most interesting of that stuff to me. So thanks for the link. Not particularly useful in light of alternative technologies, but it's good to know the state of the security situation.
posted by Jonasio at 12:53 PM on February 16, 2005


I'll be happy to support the artists, but I'll be damned if I'm going to support the attack on the public domain. The works in the public domain are rightfully mine, and when I pay for copyrighted works right now some of my money goes to lobbying efferts aimed at extending copyright terms. Extending copyright terms at the present rate means that the works being created will *never* enter the public domain. That is just straight glue-sniffing retarded. The *AA is hell bent on preventing 'their' stuff from becoming 'our' stuff, but that's the whole point of copyrights: they give you a temporary monopoly over your work, to reward you, then they expire. The only problem is, the finish line for Mickey Mouse just keeps getting pushed further and further back. I can't believe anyone with two brain cells could defend this system.
posted by mullingitover at 12:54 PM on February 16, 2005


Believe me, those companies you're talking about aren't reading MeFi. And I'm sure most MeFites (including me) are already quite convinced that DRM is a no-win proposition.

So you'll complain about filesharing until it's legal? Your moral issues are set by legal precedent, and not logic?
posted by iamck at 12:56 PM on February 16, 2005


So, has anyone done this? does it work?

A "friend" tried this. It works, and the quality is virtually indistinguishable from the protected WMA, even when using the out_lame.dll plugin to generate 192kbps MP3s instead of WAVs.

I'm mostly disappointed, however, that it seems no one has actually broken the DRM on Napster's WMAs yet. There's got to be a better way to abuse the 14-day trial. (I have heard murmurings of freeme, but I don't know if it works on this generation of DRMed WMAs.) I'd like to be able to use Napster's all-you-can-eat pricing, but my portable audio device doesn't support its DRM.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:57 PM on February 16, 2005


So you'll complain about filesharing until it's legal? Your moral issues are set by legal precedent, and not logic?

Where did I complain about filesharing?
posted by 327.ca at 12:59 PM on February 16, 2005


327: so basicaly your point is that this bores you?
posted by delmoi at 1:16 PM on February 16, 2005


Take it to metatalk, 327.
posted by letitrain at 1:35 PM on February 16, 2005


His point is not that he's bored. If he was bored, he wouldn't post. He's floating an affected boredom with "pimply-faced adolescents," whom, natch, he is muchmuchcooler than.

Feel free to stay in here and try and moderate the thread all day, 327.ca. You've already marked it as your territory.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:36 PM on February 16, 2005


327.ca, I didn't know about this before, and now I do. It's in an area I'm interested in. Not necessarily from a filesharing/ripping off artists point of view, but as a development in online music.

I found value in it, and I can tell by this thread I'm not alone. So please take your shit elsewhere.

On preview: what letirrain said.
posted by cosmonik at 1:38 PM on February 16, 2005


A "friend" tried this. It works, and the quality is virtually indistinguishable from the protected WMA, even when using the out_lame.dll plugin to generate 192kbps MP3s instead of WAVs.

The wmas from napster are 128kbps, converting them to mp3 is only going to make them sound worse, regardless of what quality your encoder is set to. I can't believe people care this much about low-quality copies of music, you really might as well record it off the radio.
posted by bizwank at 1:43 PM on February 16, 2005


Napster had the choice to use SecureAudioPath, which prevents such hacks, but chooses not to use it due the hardware & OS requirements.
posted by nomisxid at 2:01 PM on February 16, 2005


News at 11 - New generations of wankers learn how to record shit off the radio.

Record executive seen crapping pants.

I don't understand how the moral argument goes from "I don't support the record industry." to "It okay then to use something that doesn't belong to me, and that I haven't paid for."

Don't like the record industry or their sleazy lobbying? Don't listen to their fucking music.

Stealing it (or infringing on it, whatever you want to call it) makes you worse than they are.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 2:04 PM on February 16, 2005


Stealing it (or infringing on it, whatever you want to call it) makes you worse than they are.

Yes, and if you smoke pot, the terrorists win.
posted by iamck at 2:22 PM on February 16, 2005


I can't believe people care this much about low-quality copies of music, you really might as well record it off the radio.

I can't believe some people care so much about having high-quality digital copies of music when they are perfectly happy to enjoy the quality of audio on FM radio or television.
posted by Jimbob at 2:29 PM on February 16, 2005


I Can't Believe It's Not Piracy!
posted by cosmonik at 2:44 PM on February 16, 2005


Stealing it (or infringing on it, whatever you want to call it) makes you worse than they are.

The whole of the Platonic realm of number (i.e. all digital information) is a priori ours.

Claiming ownership of a piece of intellectual work is like scooping a bucket of water out of the ocean. You did not "create" it, you gathered it from an ambient world of ideas. You can keep it to yourself by sealing it in a vault, but only temporarily. If you use it for anything, it will eventually return to the sea, no matter what the legislature says.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:47 PM on February 16, 2005


thanks for the post. crude but clever!
posted by plexiwatt at 3:16 PM on February 16, 2005


Napster had the choice to use SecureAudioPath...due the hardware & OS requirements.

Please explain, as it stands now Napster is not available for Mac OS9 or X. Do you mean they need a DRM that would work 8086 running Windows 3.11?

Or they didn't want a DRM that can be defeated by holding down the SHIFT key?
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:48 PM on February 16, 2005


(and more importantly, can us mac people do it?) ; >

First: No WinAmp for Mac.

Second: We're sorry we're complete kneebiters, Napster is not currently compatible with your operating system.

Napster is currently compatible with Windows XP/2000. Windows 95, Windows NT and the Mac OS are not supported at this time. (ie. Go suck eggs.)
You get this message if you try to download the software with unsupported OS. Ok I added the kneebiter part, but it's true. The mailman told me.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:57 PM on February 16, 2005


The False Mathematics of the RIAA
posted by mr.marx at 4:02 PM on February 16, 2005


this radio you speak of...it plays music?

interesting post...kind of a convoluted approach to something most of us pirates (avast) have already found supplements for, but anything that undermines the record industry is heroic in my book...
posted by es_de_bah at 4:14 PM on February 16, 2005


As mentioned earlier, this hack is as much a commentary on the Napster business model as it is on DRM. Getting the money up front, as iTunes does, is an idea made for the Internet.
posted by VulcanMike at 5:14 PM on February 16, 2005


Napster responded to this by basically saying nothing is broken -- which is technically correct.
posted by chunking express at 5:39 PM on February 16, 2005


Hacking music is, like, so yesterday - I'm having much more fun with DVD's these days.:)

Anyway, the DRM thing has me a little confused. I've never downloaded digitally licensed music before, but I have used a little trick to get some streaming presentations onto my hard drive: I simply open the recorder function of my soundcard (Creative Audigy), punch "What-U-Hear" recording, and,voila, I have a perfect .wav recording.

I assume that the sound card hardware is simply catching the signal on its way to the speakers. Why wouldn't this work with any music? Or does the license somehow magically travel with the sound bits?

Just curious.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:45 PM on February 16, 2005


I have a perfect .wav recording. I assume that the sound card hardware is simply catching the signal on its way to the speakers

Well, not really. It creates an analogue recording - the sound is output, then actually re-recorded back into a wav. Which degrades the sound quality, but hey, with a decent soundcard and proper volume settings, I doubt you could tell the difference.

Of course, there's software out there like Total Recorder that does actually divert the digital data directly into a WAV file before it reaches your soundcard. This will capture anything. The only times it won't work, as others have mentioned, is with "SecureAudioPath", a technology with digitally signed encrypted data-transfer to soundcards. Of course, even then, you could just connect a cable from the soundcard output back into the input and make an analogue copy. At the end of the day, anything we're capable of hearing, we're capable of making a recording of. DRM or no.
posted by Jimbob at 5:57 PM on February 16, 2005


At the end of the day, anything we're capable of hearing, we're capable of making a recording of.

I like that, Jimbob. The RIAA would do well to realise this, and look at other ways to entice people to buy packaged recordings rather than pursuing litigious actions against potential consumers. Free t-shirts with CDs? Deluxe slip covers? Autographs? Something.
posted by cosmonik at 6:11 PM on February 16, 2005


I've got to confess that I'm a little mystified by the negative buzz the new Napster is generating, especially compared to iTunes. I'm a little hesitant myself to take the plunge and purchase DRM-locked music--my mp3 player probably won't play it, iTunes won't play anything in WMA format without transcoding it and presumably can't deal with "protected" WMAs at all--but a monthly rental/subscription fee model seems somehow a more honest representation of what you get than "buying" music you're gonna lose access to if the company you bought it from goes tits-up, the inevitable hardware or software bug hits, or you just don't have network access when it's supposed to "phone home". Is it just that people think of Apple as somehow this cuddly, Fair Trade open source company compared to Big Bad Evil Microsoft? Because I'm pretty sure Steve Jobs would trade places with Bill Gates in a nanosecond if he thought he could...
posted by arto at 8:18 PM on February 16, 2005


The thing I really don't get about all this: does anyone really remember Napster fondly? I recall the program was written by a 17 year old, and it showed. If I were going to rebrand, I would at least pick an app that didn't suck. Oh, for the days of Audiogalaxy...
posted by mullingitover at 9:26 PM on February 16, 2005


jimbob:

Thanks for the info.

As for the piracy issue, these companies have noone but themselves to blame. It's been well documented that they've hosed artists since Day One. They've been busted for huge payola machinations. Ditto large-scale price fixing. They've pretty much proved that they don't care about the artist or the consumer. Some of them (Sony, for example) are busy sending individual, personal-use pirates to jail, while selling them the media and recording equipment. And now, with DRM, they want to sell a product that they don't even really give to the consumer.

None of that, of course, justifies stealing; but, J.C. on a pogo stick, what do they expect? It's an obvious case of reaping what you sow.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:10 AM on February 17, 2005


Arto, why would your music stop working if Apple implodes tomorrow? Both schemes are stupid in their own way, and I doubt DRMs will ever work, but what you've said it basically totally wrong.
posted by chunking express at 4:49 AM on February 17, 2005


...Audiogalaxy...

Mmm, AG was great. The recommendations system was a godsend. For me at least, that's the same reason I like Soulseek so much.

To me, DRM still seems like a losing proposition in the context of the history of music and media. I think we're headed towards a time where it's easier for a far larger number of people to create stuff, and for people to consume that stuff in a much more free way than the current Industry would like. That will mean more artists who are not able to make creating stuff their full-time job, but is that necessarily a bad thing in terms of musical integrity? I'm not so sure. I certainly don't think people are going to stop paying artists, in general.
posted by Drexen at 8:51 AM on February 17, 2005


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