October 9, 2001
Napster will be remembered for what it started,
but people are looking elsewhere to download MP3s
By Jeff Dennis
Napster hasnt been useful for obtaining MP3s for some
time now, and Internet users arent sitting around hoping
for its miraculous return. Instead, theyve moved on
to other Inernet-based programs to obtain their tunes.
in the late 1990s to trade compressed music files known as
MP3s, Napster was hailed as the biggest innovation since compact
discs as it pushed MP3s into the forefront of the music technology
scene. But the succes was brief, as record companies were
quick to file lawsuit against the company because it allowed
users to obtain copyrighted music for free. Napster was forced
to overhaul its system to comply with the record companies
company hopes to introduce a new membership-based service
where users would
pay a fee to trade music, but the prospective release of this
new software leaves many students thinking thinking
they couldnt care less.
now use a variety of free software programs to obtain MP3s:
and Morpheus (www.musiccity.com).
free programs work on a decentralized system, cutting out
the large central server on which Napster relied. The new
programs link users to one other for file trading.
Jackson, a sophomore pre-major, said she probably wouldnt
have any interest in subscribing to Napster if it set up a
can find basically (all the MP3s) I need on Audiogalaxy,
Jackson said. I personally find it easier to use than
Napster, and its just as fast.
Hurst, a senior psychology major, says Napster will always
be remembered for what it started, but there are better ways
of obtaining Internet music.
the free trading software available, I can quickly find basically
any music that I want, Hurst said. These new programs
are trying to dodge the laws that Napster has been accused
of breaking, and they will be much harder to shut down if
record companies decide to go after them.
its prime, Napster provided an extensive selection of music
to Internet users.
many recording artists objected since they were receiving
no monetary compensation for the trading of their music. The
artists may have had a valid argument as many students report
they are spending far less at the record stores.
(Since Napster began), I buy far less CDs than I used
to, Hurst said. And if I owned a CD burner I probably
wouldnt have a need to buy CDs at all anymore.
music trading may have decreased the profits of some record
companies, but often overlooked are up-and-coming artists
who arent signed to a major label. Many new bands were
able to gain publicity through Napster, but now that MP3 trading
services are more spread out, it is more difficult to reach
the number of users that were accessible on Napster.
Richardson, a junior radio-TV-film major and drummer for local
rock band Soviet Space, said many independent labels and artists
are working to maintain a presence in the new MP3 trading
services and he thinks these lesser-known artists will remain
accessible over these services.
music is a very positive thing, Richardson said. We
put our own music on the Internet
because we want it to be out there where people can hear us.
Its a great tool for bands who are starting out.
may have triggered the free music revolution, but when it
was muzzled, other systems improved on the idea and left Napster
behind. For now, it seems, free digital music is here to stay.