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The anti-Napster or Napster's future?...
April 2, 2001 9:28 AM   Subscribe

The anti-Napster or Napster's future?... File sharing as perceived by the music industry. I wonder if there isn't a deal with Napster already. But what are they going to do with all the Napster clones?
posted by talos (15 comments total)

 
Oh yay. They're buddying up with Real. RealPlayer's the only piece of software which makes me pine for the interface sophistication and responsiveness of Mozilla.
posted by darukaru at 9:59 AM on April 2, 2001


I think that the described subscription service on the Web, like any bid to sell music over the Web, is bound to fail for the foreseeable future for the simple reason that most big music consumers, especially most non-college consumers don't have broadband, and have no intention of acquiring it any time soon. Napster is/was cool primarily because it is/was free music.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:12 AM on April 2, 2001


"I wonder if there isn't a deal with Napster already"
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Bertelsmann, one of the companies involved in this deal, the owner of Napster?
posted by Outlawyr at 10:40 AM on April 2, 2001


Bertelsmann was looking to enter into some kind of deal with Napster, but I don't think they'd gone so far as to actually acquire them. The record companies should have started selling their material online years ago (well, a year ago, anyway). Then again, the fact that RealPlayer is involved is ominous. All they need to do is offer .mp3 files for download. Looks like they're going to screw that up with paranoid copyright gimmicks.
posted by Loudmax at 11:29 AM on April 2, 2001


That is exactly the point, Loudmax. Real can pull this off because the record companies trust them (us?) not to let people download & share things freely. A lot of effort has been put into the "digital rights management" thing. Supposedly musicnet will let publishers supply audio via downloadable files or streaming audio.

I don't know how much I'm allowed to say about this, so I'll shut up.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:26 PM on April 2, 2001


RealPlayer's the only piece of software which makes me pine for the interface sophistication and responsiveness of Mozilla.

You think RealPlayer's bad, try RealPlayer on the Mac. It's even worse, when it has the opportunity to be; more often than not it just crashes.

I'm not worried about this though. All this is going to do is split the market into two tiers: Those who will pay, either out of moral beliefs or a lack of knowledge about post-Napster P2P services, and those who won't, because they do know about P2P and have the elevated technical expertise to deal with those services' horrendous interfaces. Besides, whatever copy-protection scheme Real comes up with will be broken in due time.
posted by aaron at 12:58 PM on April 2, 2001



If you listen to the conference call and read the press release there are some really interesting points. MusicNet isn't another Napster. MusicNet is about massive distribution through others partners (i.e. customers). Perhaps they'll have their own interface, or perhaps they will be simply a clearinghouse (with infrastructure) for others to use in a private-labelled environment.

I believe that Napster may very well be one of those customers. As is AOL, who announced a music service a few weeks ago.
posted by fooljay at 1:27 PM on April 2, 2001


Not only does the Real GUI suck, but the Player also tries to take over your machine, making itself the default and generally bullying all the other applications - it is evil and must be stopped.
posted by johnny novak at 3:09 PM on April 2, 2001


Why is the typical audio stream on the Web, heard through RealPlayer, or even Quicktime so lousy? It's true I only have a 56K modem (don't laugh!), but I've also heard some superb audio, notably from French radio stations. Does it cost more to send a decent fidelity stream? Sorry if this is somewhat off point....
posted by ParisParamus at 3:34 PM on April 2, 2001


Heh, aaron, I *am* talking about Mac RealPlayer, which is the greatest piece of dung ever coded.
posted by darukaru at 4:17 PM on April 2, 2001


Yes, it costs more to send a decent-quality stream. Or conversely, you can send the same stream to more people for a set amount of money if you reduce the stream quality.
posted by kindall at 5:12 PM on April 2, 2001


johnny, RealPlayer's "All Your Desktop and Media File are Belong to Us" behavior can be tamed at installation and at your leisure via the View->Preferences menu.

Don't take this as a personal attack, but I find it amazing the number of people who waste hours upon hours writing about how RealPlayer takes over your computer, but can't spend the 3 minutes to look into the Preferences menus or install the damn thing with a minimum of hooks.

It just goes to show how sometimes Product Marketing is counterproductive. Or is it?? Hmmmmmmmm
posted by fooljay at 8:20 PM on April 2, 2001


but I find it amazing the number of people who waste hours ...
These are precisely the people this service is aimed at. Seems to me the companies involved have recognised that music on the web, for those with a little knowledge will always be easily obtained for free.
But wait, what about all those for whom Preferences, Settings and other tricky drop down stuff is as alien as typing a URL into a browser? They're the ones coming to the net with little or no technical knowledge for whom AOL and Real logos pepper the desktop, the ones who only know the parts of the web their AOL portal allows them to see.
This isn't a Napster replacement, it's a business venture by a group of companies who are looking at the type of people coming to the web and realising there are thousands of people who'll think this is the way it's always been done, and sign up in their droves.
posted by Markb at 4:33 AM on April 3, 2001


[kindall] Yes, it costs more to send a decent-quality stream. Or conversely, you can send the same stream to more people for a set amount of money if you reduce the stream quality.

Kindall, I think you mean to say, "Real charges more to allow you to send a decent-quality stream." Blah.

[fooljay] I find it amazing the number of people who waste hours upon hours writing about how RealPlayer takes over your computer, but can't spend the 3 minutes to look into the Preferences menus or install the damn thing with a minimum of hooks.

Well, it's easy enough to switch all that off, but it's a waste of my time. By default, a program shouldn't take over your computer. That's the problem here. Besides, when you have three or four PCs to deal with which you rebuild on a regular basis, you get tired of screwing around with the ridiculous defaults in RealPlayer (no, I don't think it's useful to be notified of a special advertisement waiting for me with a flashing system tray icon!!!) every time you re-install.
posted by daveadams at 8:20 AM on April 3, 2001


Dave, by default, the first (or last, I can't remember) screen of the RealPlayer (or any RNWK software) installation asks you your preferences on such things.

Sure, I'd rather an opt-in on all of these things instead of an opt-out, but as far as I'm concerned, people who complain that Real is taking over their desktop should be blaming themselves and not RNWK for the problem. Does that make sense?

Let's remember, there are good uses for many of these things. Most people will take convenience and automation over customization (see 99% of MSN.com's traffic) which means that RNWK is making people's lives easier, not harder. Most people are not as tech-savvy (ergo not as picky about how a computer is set up) as the large majority of the Metafilter crowd...
posted by fooljay at 4:41 PM on April 3, 2001


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