Feeds

Old Napster guy’s fan letter to Spotify upstart

'Grasshopper. You are almost as cool as I once was'

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Lessons Not Learned

What makes the analysis such interesting reading is how rarely we have heard such an approach from the music industry. Parker was looking to build a great music consumption product first: the goal was satisfying punters. He did so by doing an end run around the copyright-holders. But the rights-holders in the music industry have been wary of each other, and wary of experimentation.

It's something Hollywood has learned from by designing UltraViolet. Instead of revenue protection as the primary motivation, UV sets out to reward you for joining, adding a lot of conveniences over today's world of plastic discs and expiring time-limited streams. UV sells you a licence.

To be fair, not everybody in the music industry wanted to close Napster down. Bertelsmann, famously, made an investment in the startup. Others were supportive, too. The US mechanical rights collecting society the Harry Fox Agency, and British and international independent record labels, also announced a licensing agreement with the startup. But the heavyweights won the day. Plastic disc sales had brought growth to the music industry; CD sales were to peak in 1999.

And Napster itself tried to turn itself into a subscription service – a tale fascinatingly told by Chris Castle, an attorney for the company at the time.

I’d disagree on one aspect of Parker's excellent analysis.

Spotify doesn’t "allow" person-to-person file sharing, even though, technically that’s exactly what it’s doing under the hood: moving a song file from one person to another across a network. Spotify uses P2P to save on bandwidth; if a song is on the same network, it pulls it down directly from a swarm, rather than from a central catalogue. Spotify simply keeps these song files in an encrypted DRM container.

We’re constantly told now that “ownership doesn’t matter”, and Spotify charges extra to untangle the inconvenience introduced by its DRM.

Some people don’t mind this at all, but I’m not convinced.

Spotify is terrific for many of the reasons Parker suggests, but converting our enthusiasm for music into cash by allowing leakage from this container really ought to be explored. It’s still an opportunity going begging. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.