Join 3,440 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


June 28, 2001
6:10 PM   Subscribe

'Download Beta 10.3 now' was the message that greeted me as i logged on for old times sake and the urge to verify some speculation i'd heard 'You must upgrade your client at http://www.napster.com. * Disconnected from server! (Thu Jun 28 17:22:50 2001) * Unable to reconnect to server! (Thu Jun 28 17:22:50 2001)' shouted my screen in nasty red text. The exclamation marks were the icing on the cake. It seemed my v2.0 BETA 6 just didn't kick it anymore. Left out in the cold! It was like being kicked from an irc channel, except here i had been N-lined!. [more..]
posted by Kino (50 comments total)

 
A quick search for an explanation yielded a result. "The old Napster allowed me to share about 160 of the nearly 700 MP3 files in my shared folders. Napster (version) 10.3 allowed me to share zero files", complained some poor altruistic soul in an email to news.com "Needless to say, I got rid of (version) 10.3 and went back to 10.2". Meh, not anymore sunshine. It seems this so called 'upgrade' is nothing more than just a cull, a final cleansing of an online communities ability to engage in their fundamental purpose for being there - to share files - leaving nothing but a dull, dysfunctional, lifeless void that it appears the now hijacked, once radical network is thoroughly intent on filling with the perfect, sparkling consumer - no matter what the cost and what type of forceful, destructive, barren wasteland creating measures they have to implement to get there 'With little music available now, users continue to drift away... Consumers who download and use the new version of Napster that includes audio fingerprinting technology share little or no content with other members' points out streaming industry analysts/new media watchers webnoize in an announcement today, 'As of this morning, users of the new client were sharing an average of 1.5 songs, down from a peak of 220 songs per user in February' they state bluntly, leaving me, and the whole world probably, in little doubt that it could soon be zero. Are these extreme force tactics the final-final nail in the coffin for a now shameful, back of the bus uncle tom style company? With only connections from the new client being accepted on Napster servers is there any glimmer of light in this deep dark disgusting tunnel? As a zillion uninstall functions click into action across the globe i stop and wonder.. Does anybody whatsoever even give a rats ass anymore?
posted by Kino at 6:11 PM on June 28, 2001


Yeah, but never mind.. what's been the point of logging onto regular Napster for the past few weeks anyway? 14,000 files total? Not worth it.

Gnutella is surely the future. Although some people seem to prefer Audiogalaxy for some reason.

However, I can type 'Metallica' into my Gnutella client (Bearshare) and get a list of 350 files sent to me within 30 seconds.. and I can find stuff so obscure that even Napster wouldn't find for me in its hey-day. Gnutella - best service ever.
posted by wackybrit at 6:15 PM on June 28, 2001


I haven't given a rat's ass since LimeWire started to work a bit better on my Mac.
posted by robbie01 at 6:17 PM on June 28, 2001


i haven't had too much luck w/ gnutella..slow, and can't find jack squat..however, i had ok luck with both imesh and kazaa (both do multiple types of media). recently, i've had fabulous luck with audiogalaxy ...they've got almost every song i've looked for, tons of pretty obscure stuff.
posted by chacal at 6:28 PM on June 28, 2001


and Aimster is finally out for the Mac. I've had better luck with that than Limewire.
posted by machaus at 6:44 PM on June 28, 2001


If I could select a bitrate using Limewire instead of having to go by file size, the world would be a better place. Oh, and code it in something that *doesn't* require 20MB of RAM and *isn't* as slow as a '74 Pinto (read: not Java).
posted by Electric Jesus at 6:50 PM on June 28, 2001


So as predicted, the Internet is just rerouting around the obstacle.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:57 PM on June 28, 2001


ummm, not all '74 Pintos are slow...
posted by
machaus at 7:01 PM on June 28, 2001


Amen, Electric Jesus. The man speaketh the truth.
posted by Hankins at 7:02 PM on June 28, 2001


Wow, machaus — that is the greatest $10 product ever! (How'd you get that link?!) Fuck Napster — I'm gonna get me some free 10W-40!
posted by nicwolff at 7:10 PM on June 28, 2001


"a final cleansing of an online communities ability to engage in their fundamental purpose for being there - to share files - "

umm... they mean stealing.
posted by jcterminal at 7:21 PM on June 28, 2001


It seems this so called 'upgrade' is nothing more than just a cull, a final cleansing of an online communities ability to engage in their fundamental purpose for being there - to share files - leaving nothing but a dull, dysfunctional, lifeless void that it appears the now hijacked, once radical network is thoroughly intent on filling with the perfect, sparkling consumer - no matter what the cost and what type of forceful, destructive, barren wasteland creating measures they have to implement to get there
Holy shit, have you been taking writing lessons from Jon Katz?
posted by darukaru at 7:32 PM on June 28, 2001


Kino, you sound as if you were cheated out of something, and that's what I don't understand. It's napster's network and they can do what they please with it. Did you think you were entitled to continue sharing music on their network?
posted by mathowie at 7:36 PM on June 28, 2001


whoa nicwolff, unanticipated google bonus round...
posted by machaus at 7:48 PM on June 28, 2001


It's napster's network and they can do what they please with it. Did you think you were entitled to continue sharing music on their network?

Matt: Although i fall firmly into the section of 'no i don't give a rats ass (about not having access to old style Napster) anymore', i do dislike them as a company from an ethical perspective. I think anyone who creates an online community of that magnitude should have a bit of respect for the majority of its users views. To lull them in and then attempt to sell them out is a deeply despicable process. Sure, people have the choice to just move on but that's not the point, and that isn't what Napster and its bedfellows are counting on. Organizations whose business ethics are similar to what Napsters are now i despise wholesale anyhow, but to start out how they did and end up how i think they will, using the type tactics they are to get there, is a deep crime in my book.

umm... they mean stealing.
JcTerminal: Around 80% of this world music is sold by five companies who also own, or are deeply affiliated with, much of its media. They are responsible for grave injustices. They will be looked back on in a comparable way to the Holy Roman Empire, or Britannia of old, except for entertainment/information. They make me spit. Unlike global regimes of days past, they don't use force to tame weaker nations, they rape and pillage this worlds cultural output and enslave it to their putrid, bland, disgusting pollution. A lot of independent producers would feel honoured to know that people are enthusiastic enough about their music to be sharing it online. So.. Don't believe the hype... d-d-d-don't believe the hype!.
posted by Kino at 8:00 PM on June 28, 2001


Holy shit, have you been taking writing lessons from Jon Katz?

Is he a film critic Darukuru? Not sure if he's known here in Europe: I've never read anything of his but by the sounds of it he's pretty talented!
posted by Kino at 8:06 PM on June 28, 2001


Scott McCloud has one of the best takes on the "Napster = stealing" question I've seen -- basically, CDs are ridiculously overpriced. People love music, so though they're getting it immorally, they're doing it because they get more music that way. Doesn't this say something? If music cost less (significantly under $18 a pop, but more than free), Napster wouldn't exist, and the music companies would probably be making more money. Analysis? It's their own fucking faults. An extreme analogy: if food costs more than people can afford, they'll steal it -- although I think everyone would agree that such a theft is hardly immoral.
posted by tweebiscuit at 8:09 PM on June 28, 2001


kino, since when is brand-building un-ethical? You need to flesh out what they did wrong much more. Yeah, I miss cueing up whole albums in the native Napster client, but I also understand having to make a buck... Plus there is this little matter of the courts which you appear to be ignoring.

To your point about the "Holy Roman Empire", is that stilted stance really going to change anything? If you are so worried about the pollution of culture by industry, maybe you should be promoting your local indie music scene rather than fuming with passive aggressive posturing. Maybe you should let go and let internet radio...
posted by machaus at 8:15 PM on June 28, 2001


Kino, yeah, they had a community (one that never gave them a single penny) that they may have paid attention to, but did you forget all the court rulings? I'm not even going to mention their investors, who are anticipating a big payback for the money they gave to the corporation, but seriously, how can a company continue to allow its users to pilfer music when they've been found guilty in a court of law of infringing on copyrights?

I used to love napster, and now it's useless -- big deal, the free web is over, I never paid for it, though I would if I could, but there's not much good bellyaching about it is going to do. They don't owe their users or me anything.
posted by mathowie at 8:33 PM on June 28, 2001


there is this little matter of the courts which you appear to be ignoring.

did you forget all the court rulings? I'm not even going to mention their investors

Machaus + Matt: I'm of the believe that Hummer Winblad, Hank Barry and little puppet-on-a-string Shaun Fanning have got exactly what they wanted out of this. Perhaps more than they ever dreamed they could. I dread to think what Holden Caulfield, bless his cotton socks, would have called them.

If you are so worried about the pollution of culture by industry, maybe you should be promoting your local indie music scene rather than fuming with passive aggressive posturing.

Machaus: What an odd statement, given that you have no knowledge of my activities in that area.. if only you knew.. if only. If i tell you i left education as i just turned 15, a year before i was legally entitled to do so, because i was playing deep underground techno in clubs three nights a week, and by 17 i was throwing thoroughly illegal parties for 2500+ people in the forest (and regularly getting arrested for doing so), and still, at 27 my life is dedicated to the causes i believe in, would that give you a clue?.

Maybe you should let go and let internet radio...

What a perfect opportunity to link to my own 2 year old station, but then i'd have to dodge MeFi 'that's a sin' frowns for eternity. ^__^
posted by Kino at 8:43 PM on June 28, 2001


If i tell you i left educa...

In fact, that's quite obvious after my believe/belief typo!
posted by Kino at 8:46 PM on June 28, 2001


Skipping the arguments over sharing vs stealing...
Gnutella is as good as Napster for finding copies of popular stuff, like top 40 hits, but I have not found it anywhere as good as Napster used to be for finding obscure stuff, often out of print or unavailable in record stores or never had much of a mass following in the first place. When it comes to all of that, there is still no replacement for Napster that I have been able to find.
posted by Rebis at 8:50 PM on June 28, 2001


pieces of puzzle ... ok... very cool... fight the good fight... goodnight
posted by machaus at 8:56 PM on June 28, 2001


I have yet to discover a file sharing app that searches as smartly as Napster did. I've been tiding myself over with the above mentioned AudioGalaxy as well as WinMX. BearShare, by the way, installs spyware on your machine, so be careful. It also repeatedly crashed my Win2000 machine.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:00 PM on June 28, 2001


tweebiscuit has hit the nail on the head.

An extreme analogy: if food costs more than people can afford, they'll steal it -- although I think everyone would agree that such a theft is hardly immoral

Music is not, technically, at the same level as food and air when it comes to survival. But for many, it's not too far off.

There have been many instances in history where the underdogs have fought against the 'right' people and have won. Heck, the American colonies were not being legal in fighting against the UK for freedom, but they succeeded, and look how much better the world is.

Tired and weary consumers fighting against a monopolistic industry fuelled by cartel? I say, if those consumers win, it'll be a good day, not a bad one. Sometimes, you have to break the law to fight.. just like the American forefathers did.
posted by wackybrit at 9:03 PM on June 28, 2001


Um, I seem to be able to use napster (v2.0 BETA 6 ) without any problem, as long as I use Napigator to keep of napster owned networks. In fact, I just logged on and did a quick serach for metallica and found plenty of listings, so no file blocking there. Do people not know about this?
posted by Hackworth at 9:04 PM on June 28, 2001


And I'm not sure why people have been having so many problems with Bearshare. I turned off the 'optional' software when installing it, so that saved some hassle.. and I've managed to get so much using Gnutella that Napster would draw blanks on.

I'm only on a 56k connection, but I find Gnutella to be fast, far more responsive than Napster, far more successful than Napster (in finding what I want), and I don't have to put up with people messaging me. On all fronts, this is far better than Napster, IMHO, but perhaps I've just been extremely lucky for the last month.
posted by wackybrit at 9:07 PM on June 28, 2001


I have yet to discover a file sharing app that searches as smartly as Napster did

Yeh, pity they never made the same level of effort with the interface design, Ljramanoff.

(G'night Machaus.. Watch out for any stray tomatoes).

Wackybrit: Great post.

Um, I seem to be able to use napster (v2.0 BETA 6 ) without any problem, as long as I use Napigator to keep of napster owned networks

Well yeah Hackworth, it's only Napster servers themselves that are unavailable to previous incarnations of the software. Napigator just uses the client to connect to indie ones.
posted by Kino at 9:11 PM on June 28, 2001


Twee, yours is pretty sparkling too. Although price isn't an issue that gets me scathing too much. Not that i'm rich, far from it, just i know where my moneys going and it ain't never to the vermin scum.
posted by Kino at 9:17 PM on June 28, 2001


Does anyone else wish that people wouldn't mention things like Audiogalaxy? I'm dreading AG appearing in the media all the time - the RIAA & co will point its sights at it if it gets in the news too much or if it gets too popular.

It's still stealing, though. Then again, I also eat meat and think I shouldn't do that, either.

sorry, i can't sleep at all. ignore me.
posted by smaugy at 9:31 PM on June 28, 2001


I enjoyed Napster for a while. Now that it's gone (for all practical purposes), no big deal. Napster has a right to exist in whatever form it *can* exist.

And let's not get TOO dramatic here, people...just because you can't download a given song does NOT mean that music or creativity or the right to sing have been taken from anyone...and remember that no band/artist has a RIGHT to be signed to a label and mass-produced and marketed. In other words, there is no *right* to earn a living by making music. Most artists/bands DO seek to earn a living at their craft, hoping for that one "big break." And who makes it possible? Those "greedy" and "rapacious" record companies. Cut 'em some slack...they're entitled to charge whatever they want for a CD; no one is holding a gun to your head to purchase anything. If having the latest Radiohead album means enough to you, you'll plunk down the $17.99 at Tower, or the $13.99 at Target, or, eventually, the $10/month to download, say, 25 of your favorite Radiohead songs from a Napster-style service.
posted by davidmsc at 9:44 PM on June 28, 2001


AG, then Morpheous, then imesh, then bearshare, then gutnella, then mirc, then newsgroups, then ftp servers, then http:// servers, then individuals who burn cd's...

Never in a million years will they be able to catch up to everyone. Much like the drug battle, this war was over before it started.

One site gets closed down, move on to the next.
posted by andryeevna at 9:57 PM on June 28, 2001


Why would lowering the price of CD's make Napster and the like vanish? Zero is still cheaper than half the current price of a CD, and I don't think most people are using these programs to get back at the big evil corporation, rather, they just want some free music.
posted by Doug at 10:17 PM on June 28, 2001


I've had good luck using Gnutella. I haven't always found what I was looking for, but then I didn't always with Napster, either.

And in regards to the "Napster == theft" argument, I know I'm not the only person who went out and purchased CDs as a direct result of being able to preview MP3 tracks, including many I never would have bought because I never would have heard them on the radio.

Yeah, MP3s are free, but they never sound as good as CDs do, and I'm not going to buy an MP3 player for my car when I've already got a perfectly good CD player in.
posted by RylandDotNet at 10:26 PM on June 28, 2001


One site gets closed down, move on to the next.

Yeah, great to see things moving towards a solid, untraceable, unmeasurable P2P state on loads of diverse platforms Andryeevna, creating a force that evolves faster than any attempts to stop it. I think Zach summed it up well with 'So as predicted, the Internet is just rerouting around the obstacle'.

'I don't think most people are using these programs to get back at the big evil corporation, rather, they just want some free music'

Doug: i think the cost issue is neither black or white, i reckon the price thing is all about ratios. If major label CD's (or mp3 files) cost a dollar, for instance, some people would still swap their contents online for free (but the overwhelming majority of people would be less inclined to do so), and instead buy a lot more of the ones readilly available to them in chainstores (or in data version from online equivelents), and reserve the use of fileswap programs for more of the type of stuff they can't get their hands on so easily, and to generally adventure through stuff that would usually take years of record-junky-ness to be in a position to come across, and which in turn leads them to seek out and buy stuff thats a little more diverse, or because something they found was so beautifull (in contrast to whats in the local store) they just have to have it (of course, i'm talking about the average guy in the street here who would otherwise feed mainstream media till the day they die). Suddenly, a lot of what they're used to just sounds naff, and the worlds been done a favour.

A lot of people, of course, don't download files just because they're free (age and outlook and consumer savvy has a lot to do with this), they like to check it out before they buy, and thats another reason why the powers that be hate the idea, cuz people have been known to go off large proportions of their weak, inferior, nasty product very, very quickly (they rely on this phenomena to maintain a healthy turnover).

Man, i'm starting to sound so sterile in my tone (been up all night till daylight again :/), i'm gonna shut up and read for a while. No, i don't know it all, my words are just sounding like i think i do. As for the spelling, that's always crappy! ^__^
posted by Kino at 10:57 PM on June 28, 2001


Ryland: Well said. That's how i feel about vinyl.
posted by Kino at 11:02 PM on June 28, 2001


Well, this has all been very intersting.

I just thought that you guys may be interested in what myself and a few friends have done (knowing you guys, this is probably what you've done already or did before napster was around).

Myself and most of my friends are seriously into collecting, Djing and making music. What we did, as it gradually became apparent that Napster was facing impending doom, was to scour the place for all the hard to find mp3s that we each wanted then load them to our ftp server. Between us, we managed to get a heck of a lot of stuff (luckily, we all share a similar taste in music, but there's quite a variety given some of our more quirky tastes).

A few of these guys are DJs so any newer stuff or rarities that they already own, they just rip it and upload. I myself buy a lot of second hand cds and vinyl which (until recently) I ripped and uploaded slected tracks. Now we can download what we like (from a smaller pool, admittedly) when we like where we like.

As a result, I really don't miss napster now. I used it purely to get hold of the stuff I couldn't afford to buy on vinyl due to its scarcity and collector value. I don't feel that I was stealing from anyone here, since most of the music we downloaded from napster is no longer available and was made by artists in limited pressings that have never been re-released.

The money that was 'lost' as a result of our 'theft' merely prevented some independant second hand record shop from charging me $75 for a pressing of, for example 'a huge ever growing pulsating brain that rules from the centre of the Ultraworld' by the orb. I love the track, I didn't have the $75 bucks, and the orb wouldn't have got a penny of it if I bought it.

And our collection grows......till we run out of space.
posted by davehat at 11:29 PM on June 28, 2001


Napster is trying to convert itself from being a file sharing service to a file sales service. They've been making deals with the recording companies and soon they'll be directly offering, themselves, files which are copyprotected which you can get for not-free. As such, they no longer care whether the free exchange of files collapses, since that is no longer part of their business model.

Myself, I think they'll be OOB in a year.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:46 PM on June 28, 2001


davehat -- right on. I buy a shitload of vinyl, which probably explains why I don't really download MP3s much. I'm the kind of guy who refused to listen to a pre-release burn of Amnesiac because I had to hear the double-10" vinyl release. And I buy a lot more records, because records are cheap. If I bought popular music (re, Britney, DMB, et al) there's no way I'd be able to afford $18 a CD, and as a result I'd buy less music in general. My point wasn't so much that P2P is a strike back against companies (although it might well be), but that the record companies are IDIOTS for not realizing why people do this in the FIRST place -- because the companies are misreading their audiences!
posted by tweebiscuit at 11:46 PM on June 28, 2001


kazaa. kazaa. kazaa.
posted by will at 2:11 AM on June 29, 2001


I haven't given a shit about Napster since I discovered KaZaA, as will so ably demonstrates above. ;)
posted by metaxa at 3:47 AM on June 29, 2001


CDs are ridiculously overpriced. People love music, so though they're getting it immorally, they're doing it because they get more music that way.

This is an argument?

"People love clothes, so though they're shoplifting, they're doing it because they get more clothes that way!"

"People love games, so though they're pirating warez, they're doing it because they get more games that way!"

"People love jewelry, so though they're stealing, they're doing it because they get more jewelry that way!."

"No, you don't understand! It's not stealing because I really, really, REALLY like music!"

As for the argument that Napster is try-before-you-buy, sure that's the case now, while CDs are still much more convenient than and sound better than mp3. But what about 5 years from now when software players are ubiquitous and compression technology improves to where you can download CD-quality music? How many people then are going to bother going and buying the CD?
posted by straight at 5:56 AM on June 29, 2001


> But what about 5 years from now when software players
> are ubiquitous and compression technology improves to
> where you can download CD-quality music? How many
> people then are going to bother going and buying the
> CD?

The right price of anything is what people are willing to pay. If the market decides that the correct price of a song is zero, then the market can't be wrong.

Would that be the end of music? I don't believe it for an instant. There was plenty of music being written and performed before there was any kind of recording and distribution system except people's memories.

It may in fact be the end of mass-market music as we know it, but who cares? Maybe more people will be forced to make their own instead of just being passive consumers.

To repeat, just for aggro's sake: if the market decided that the correct price of a song is zero, then the market can't be wrong.
posted by jfuller at 6:26 AM on June 29, 2001


I luv audiogalaxy

:)
posted by preguicoso at 8:38 AM on June 29, 2001


"People love clothes, so though they're shoplifting, they're doing it because they get more clothes that way!"

My point wasn't that this is right, but that it's a symptom of a problem that's the music industry's own damn fault. Shoplifting frankly isn't that much harder than downloading songs, yet it's hardly the plague that Napster/P2P became. People are stealing from the music companies because CDs are overpriced, and the record companies could fix the problem in an instant, in the meantime making themselves more money.

(The clothes analogy would hold up, by the way, if every pair of jeans cost, say, $70. At minimum. Do you really think people wouldn't be stealing?)
posted by tweebiscuit at 8:57 AM on June 29, 2001


Topic drift dept: people are shoplifting. I got drafted onto the county grand jury last summer (the jury that indights people, not the jury that tries cases.) Of the hundred or so arrests brought to us during the summer session, a good half were shoplifting. I now know every single product in the Tommy Hilfiger line.
posted by jfuller at 9:23 AM on June 29, 2001


It may in fact be the end of mass-market music as we know it, but who cares? Maybe more people will be forced to make their own instead of just being passive consumers.

I couldn't agree more J. Such is the great thing about this whole process; that it puts things in a deep chaotic spin and stops people on the whole being as at the mercy of the sedatingly ridiculous pop-media-bubble. It could take a few of generations for all the curves, peaks and troughs to show up big on countless long term sociological and business charts but i look forward to the day when kids don't get programmed for a life of passive fake-bland-idol hero worship before they can tell the time, and modern folkish prosumer diversity once again becomes king across the globe.

the companies are misreading their audiences!

Yeah Twee, and dictatorships seem to only know how to rely on force when the public at large start doing there own thing. Such marvelling at the industries dumbness is a joy to watch.

Davehat: Goodstuff. Always great to see a cell of collective likeminded individuals pooling the stuff they love, sharing resources, information, experience and generally doing their own thing. It being such a breath of fresh air when people get in them situations and i think an added bonus is that all the enthusing and energy makes everyone that little bit stronger, happy and more determined, knowing that they aren't as alone in some of their particular, and relatively peculiar, brands of artistic diversity afterall.

Shoplifting frankly isn't that much harder than downloading songs..

I now know every single product in..


[puts a shady order in with Twee enterprises for a new watch and a nifty pair of treds being sure to consult JFuller first for stylist advice on what the season after nexts 'on da street' clothing vogues will be]
posted by Kino at 11:19 AM on June 29, 2001


Why is it fair to the consumer who has to buy a whole crappy CD for 1 song they like?
posted by andryeevna at 1:00 AM on June 30, 2001


Are you asking anyone in particular Andreevna or was that a statement disguised as a question?
posted by Kino at 2:06 AM on June 30, 2001


No one in particular. More of a statement question :)
posted by andryeevna at 12:00 PM on June 30, 2001


« Older "The Olympics isn't so much a sporting event as it...  |  Are they grasping at straws he... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments