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The Almighty Buck

Napster Offers $1B For Music-Swapping Rights 317

An unnamed correspondent writes: "CNET is reporting that Napster has offered to pay the music industry $1 billion over 5 years for the rights to unlimited music swapping. That works out to $1.67/month/user with 50 million users." Here's coverage on FoxNews as well, which says: "Under the proposed settlement, $150 million would be paid each year for the first five years to the major record labels -- Sony, Warner, BMG, EMI and Universal -- with an additional $50 million alloted annually for independent labels."
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Napster Offers $1B For Music-Swapping Rights

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  • >> When Windows crashes, at least it lets you click OK first

    And if you're lucky and careful, you can get an amazing amount of stuff done before you actually click that button.
  • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @05:10PM (#415761) Homepage Journal

    Plus, there's now an mp3 encoder (LAME) that is open-source, meaning that anyone can compile it and use it; gone are the days of paying Fraunhofer IIS royalties for "their intellectual property".

    Fraunhofer Group still owns patents in the United States and other countries on the process of "Overlapped cosine transform plus Fourier transform encoding, followed by psychoacoustic quantization and entropy coding" which is a necessary and irreplaceable part of MP3 encoding. This is why Ogg Vorbis doesn't use a Fourier transform but instead a finer cosine transform.

    All your hallucinogen [] are belong to us.
  • because 1.5 million per year would just about match the money Britney Spears uses on het velvet toilet paper.
  • Gnutella being nobody, nobody pays nothing, and it's for unlimited swapping of any file, not just mp3.
  • by isaac ( 2852 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @05:12PM (#415767)
    So in a new age artist aren't intitled to say what happens to their music?

    First, IANAL, yet.

    Artists have never been entitled to say what happens to their works, at least in the USA. Now, they are granted the sole, assignable right to make commercial copies of said work. Similarly, they are granted by law royalties for public performance of their works. That is the extent of their entitlement, to my knowledge.

    Copyright, based on the clause in the US Constitution investing Congress with the power to secure a limited monopoly for artists and inventors "to promote the useful arts and sciences", is not an absolute grant nor a property right. It is a limited monopoly, granted by Congress. This stands in contrast to legal systems in other countries (e.g. France) wherein the foundation of Copyright is a "natural right" - a non-assignable (IIRC) right of authors to dispose of their works as they see fit. This is why French directors and authors always get the final cut of their works, if I'm not mistaken.

    Our system recognizes different "natural rights" (like freedom of speech, and the press), and the foundation of our copyright system is pragmatic - designed to promote progress and the creation of new works, not to ensure an artist has total control over a work they have created (there are good philosophical reasons for this I won't go into here, but for a start, consider that neither art nor invention exist in a vacuum). I would further argue that the philosophy behind the Constitutional basis for copyright would find the current copyright regime (which rather than encouraging new works, encourages an "everlasting gravy-train" mentality among copyright holders) abhorrent.

    I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, blah blah blah.


  • A NYT article reports that the record industry pulls in $35-40 billion EACH YEAR.

    They will piss on this offer.

  • Wouldn't it be nice if:

    1) Recording artists could distribute their music online in an encrypted format of some type (MP3 or some successor with better audio fidelity).

    2) Joe and Josephine User download this music and pay for it using a truly useful micropayment system (now that would be an interesting Open Source project).

    3) The bulk of the micropayment goes to the actual artist, not to the media conglomerate.

    4) Joe and Josephine get the music they want.

    Arguments against this concept:

    A) People will still find a way to beat the encryption. Of course they will, just like people burn CD copies of their music now. The music companies still make hundreds of millions of dollars every year. At least this way the artists are getting their cut.

    B) Peer-to-peer technology will kill this concept because people will just slide past the encryption and then post songs on (Napster, Gnutella, whatever). Not if you make the encryption tough enough that it becomes more trouble than it's worth to hack the encryption and then post the songs on a server somewhere.

    The heart of the matter is that there are three principal actors in this drama: the record labels, the consumer, and the artists. The record labels have been getting fat on profits that are based on control of the means of production (sorry, Marx). The consumer has become greedy with Napster (hey, why not get ALL of my music for free?!). The folks getting screwed are still the artists.

    Let's think about the people who give us all this great music, and let's come up with something that works for them. My guess is that if it works for the artists, it will work for consumers. As for the music companies, they can choke on their own greed.

  • The record companies are asking for $100,000 per copyright violation.

    No, $100K per work violated, the maximum statutory damages under US law. There are likely less than 3 million unique RIAA songs available through Napster.

    All your hallucinogen [] are belong to us.
  • I agree wholeheartedly with your message except for the following:

    >This is the internet, we aren't going to pay for something that is already free.

    I think this is a dangerous sentiment. Internet or not, you've got to be willing to pay an artist a fair price for a hard day's work. Unfortunately the RIAA cronies are so entrenched in protecting their monopoly that they refuse to sell me a song (unlimited license) for $1 a pop. Had they done so they would be trillionaires, but their minds are hard-wired to refuse anything that doesn't have a guaranteed increase in profit margin, regardless of revenue. People would gladly pay just for the sheer convenience. However the old, grey, small-minded monopolists decided to steal from us, and the internet community decided to steal back. Now they get nothing, and I'm happy. I know I've bought my last music until the system is changed. The RIAA will not get $20 per CD from me, nor will they even get my $1 a pop for an unlimited license. Am I wasting my time? I bet the first Napster subscriber thought the same...

  • 2. What's going to stop people from sharing Napster accounts? General cheapness, access to billing information, one-login-at-a-time. Why does AOL have so many members?

    Napster works because it is easy to use-- no copyright protection stuff, passwords (beyond one you type once and forget), identity proof, etc. I can use it on all of my computers without any problem. Remember when computer games and software were like this? Right, before they became such huge business (software companies argue before piracy grew).

    An on-line music service that is a major hassle is a no-go. I'd pay a lot of money for a Napster that gets me legal, high quality songs. I wouldn't pay if it is a pain in the ass to use. If I can't connect from home because I forgot to log out at home, that sucks. If I'm paying and it's using a peer-to-peer architecture, I expect some kind of credit for the disk space and upload bandwidth I'm losing (how cool would that be for both the consumer and company-- a product that gets cheaper the more you use it).


  • I will happily give you money if:
    • I can download songs with Napster without hassle, and with the program of my choice.
    • I can do so with complete, contract-bound assurance from the record companies that doing so is legal. I think CD's are a rip-off, but I don't believe in copyright violation either. Prove to me that I will not have to legally defend songs I download.
    • I can download songs in MP3 or Vorbis format. No SMDI, or yet to be announced encryption format garbage. If I can't do whatever I want with it (within fair use), I don't want it.
    • I can do so for $10 or less per month with no initial fees and the ability to easily suspend my account during months I do not want to pay.

    Do all of this, and I will give you my piece of the billion dollars. Until then, back to for used CDs.

  • What would get people to pay? Honor. Honesty. I know that some people wouldn't pay, and that is their business.. but I know for a fact that, if asked, I would be more then willing to pay like $50 a year to have full access to Napster.

  • by alehmann ( 50545 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @03:55PM (#415789) Homepage
    It's practically impossible to find the independent labels who, under this scheme, they would owe money to. Also, this assumes that the record labels ARE the law. If one small independent record label didn't want to participate in this deal, could they sue Napster and cause the same contraversy there is now?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "I don't think this assumption is warranted. I'll be surprised if more than 1% pay, and I'll be shocked into incredulous silence with my mouth hanging open if more than 10% pay."

    I'm not so sure. If Napster has that kind of money to throw around, how far behind this is an AOL-like free sign-up CD blitz of the market? Many mildly interested people will be too lazy to sign up with Napster (or any other service) on their own. AOL cornered the ISP/portal market by making it very easy for this type of person to sign up. And AOL keeps them because they're too lazy to switch, even when they know there are better deals. (My sister, for example).

    AOL showed that this market is probably the overwhelming majority of people out there. Don't count out Napster just yet.

  • Or independant artists (such as myself).
  • It would be entirely impossible to pay all the right parties. This is a half assed attempt to make something kosher. That would be like me paying microsoft and adobe for the right to pirate commercial software. They say they'll pay 'independent labels', but how do they know EVERY ONE? If I burn cds of my [hypothetical] band and sell them at [equally hypotheical] shows, and then someone pirates my music on napster, will they pay ME? I don't think so. And in fact, the membership fees that people would be paying while pirating MY MUSIC would be going to the big record companies. So, this brilliant bussiness model we've waited so long for napster to tell us about gives the big record companies the better bargin. Fuck that.
  • The most important part of the article...

    "The $1 billion fee would be the equivalent for the industry of selling another $5.4 billion in CDs, since the labels would have no additional production and distribution costs associated with that fee, he noted. "

    Something for nothing for life + 95 years, and the major labels are fighting this. Really, that's been a lot of people's argument since the beginning. Something for nothing. But who is paying for the protection? And who is getting it? []
  • by bluelip ( 123578 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @03:56PM (#415795) Homepage Journal
    A buck 67 is still to much to give to the labels. I'd be happy w/ 10 dollars a month if 95% went to the artists.

    Until then opennap it is.

  • Implied extension of the sentence you quoted is their primary form of having music they love.

    Yes, there is an elitism here, and it has nothing to do with the cost of my collection. It has to do with all these people posting to this story claiming that they have all this respect for music and the people who create it when most of them couldn't find the way to the nearest record store if you dragged them by the mouse they were clinging to like it was their primary life support.

    If you are, and have been, a music purchaser then you know that both sides of the "record sales are being affected" battle are total bullshit. Sales are up because the economy is up. Record sales aren't being altered one way or the other in any significant manner by the existance of Napster.

    What we have instead are a bunch of johnny-come-lately's who now have huge collections of music when prior to the existence of Napster they had virtually none. If you take any kind of objective look around you will see that this is primarily the case with Napster users.

    But I have no problem with this. It's great that more people are listening to more music. What I take serious issue with is all this bleating by these same people about how fucking concerned they are with music and artist's rights. They cheapen the devotion of those of us who truly care about these things in the same way that the drunken wife abuser next door cheapens the WWII veterans when he makes a big deal about hoisting up the flag every July 4th just so he can feel better about getting drunk on his day off.

    The only people who have any valid claim to caring about music when they primarily just collect mp3's are very young teenagers. If you haven't been a true listener and collector since you were under 18 then you missed something fundamental about music. I'm sorry, but you just don't know what it's about. You missed it. It's too late, and no matter how hard you try you can't recapture what you missed.

    That is the elitism. If you never spent significant time in a record store then you aren't a part of what makes music what it is. Yes, it is an elitist group. We have a bond and you can't share it. You can't even understand it.

    And to loudly advocate the rights of music and musicians without ever being a part of the fundamentals of that scene is bullshit. If you truly cared, and you aren't under 15, then you would have been there. You weren't, so shut up. If you weren't there then you didn't care. Jumping on the bandwagon now that music collecting is easy doesn't cut it.

    Go ahead and leech all that you can. I'm glad you've finally got some decent music in your car. But don't take some moral high ground because you aren't fucking entitled to it.

  • I'm sure many DJ's would be willing to pay for access a high bandwidth distribution system to allow them to download hifi versions (CD quality at least) of whatever they want. Radio stations would use the same or a similar service.

    And for the DJ that has the vinyl version....two thumbs up. The good DJ's can tell what a crowd wants in spite of requests. A good DJ is on top of the current music scene and knows the relations to the past. I doubt they would dislike access to a huge collection.

  • For the forseeable future at the very least. If the Buck-oh-five estimation of the price is on target, people will be scrambling to pay.

    One reason will be the assuagement of conscience. Now you're use of Napster is ethical and untouchable, no more sting of guilt. I think this will actually be quite a compelling reason, even though it won't get much airplay. Most people don't like to feel like their having their fun at the expense of the folks who give it to them.

    Plus let's not forget you're also getting the most convenient and efficient way on the planet to test if that new band's CD really is worth the 15 or so Shekels you're thinking of shelling out.

    Sorry to be such a napster booster here (I don't work for them!) but let's also remember that for many people, a cheap way to legally get as many mp3s as they can swallow means the end of their cd collections. Why should I spend so much on CDs when I can get a mother of a hard drive for my mp3s? Not that $1.67 really bites into the CD budget anyway. A lot of people think that mp3 is good enough. And as the codecs make the music smaller, making digital more convenient, more are likely to think this way.

    It'll just be ultra convenient. Gee, only 50 million? think it'll stop there when your potential clientele includes every online person on the planet? If the RIAA buys this deal, it will be ALL GOLD.

  • You are not "ditching" your collection, you are archiving it. Fundamental difference.

    You are a bit brainwashed by the media as far as the common napster user, as I am a common napster user.

    You are a bit brainwashed by slashdot as far as the common napster user, as you are not a common napster user.

    Show me somewhere else that says otherwise that found this out by asking each user

    Yes, indeed please show me where you have gotten your facts that aren't equally biased. Fact is, there isn't any valid study, only anecdotal evidence. And you know what? Of course there's more people claiming your side then mine. Do you really expect all the thieves to stand up en masse to be counted? Check the leech ratios of any file sharing service, be it Napster, Gnutella, FTP, whatever. Lots and lots of downlaoders and damn few hosts.

  • I understand that there's a certain animosity toward the RIAA in the online community as a whole: that's to be expected. What I don't understand why, with this current decision on Napster's part to distribute music legally, people are screaming outrage over artists' rights, acting as if the RIAA is muscling around and essentially enslaving their artists.

    Contrary to popular belief, members of the RIAA don't send agents to the houses of talented artists and threaten to break their legs unless they agree to be represented through them. I also find it very hard to believe that any artist expects that most of the revenue from their music will come back to them: I'm certain those members of the RIAA that they CHOOSE to deal with make this very clear. This in fact is fair: The artists put in their talents, but as history has shown, the excessive marketting and management provided by the RIAA are most costly and more effective in such a lemming market as North America (thus we have such successful groups as the Backstreet Boys and N*SYNC). Artists are also VERY rarely locked in dark basements and forced to make music without food or water while chained to microphones and handcuffed to instruments. Simply put: The artists who work within the RIAA aren't forced into unequitable treatment or abusive circumstances without some say of their own, and while all the money doesn't go to them, I can't think of many artists under the RIAA's overseeing that've resorted to an impoverish lifestyle without some poor decisions of their own.

    Realize, of course, that if prices for CDs weren't "artificially inflated" as the FTC suggests, artists would make even MORE money and marketting would be almost nill, with most of the actual revenue going toward paying for meager marketing and standard expenses.

    Anyway, back on topic, selling the rights to the distribution of their music isn't abuse of the artists on the RIAA's part, as I'm certain that such issues are covered in initial contracts. Heck, if people're opposed to the RIAA allowing distribution of music across Napster, than why aren't these same people protesting the use of artists' music on radio stations? Most of the time they have no say in that either! What injustice! Sure the situations are different at heart, but aren't the principles essentially the same?

    Anyway, I'm sick of people acting as if this is some huge controversy and injustice on the part of the RIAA, both toward consumers and artists. There's nothing new in this scenario that hasn't been going on for decades within the industry: the only difference are the players... or rather, one of the players.

    If you're so intent on defending the rights of the artists, stop attacking those few that actually voice their own opinions, such as Metallica. Otherwise you're simply a biased hypocrite.
  • You just dont get it do you!
    People won't have to pay!
    all it takes is one big isp somewere
    in the world who decides to try to
    bundle their service with legal
    free access to music via napster..
    and then raise their rates 2-3$ a month..
    and the snowball is rolling.
  • Opennap is free only until Napster has been dealt with. Once the RIAA gets a legal ruling against Napster, Opennap will be their next target. The cease and desist letters will flow like water, and unfortunately Opennap will fade away :(
  • Is it just me, or is giving Napster your credit card information a Very Bad Thing. Think about it...once they have your credit card information, they have everything about you. By They, of course, I mean the RIAA and company. Fork over your information, and Napster suddenly become a little less anonymous. Lets take it step by step:

    *We know that the RIAA and musicians can track who is downloading what on Napster.

    *You give Napster your financial information.

    *We know that the RIAA and certain musicians can muster superlative legal power.

    *Is it so impossible that they can get this information from Napster to "ensure that their requirements are being met"? Sure, there are probably laws about this kind of thing. Hell, there are alot of laws...millions. Has this stopped anyone with enough money yet? No!

    *Lets say you download more of a certain album than the lawyers or tracking services would like you to.

    *Suddenly "NapGuy986" becomes "Joe "Evil" Pirate of 123 Main Street, Your Town, USA. Phone Number 867-5309 Goes to F University, drives a Honda, penchant for very progressive magazines." and so on and so forth.

    I don't know about you, but I'm not paying for this thing unless I can drop by CVS and have them cut a money order for $2 for the pleasure.
  • 'cause both are going to be around. I think it would be an incredible experiment in *cough* communism vs capitalism. On the one hand you have the free (price and action) service. Open source clients and servers, run by volunteers, faith-based organizations, or governments (where aplicable). By their nature, profit and it's motive are forbidden.

    One the other hand you have Napster II, a pay service, sanctioned and serviced by the major labels and major corporations. They have the benefit of being able to profit and will most likely have a better, easier-to-use service and the added benefit of tons and tons of existing capital.

    Can the two systems co-exist? Given a totally free market, which one would prosper? A challenge, perhaps?

    [don't read too much into the commie stuff, please]
  • And if I pay to download music on napster -- say I download a whole album -- can I make a legal copy of the original CD? I did pay for the album.

    This is going to fail for one reason best described by a cliche, "There is no honor among thieves."

  • by whydna ( 9312 ) <whydna AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @09:35PM (#415820)
    Ok, so let's say everything works out as planned. They pay the record companies, et. al., $1 billion over the course of 5 years. What happens after that? Who get's all the money. Does that mean that the Napster people stand to make another $1 billion over the 6-10th year for themselves after that??
  • by asonthebadone ( 167531 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @09:53PM (#415827)
    If Napster wants to go to a pay-per use method, then what's the point of peer to peer sharing? If I'm paying $2-$10 a month for this service, I expect *quality*. I don't want to have to try to download 10 different versions of the same song to get a download rate faster than 5KBytes/sec. I don't want to search through lists of poorly/incorrectly named song files. If I'm paying for it, I want 30KBytes/sec minimum. I want full 320kbps MP3 files. I want *every* song from *all* of the record labels participating. I don't want to see only what is on the hard drives of the other people who are on the same server as me. The reason Napster succeeds is that it is free, so everybody has a low expectation for the quality of service. If your cable TV only worked certain times of the day, and some of the channels were intermittent, you would not be happy. But for antenna channels? You just keep adjusting those rabbit ears as best as you can and grin and bear it. Why? Because you don't pay for it.
  • by tswinzig ( 210999 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @07:17PM (#415832) Journal
    You'd be amazed how many rich suburban kids use Napster for the convenience, not because they don't want to pay. If anything, paying would make them feel better about downloading the music.

    Yet another reason the RIAA's artists should be releasing their albums in high-quality MP3 bundles, for a fair price (I'd say, $5-7 per album, with 50% or more going to the artists themselves would be fair to us and fair to the artists).

    People will pay if it's CONVENIENT and UNENCUMBERED. If either of those two things fails to exist, they will STEAL. This is why Napster is successful. This is why other similar services will be successful in the future. The RIAA can get it's act together and profit, or keep losing control over their content as they have been.
  • Ok...this is what I think is going on.

    Napster is offering One Billion Dollars. To the average human, that sounds like a hell of alot of money. Wow...A Whole Billion Dollars..Just Imagine!

    To the RIAA (non-humans), that's a drop in their Bucket of Relentless Riches +2.

    So Napster is saying "Here...we're going to give you a whole Billion Dollars if you leave us the hell alone".

    The RIAA can say "Ha ha ha...we PISS on your measly billion...begone with you!!"

    At which point, the RIAA looks like huge bastards.

    Napster can then say "See? We tried to be nice...tried to appease them, but they shot us down"

    Film at 11, and suddenly everyone in the world finally sees what greedy jerks the RIAA et al are!

    Personally, I like that.
  • I'm left asking what about the artist?? This sounds like a good deal for the record labels but nowhere do I see anything about the artist.

    In fact I think the artist will be worse off under an all you can eat plan. The pie is just going to end up being more thinly sliced leaving artists with the skinniest one.

    Record labels have historically screwed the artists and this isn't going to change that.

    If you believe in compensating the artist use Fairtunes [].

  • You don't give a flying fuck about the artists you lying piece of shit. You, like very other heavy Napster user out there, don't care about artists or music. Yes, you read that right.

    People who truly enjoy and appreciate music don't download mp3's. They buy their music, because there is much more to the whole concept of what recorded music is than just the sounds.

    But you, and others like you, don't understand that. You have never understood that because until mp3's came along you didn't give a rat's ass about music, and you still don't. Prior to 1998 your entire music collection consisted of Beck's Mellow Gold and the first Us3 album because your friends said they were cool. But now that you've got 20G of mp3's we're all supposed to believe that you're some afficienado of music? Bullshit!

    You take it becuase you can and because it's free. If it wasn't easy you wouldn't bother with music at all. In case you can't quite follow the logic there, that means that you don't care about music, and you certainly don't care about musicians.

    There are thousands and thousands of people who have collected huge numbers of CD's, LP's, and even a few cassettes, of music that they love and appreciate. Are these people converting all their stuff to mp3 and ditching the physical versions? NO. Are they the typical demographic of mp3 users? NO. Do they still buy CD's and LP's? YES. Do they truly appreciate music and the artists that create it? YES. Do you? NO.

    You're a leacherous fuck. You care for nothing but what is convenient and easy. If music were gone from your life you wouldn't miss it after 5 days, because if you truly loved music you would take the necessary steps to actually own some.

  • What would you be willing to pay for legal access to a huge database of music? Think about what highschool and college kids are currently spending on pagers and cellphones. Generally more than $5/month! Therefore it is a reasonable concept to assume that many people would be willing to spend $5-10/month to access large music databases legally. If Napster pulls this off with RIAA approval, the entire business will change. Napster will be able to checksum your downloads to be sure they are "certified versions" and eliminate the partial download problem that is a major problem with the existing system. They will probably make enough cash to host their own certified servers for access to the hottest titles, allowing tracking of bonus payments where appropriate and keeping the service useable. More importantly, companies will be able to market Napster enabled stereo systems that have phone and ethernet jacks and huge hard drives for collection storage (wireless on high end models). The song info database will be designed for easy search/access to that favorite tune. Imagine going up to the DJ at your local party/rave and not being limited to his/her personal collection.

    And the best part of all of this...the record companies will have less power to force songs down the throat of the consumer as more users will just select the download songs similar to those in my collection (based on a song rating/review system) for my listening pleasure.

    Think of the many ways that this could benefit the music lover. Payment based on download activity has the possibility of weakening the crushing grip that record companies have on "popular music". We might be able to spread the wealth a little and prevent me from having to switch channels every time Brittney or Eninem (sp?) or whoever is being pushed at me by the record biz, and instead allow me to create my own database and find similar music (sprinkled with new suggestions, thumbs up or down Tivo style) and enjoy it.

    I want Napster to become mainstream. It will change everything! For the better!
  • If it can be heard it can be cracked, right?

    Yeah, well, you & I know that. The fatcats aren't that smart. What they'll do when they get whacked by a cluestick is another matter.

  • by antdude ( 79039 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @07:39PM (#415857) Homepage Journal
    It is a lot cleaner than the older versions!

    Get it [] for OpenNap servers! :)

  • I don't doubt Napster would still spend considerable time in court, but at $5.00-$1.67x50,000,000users, I'm sure they will be able to work something out.

    You're assuming 50 million people will decide to pay Napster, instead of just using one of the many alternatives. []

    I don't think this assumption is warranted. I'll be surprised if more than 1% pay, and I'll be shocked into incredulous silence with my mouth hanging open if more than 10% pay.

  • AOL only has 21 million, and it's taken them 20 years to get there.

    You think Napster can acheive 50 million in a year? Or even five?

    If not, the cost per month estimates floating around are WILDLY inaccurate, literally by orders of magnitude.

  • yes AOL claims 27 million users, unfortunately this number includes a lot of previous users, but even assuming the 27 million, earthlink the second largest isp only has about 5 million users, and the average isp has less than 500 thousand users, the is probably total only a little more than 50 million people on the internet. napster is more likely to have around 5 million users, which would bring the cost up to about $16 per user, which is not a particularly unreasonable sum. of course the down side of all of this is that the artist won't see a dime unless they sue their label for their share, which of course means no more releases until their contract runs out and they can switch labels. also napster and the riaa will of course have to go after all the other sites providing a similar service, but with the napster precedent that shouldn't be much of a problem.
  • I think that is great. I guess it sounds like the RIAA has won, but who cares? They are happy, and for less than the cost of a real CD, I'm happy. And when it goes legal I will be more inclined to open up my DIRs to my T3. Of course, economics 101 tells you of the 50 mil only a small fraction will stick around. Half are kids, a fourth will go elsewhere. That will bring it up to the advertised $5 which I think it still a good deal if the quality matches what they promise. Count me in.
  • Think about what highschool and college kids are currently spending on pagers and cellphones.

    Those kids weren't already getting pagers and cellphones for free when suddenly they began to cost money, with free alternatives still available.

    The comparison you should be making isn't with cellphones and pagers, it's with Netscape Navigator. How many people do you think would pay for that if it suddenly became commercial again, with no free version available?

  • Why bother with encryption at all?

  • Remember also that Bertelsmann holds a pretty big percentage of AOL Europe's shares, so there's business ties between AOL Time Warner and Bertelsmann already.

    And you of course also are thinking of the deal between BMG(Bertlesmann) and Napster. BMG already is on the side of Napster making deals and I would have to think an alliance with AOL-TW would put TW in a pro-Napster deal position. That is two of the five. Boy, I can't wait til all five of those companies do away with the formalities of being separate entities and merge. But, seriously do any of the Big 5 of the RIAA have significant stakes in competitors to AOL, which would make a Napster-AOL-RIAA deal bad for them?
  • It seems to me that Napster is suffering from an excess of lawyers and MBAs and seem to have lost touch with the demographics of their actual user base. Somehow I doubt that most of those 70M users are going to be willing to help Napster Inc. recoup that $1B. Free music, like free love, just isn't the same when you have to pay cash in advance.
  • It will give other file sharing proggies the time necessary to mature to the point where they are better than Napster......

    Unfortunately, this action, if approved by the Music companies, will mean that the RIAA will focus their attentions on the other file sharing apps on the 'net.....
  • Yes and yes. Theoretically, this is simply Napster asking the major record labels to drop their case against Napster. If Joe Singer had his music "stolen" by Napster against his wishes, he has the option to resort to the same lawsuit against Napster for doing so. No one else can sell the rights that Joe Singer or Joe Recording Label own over their music.
  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @04:00PM (#415910) Journal
    Given how the RIAA postures, this just might not be enough. After all the RIAA wants it ALL.

    They sort of have a Daffy Duck mentality when it comes to money (Mine! Mine! it's Mine! All Mine!)

    Watch them shoot the goose that lays the golden eggs rather then give it up to anyone else. Even tho the goose was never theirs in the first place.

  • How long then before Napster becomes the evil empire controlling our music?

    You know, that thought occured to me too. If you really read my post, I did mention Napster and Napster-like services. I suppose there will always be some sort of evil empire, but I see a system like this as less of an evil. Especially if there are competing companies. At least, finally, there would be competition to the RIAA companies. As consumers, we do ultimately have control, but with the RIAA giants having as much power as they've had, our only option for a long time is to buy from them or have nothing. Having said that, some of my favorite bands/music are locals. While this system still may not make them millionares, at least they have the chance to be heard, and make some profit as well. I think it works for everyone, the little guy gets a chance, we as consumers save money, and get freedom of choice to what music we want and don't want to purchase on a song by song basis.

    Basicly, it means consumers have more control, and that is always better.

    "Everything that can be invented has been invented."

  • by jeffsenter ( 95083 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @08:05PM (#415914) Homepage
    There are about 270 million people in the US. AOL has 27 million members paying $20/month.

    2. What's going to stop people from sharing Napster accounts?

    Napster might well cut a deal with AOL where all AOL users become Napster members. AOL would pay Napster around $50 million a month for this and would maybe raise its rates a dollar or two. Remember AOL is now AOL Time Warner one of the Big Five recording companies.

    The logical extension of this once Napster does cut a deal with the RIAA similar to the one that Napster proposed for $1Billion, Napster becomes an attractive target for buyout/merger with AOL-Time Warner.

  • Imagine going up to the DJ at your local party/rave and not being limited to his/her personal collection.
    I take it the parties you go to have crummy djs.The whole purpose of having a DJ at a party is getting that person's record collection pumping through the speakers. A good DJ has a great vinyl collection and knows how to combine it to create an atmosphere. If people go up to the DJ and say, "Play this" then that interferes with what the DJ is attempting to build. If the DJ sucks, then by all means, wrest control of the turntables away from her--
    don't let the party die.

    Additionally, if the DJ breaks down and starts playing requests, then the party is no longer benefitting from the DJs enlightened record collection, but is now subjected to the possibly pedestrian taste of the guests. Remember that Philips CDR commercial where there's this great party going on in some small warehouse and this guy shows up and hands the DJ his own music CDR? The music starts and its some crazy indian music and then the CDR burner-guy and some indian chick start dancing together while the rest of the party stands around to watch. Ok. Way to go. Buy a Philips CDR so you can destroy a good party.

    Sort of a little back on topic. Have you noticed that those consumer CDR stereo devices ONLY will record to discs that are sold as Audio CDRs? You can't record to any old cheap-o CDR from Korea. They've got to be Audio CDRs. I suspect this is because the manufacturers of these stereo components want to make nice with the RIAA and have royalties for each of the blank CDRs go to the RIAA just like blank cassette tapes. As you might expect, the cost of the 'Audio' CDRs is nowhere near as cheap as regular CDRs.

  • Arresting small-time copyright violators isn't just a Belgian thing.

    I feel the need to clarify this a bit...
    There is no such thing as arresting small-time copyright violators here in Belgium.

    (1) Indeed there *was* a threat from the IFPI ( []: "IFPI is the organisation representing the international recording industry")
    (2) But that threat was only to a small number (100) of users, who had received a warning before
    (3) Everyone and his brother says IFPI is not able to identify these users unless they violated the privacy legislation
    (4) And, most importantly: Marc Verwilghen, our minister of justice, has declared that the prosecution of small-time piracy has the very lowest priority. This places it, I think, just above cannabis use.

    So the whole thing is just some FUD from IFPI.

  • by raju1kabir ( 251972 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @08:08PM (#415924) Homepage
    The point is, that deep down, the RIAA is smart. They know that the great percentage of the music traded on Napster wouldn't be purchased anyways. Its not money they're losing, they're just afraid that their loyal purchasing crowd might SOMEDAY drift into that environment and they'll start losing real sales.

    I think you have a good point, but I also think the RIAA may be overplaying their hand. No matter what happens to this particular company, the rise of Napster was a watershed event for the music distribution industry: Millions of people have learned that it is feasible and easy for them to use the internet to move music around.

    No matter what happens now, people will still know that. And just as importantly, Napster's size and user volume provided a lab for exploration of how to do it - software, legal issues, pitfalls, hype, arguments pro and con, incentive for copycat technologies, etc.

    So whoever starts something new is standing on Napster's shoulders. They don't have to deal with the huge hurdle of explaining to the public what it is and how it works and why it might be fun to use. They don't have to do a lot of the development. They only have to deal with the legal issues.

    And there are two ways that can go down. One, someone with a lot of money can make an offer the RIAA can't refuse, and it happens above board. If that happens, okay, well, fair enough. Everybody probably wins, or at least nobody loses too much.

    Possibility number two, however, is that it goes underground. Someone comes up with a FreeNet or a Gnutella or an OpenNap that works, that scales, and that doesn't have an address where papers can be served. No other industry has ever faced anything like this before: A ready-made, prepackaged illicit adversary with infrastructure already in place, where millions of educated, well-to-do people have demonstrated that they have no moral problem with lending their participation and support.

    If the distributors are smart they'll hedge their bets and sign. If I worked for Napster this would sound like blackmail. As it is, it's just some friendly advice.

  • by VValdo ( 10446 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @04:02PM (#415927)
    1. Is it likely that they're going to get 50 MILLION people to pay this? How many people are there in the US, like 400 million? Less? (yes, I know the Internet is global, just for perspective)

    2. What's going to stop people from sharing Napster accounts?

    3. Is subscribing to this new industry-sanctioned Napster going to mean that what was formerly called "pirated" mp3s are now legal to own? Ie, is this buying a license to own MP3s for CDs you didnt' buy because you bought a Napster subscription? Am I allowed to then trade those MP3s via a non-napster (freenet, gnutella, or something else) system?

    4. What kind of crazy license/agreement am I gonna have to sign to subscribe? I can't wait to read this agreement. I have a feeling, knowing the RIAA, it will not exactly be equitable, and birthright forfeiture may be included.

  • This is the sign of a desperate enterprise trying to stay afloat. IMO this sucks. Napster is selling out. No more are they the pirates of old, they are now just another corporate socialist republic out to keep their footing.

    Napster was and should stay a voice that shouts, we need to break the corporate mold, screw the DMCA and all the legislators, the hell with the copyright laws that were written in the 1700's. This is a new age, the myths of old, like the railroad track sizings are outdated and stale.

    Napster should steer away from this direction and loop back to it's roots. LOOP LOOP LOOP!

    They really need to not do this. If they do all their base inch fan and support are belonging to corporate america and not us!

  • A tenth of a billion if you live anywhere else in the world, and define your numbers according to world standards...

    Grumble grumble grumble
  • Yes, just like DeCSS did.
  • by Edgewize ( 262271 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @04:03PM (#415935)
    You'd be amazed how many rich suburban kids use Napster for the convenience, not because they don't want to pay. If anything, paying would make them feel better about downloading the music. I should know, I'm one of them.
  • guess I'll take the bait...

    People who truly enjoy and appreciate music don't download mp3's

    You are wrong here. I believe I truly appreciate music and the artists that create it. I also download mp3's to sample new music, if I like it, I'll buy it. Last year I discovered (and purchased) more music than I ever did in the past because of napster.

    It sounds like you are one of which you spoke of who"collected huge numbers of CD's, LP's, and even a few cassettes" and feel some kind of eliteness because of it. Why are you so hot and bothered over the subject, are you an artist who is getting screwed by napster or something? Or are you just pissed because your expensive music collection is not so special anymore?
  • this of course brings up another issue. if the figures are based on 50 million people, well, let's be honest here. of the 50 million people who use napster, there is a large number who, if required to pay a user fee, will simply pirate service. i know i'd be more than happy to spend up to about $50us per year for napster, since i save that much on CDs i dont buy since i only want 1 song. $1.67 per month comes out to about $20 per year or something. in essense, the fee would have to be raised to make up for what's lost to piracy.

  • by ConsumedByTV ( 243497 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @08:20PM (#415941) Homepage
    First off I use napster.
    Second I own hundreds of records and tapes.
    Third I own two times as many cds.
    I dont have time to encode the record or tapes.
    I use napster.
    Because I have already bought the right to listen to it. It doesnt matter where or from what, acording to fair use, I can do this.
    I do care about music, I make music, I also think that someone might hear my music now because I can distribute it via napster,, ect.

    I am one of the thousands of people that have huge numbers of CD's, LP's, and cassettes.
    I am converting all my music into high quality mp3 (lame vbr1 with a max bitrate of 320 and a low of 160) format. I am ditiching the discs, the records and tapes. I am the typical napster/mp3 user. I am not the typical napster/mp3 user as put forth by the media that IS OWNED by the companys that are feeling ripped off (which they shouldnt be to the extent they are). Do I still buy the cds? Yes I do. Do I even listen to them in the media I buy them on anymore? No I dont, I rip them and encode them and I NEVER use the cds again. They are in perfect condition as a result. I do apreciate the music and the artists that create it ( I am an artist ).

    You are a bit brainwashed by the media as far as the common napster user, as I am a common napster user.

    Show me somewhere else that says otherwise that found this out by asking each user, or ISNT owned by at least one (or is part of a joint corp of said company) company suing napster.

    And their is no reason to get angry and cuss about the media bias that isnt true.

    Fight censors!

  • AOL has 27 million members paying $20/month.

    So? AOL is tiny. Napster currently already has over sixty million members. A year ago it was 18 million.
  • Open source clients and servers, run by volunteers, faith-based organizations, or governments (where aplicable). By their nature, profit and it's motive are forbidden.

    Er, no. Profit and its motive (greed) are encouraged under both. While many Open Source projects are produced for altruistic reasons, the recent explosion in Linux is aprtially profit driven. Programmers (and documentors, and managers and even marketers) shave to eat, buy mountain dew, and other things that require money, and are encouraged to do so.

    Why on earth would you think otherwise?
  • I would say I am close to what you descripe. Although I have bought several hundred CDs in the past I havent in a really long time. I don't belive I will ever again either. All my cds are in mp3 format now. What I do have to argue about is the exact opposite of what you are saying is happening in people that I have introduced to napster.

    My father is a huge contry music fan. Mostly really old stuff from 30s and 40s. I introduced him to napster and mp3s in general. Not to long after downloading 100+ mp3s he had an mp3 ripper and was ripping his entire cd collection (well over 3k cds).

    He also intoduced this to a friend of his who began doing the same thing. He was looking up mp3s to cover all of the old 45s that he has. Next time I am in that part of the state I have been obligated to help him hook up his record player to his sound card so he can rip some of the 45s to mp3s.

    These are all people who use napster as a service and not as a way to pillage the recording industry. They both have extream loyalty to music and artists. Now this may be a limited segment of the napster community but out of all the napster users I know there are all this way.
  • It's quite good to hear that Napster has an offer to make which sounds quite reasonable.

    It keeps record companies flowing with $$ and the independents will be happy too.

    First problem is that this will almost stop the whole notion that Napster is built upon a system where the middleman (record company) is removed. However, they no longer will be removed and will be very necessary for musicians to get any fianancial reward for putting their work online.

    It's most likely that Napster will split the $50,000,000 a year for indie labels up in a manner where an indie label would have to register with Napster, and then Napster would be able to include them in the deal in which $50,000,000 is allocated accordingly. Unless Napster offers rewards for individuals who are keen to go around the middleman, the artists will have to sign up to a small indie label and eventually these labels are going to get large and no longer seen as an independent thus making Napster just an entry field in online music distribution/subscription without getting rid of the labels and all we would be left with is pretty much the same as before except you can download songs off the net at a cost from a source which is a record label not the artist themself.

    As a musician I think that would suck.

  • by localroger ( 258128 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @04:10PM (#415965) Homepage
    If they do accept this, you can bet that the "unlimited" service will include the encryption and other DRM suggestions which were floated a week or so ago. In other words, you will share MP3's but you won't download MP3's, but a bastard format that won't work on your Rio, won't burn on CD, and won't play at all when its license has expired (unless you crack it of course).

    Oh, and if it's cracked, the record labels wouldn't go along, even if they initially acquiesce.

  • why doesn't a company form outside of the U.S. with a napster type server, like one of those online gambling companies that evades U.S. and other countries laws. If someone did this then everyone could switch over to it and napster would be so screwed cause then no one would pay the X dollar amount a month for a subscription and everyone could enjoy the scalable architecture of a napster like system again. I know this sounds unfair to music artists, but that isn't the question, the question is: Since there is so much money to be made, then why hasn't this been down ?
  • I was under the impression that MP3 used a polyphase filter bank, a modified discrete cosine transform. a non-linear scaling, grouping the spectra into three regions ("big" numbers, ± 1, zeros), a couple stereo encoding methods, lots of scale factors and bit mish-mashing, and adaptive huffman coding, but not a Fourier transform. Of course, the MDCT is half of a DFT/FFT. Maybe I missed the Fourier part ??
  • Slashdot does need an edit feature - I meant to say thousandth where I said tenth.

    In the rest of the world, a billion is 1,000,000,000,000.

    1,000,000 is a milliard. Duh yourself.
  • Napster seems to be sticking its neck out in guaranteeing the music biggies $1B. If people jump ship to up and coming free p2p protocols for exchanging their MP3's, Napster is in alot of trouble.

    This leads to the question... If Napster gets this rubber stamped by the RIAA, anybody else who offers the ability to exchange MP3's other than Napster now becomes "Enemy number 1" to Napster. Is their next move to try and get some kind of patent on searching/trading MP3 files between individual users online, so they can use it as ammunition against potential rivals in order to recoup their $1B promise?


  • Does Napster really have 50 million users currently paying them $5 a month for their service? If it does, that would make them much bigger than some giant organisations - its like having 20% of all US consumers! I know they have users all over the world, but seriously the biggest group must be Americans, due to the cost of bandwidth in most of the rest of the world.

    It certainly isn't common knowledge that Napster is such a profit power-house. So assuming that they don't have their users all signed up, who is going to give the $1billion to bribe the record companies not to take them down?

    I don't use Napster myself, so please excuse me if I am a little out of touch with the Napster user experience.
  • This is a good point, but I think it's the best that they can expect. As someone who is still skeptical about online trading (I still have my reservations...), I think that the RIAA may not go for this, but hey, it's better than nothing.

  • Yep and i just read that napigator2 is out here is the link 382 with the feature of being just a tab in napster program it'll be even more easier for newbies to use opennap than pay.
  • If Napster controls transfer and playback (via their client), I would say that it can work.

    However, if all MP3s that weren't created by yourself (read: downloaded over Napster) are encrypted, you will only be able to play them with Napster itself (or any Napster-enabled software). Apart from the fact that this will exclude any non-Windows users (I guess the industry couldn't care less about that), people will not be able to use their favourite player / jukebox (big minus because we know how much people love their skins and similar crap), they will not be able to use standalone MP3 player etc.
  • by VValdo ( 10446 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @04:15PM (#415997)
    Seems the next logical step ;)


  • This won't change whether or not downloading copyrighted tunes suddenly becomes justified, since the copyright laws haven't change. Rather the question becomes WHICH songs are now legal.

    Not all artists are part of record lables represented by RIAA.

    Some artists want no part of the MafRIAA.

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • First of all, some of the revenue per user can be recovered from ad banners. An alternative option can be selected by those users who wish to avoid seeing any annoying banners and have them pay a small monthly fee for the privalage.

  • by Smitty825 ( 114634 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @04:18PM (#416003) Homepage Journal
    So, Napster would expect me to pay $4.95-$9.95/month (as the article says) to share the songs I have on my hard drive, using my bandwidth (which I also pay for)! Also, by paying for the service, I'm going to expect a certain quality from the service. I don't think that it is unreasonable for me to expect transfers to always complete (even if someone else wants to log off), for the service to only list complete songs (so I don't download a 4.3MB file to find out that the correct one is 5.2MB and I miss the last minute of the song) and for the service to have the songs I wish to hear.

    Don't get me wrong, Napster is a good service, but I'm currently willing to put up with those limitations I listed above because the price is right. If they are not able to fix the service to protect my intrests, then I will find another solution.
  • OK, so maybe I'm reading this wrong, but back in the day, when RIAA and Napster were first duking it out in court, RIAA's whole argument was against the principle of the thing. They said it hurt artists, and that there was no profitability model in this kind of (pseudo)peer to peer system. This destroyed their (RIAA's) business model, so naturally they freaked.

    For whatever reason, RIAA won the court case, and Napster's business looked like it was going to be squashed.

    Now, all of a sudden, sums of $1bn are being talked about and thrown around, and RIAA are acting like pussycats. Now, the last time I checked, accepting money in return for the protection of a business was called 'protection racketeering'. Granted, RIAA have a group of lawyers who can make this sound like the most legal protection racket you've ever heard of, but surely such a defender of principle as the RIAA shouldn't be adopting methodologies from organised crime?

    I ranted on here a long time ago about RIAA being a cartel, moving towards a system of increasing profits by charging high prices for generic, manufactured material (cheaper than real artists, remember), thus trying to charge more money for 'product', which, as far as I'm concerned, is vastly inferior to 'music'. It looks like they've neutered the first wave of resistance to their plans.

    Those of us who came to Napster via the cluetrain will move on. OpenNAP is still around, as is Gnutella (which needs a serious re-working, but is still viable). What saddens me is that for once, we had a chance to say to the mainstream that there was a better way than The Man's, that there was an alternative, that occasionally building a better mousetrap does work. I just hope we get another chance to say it soon.
    PS. I know that RIAA's principle had to do with giving money to the artists, but I have a feeling that a large chunk of this $1bn will actually go to lawyers.

  • One of the "A"s in "RIAA" is "America". An OpenNap server can run in any juristiction. What's the chances that the music industry has a hard time fighting OpenNap in at least one juristiction?

    And the last "A" in "MPAA" is also "America", but that didn't stop them from going after non-US citizens and web hosts in their battles against DeCSS. When it comes to US mega-corps, many foreign governments seem very willing to bend over and take it.

  • by SlashGeek ( 192010 ) <petebibbyjr&gmail,com> on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @04:21PM (#416015)
    I agree, sort of. This could present other options to Napster far beyond what it seems though. If a small record label wanted their fair share, they could register with Napster. Mabey a payment-per-download system for non RIAA musicians. Napster, could in effect, nullify the Big Five when the contract expires. Musicans could just sign with Napster, with no contractural obligations, (other than Napsters agreement to pay the musicians), allow their music to be distributed on Napster, and still keep whatever other sponsors and promotors they would like to manage things like concerts and the like, and never have to deal with the RIAA co's to gain notoriety or distribution. Napster, in many ways, could become the next Big Five. If they do things right, they could stand to gain an awfull lot of power in the music business. And yes, I am sure that if some musicians didn't want to participate in the deal, some sort of settlement could be reached. I don't doubt Napster would still spend considerable time in court, but at $5.00-$1.67x50,000,000users, I'm sure they will be able to work something out. Almost all large corporations are constantly in court for some reason or another. Big money becomes a big target. That's just how things go. But I still see Napster as somewhat of a revolution. Music has been around for a lot longer than copyrights, RIAA, and recordable media. It will continue be around. But it will change, no doubt. The Big Five labels, like most companies, come and go in time. Their time is ending. Things are going to change. How they do, I don't think anybody can answer in detail right now. Napster and Napster-like services are the future of music distrobution. After the legal battles die down, and the smoke clears, I think we will be looking at something totally different than what we have today.

    "Everything that can be invented has been invented."

  • by nothng ( 147342 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @04:23PM (#416021)
    So in a new age artist aren't intitled to say what happens to their music? That's worse than RIAA... I don't have a problem with tape swapping and file sharing as long as no one is directly profitting off it. At least with gnutella there is no central server owned by corperate garbage making money off someone else's hard work. Napster does. Napster makes money by distributing other artist work and doesn't compensate them for it. Am I the only one that see's a problem with this?

    How is Napster selling out... they're buying in. It's a business if you haven't noticed. The main Idea for a business is to make money. Napster is now finally having to "pay" for their product. If they want to make money and stay in business they have no choice.

    Now as far as copyright laws and DMCA go, I certainly agree that the copy right laws are in great need of reform (although the last major act aside from the DMCA was the Copyright act of 1978 not the 1700's)

    I do think the RIAA has screwed more artists out of royalties than Napster ever will and oppose RIAA collecting internet royalties, much less charging 50% which is outrageous. I'd rather see a nonprofit org collect like ASCAP or BMI who typically charge between 12% and 17%.

    I think fair use laws need to be more specific and created to protect the consumer and artist more than the corporations like they do now. The US should aslo work towards breaking the strangle hold that the big 5 have on the music industry.

    Napster does to alot of good for the indy idustry and that's fine I won't argue, but if they are going to make money of the indy industry why not give some to the artist? is that too much to ask. I also disagree strongly with RIAA and assorted bands targeting napster users. I'd like to see RIAA kill over dead and napster do the right thing in paying artist there fair share. bottom line, if napster profits, why shouldn't the artist too?
  • You misunderstand what Napster will become: it will mutate into a vast pockmarked pimp for crypto-protected ''product'' that will only play the places you paid for. They don't want to ''change everything for the better'', they just want to be allowed to live so they can shovel cash at the bloated cold-eyed Lords of Contracts and dream of their exit strategy of selling out to sleek deadfaced shinybeetle chequestrokers.

    The Forces of Darkness have embraced crypto as a means to extend enforcement of arbitrary limitations for profit (moving it into Windows for example, with driver signing: DRM content will not play unless all your drivers have the crypto to prove they are ''legit''; Intel are pushing a design to encrypt the actual video data between the PC and the display unit) and things will get plenty worse and more restricted before they get better.

    The only upside is that so far pushing the crypto into the eyes and ears of the users is not currently economically feasible, otherwise they'd be looking at that too; that means that ultimately the content can always be hijacked if a modest loss of quality is acceptable.
  • $1 billion over 5 years is $200 million per year

    That's $4.00 per person per year, figuring 50 million users (sure there are . . .)

    That's $0.33 per month.

    But they'll still never get it.
  • I wonder what Metallica will say about their wanting 'control of distribution' argument now...

    They'd apparently be in the $50 mil going to independent artists (the ones who own their own music).

    All your hallucinogen [] are belong to us.
  • by Agrippa ( 111029 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @04:24PM (#416030)
    1) Napster doesn't have 50 million users. It's the same thing as the ICQ/AIM or MSN or Yahoo or just about anyone on the web's numbers. Multiple accounts, forgotten accounts, abandoned accounts all take their toll on the real number. Sure, Napster has a lot of users, but no where near 50 million. I myself have 4 from testing the Napster module for perl. I forget the actual numbers, but ICQ has something like only 5-6 million real users for the tens of millions of accounts.

    2) Charging people for what they previously got for free on the internet won't work. It's been proven time and time again. Napster might be able to make this model work to some extent, but not in the sheer quantity needed to even approach payment on their settlement. At $9, they need a little under 2 million monthly subscriptions. At $5, they need a little under 4 million subscriptions. Those are big numbers for an internet subscription service.

    3) There are free Napster alternatives. 'Nuff said.

    4) Quality of content. If you're going to pay, you expect your download not to time out or mrHaX0r01 to not cut you off in the middle of the download because he's rebooting his machine. We put up with these inconviences now because it's free. If my phone company started disconnecting my calls in the middle of conversations I wouldn't be too happy. There is a level of service expected when you pay for something, and I don't believe they have that level of service to attain the subscriptions necessary.

    Enjoy your Napster while you can. This settlement offer shows that Napster knows it lost and knows its royally screwed. There is very little chance that Napster can raise over $200 million a year profit to pay for this, and the record companies know that.

  • You think the only thing they are going to do is bank on subscriber base? Are we all so short sighted that we can't see that they are going to use this to push advertisments on us while we use it? That is more money! 50 million eyes commands a large sum of greenbacks. I think we are all being a little short sighted about what napster is about to do. They will have a virtual strangle hold on mp3/aac propogation on the net, at least legal.

    They will attack those that are not napster, and the music company will do so as well. With that kind of subscriber base they are laying the foundation for music videos, movies, etc...Who do you think the movie industry will go to when compression gets good enough to push it over broadband? I would think they would goto napster, the guys that have the 50 million base allready in their backpocket.

    If they get this they will become the next AOL of the internet, pushing it with the newest killer app to hit the market and sucking up the others as they go. This is only the start if they side this over on the music community.

    Listen to your music, but what them become and empire.

  • I agree, you're damn right. Napster sold out, the music industry showed more guts than those idiots did.
  • by rigor6969 ( 240549 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @04:28PM (#416041) Homepage
    Lets go over this. Who is going to pay the $1B? The users? yup. What users? Well the users who decide to pay the $9/month so they can download mp3's off other people who pay $9/month! Stupid. Wait? I thought the new napster server will be a central server that you can leech off of unlimited? No thats , soon to be another casaulty dot bomb. Whose going to pay? Those that are stupid. You can still use napster without a napster server. Napster is a frickin IRC server, The server software is available. Napigator and others will let you use your favourite "pir8" napster-based server for free still. These servers will run in countries where they can exist legally. So whose going to pay this $1B? Well if they are lucky and get 10% of the subscriber base, that would be just fine and dandy. Wait emusic already is trying to do this? They are failing. So why would napster succeed? They won't. Are you going to pay $9/month to leech off others who pay $9/month? Hell no. Better come up with a new business plan , napster. It's not realistic, it's not going to succeed. This is the internet, we aren't going to pay for something that is already free. Why not start charging to read and post at slashdot? Cause it would be out of business in a month.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @04:29PM (#416043)
    1. Is it likely that they're going to get 50 MILLION people to pay this? How many people are there in the US, like 400 million? Less? (yes, I know the Internet is global, just for perspective)
    There are about 270 million people in the US. AOL has 27 million members paying $20/month.
    2. What's going to stop people from sharing Napster accounts?
    General cheapness, access to billing information, one-login-at-a-time. Why does AOL have so many members?
    3. Is subscribing to this new industry-sanctioned Napster going to mean that what was formerly called "pirated" mp3s are now legal to own? Ie, is this buying a license to own MP3s for CDs you didnt' buy because you bought a Napster subscription? Am I allowed to then trade those MP3s via a non-napster (freenet, gnutella, or something else) system?
    Read earlier articles on Napster's lock-out technology. Oh, and remember the implicit result here - other services may arise, but they'll also be required to negotiate a licensing agreement with every copyright holder in the world or face the long arm of the law. Arresting small-time copyright violators isn't just a Belgian thing.
    4. What kind of crazy license/agreement am I gonna have to sign to subscribe? I can't wait to read this agreement. I have a feeling, knowing the RIAA, it will not exactly be equitable, and birthright forfeiture may be included.
    Whatever license agreement they want. They are the copyright holders and they hold the monopoly, just like OSS developers and the GPL.
  • by Restil ( 31903 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @04:29PM (#416044) Homepage
    The point is, that deep down, the RIAA is smart. They know that the great percentage of the music traded on Napster wouldn't be purchased anyways. Its not money they're losing, they're just afraid that their loyal purchasing crowd might SOMEDAY drift into that environment and they'll start losing real sales. At least with a monetary figure attached to the service, people will be less inclined to switch over to it over purchasing CD's.

    However, the RIAA isn't about to start admitting that napster for the time being probably is generating more cd sales than stealing them, but they would rather lose money and keep a stranglehold on the market rather than let that market drift away from them.

  • Well, by their actions I believe they have admitted the need to reach some kind of agreement with the record companies. That basically gives the power to the record companies. If I was the record companies, I'd simply hold out for as much money as I could squeeze from Napster.

    I bet it ends up being a LOT more than 1.67 per.
  • I think this is a very good idea. I don't buy much music now, because I like to dabble and don't listen to a particular song for more than a few weeks. For access to a huge library of music like Napster, I know dozens of people (including me) that would pay up to $10. That's a lot more than many people spend on CDs now, and in the end, something like this might allow the record business to make *more* money.
  • Banner ads are actually closer to $1 per 1,000 nowadays. That's why so many content dotcoms are dead or dying...
    OliverWillis.Com []
  • Anyone else wondering why Shawn Fanning is still hanging on? Heck I'd have jumped ship with whatever $$$ I could grab and start working on my next project. I know its his baby, but its looking pretty grim. Bail and work on the next 'piss off RIAA' project!


  • correct! here's a snip from an article []:
    Napster said it believed subscription revenues would easily cover that amount. The company said that its basic subscription service would cost between $2.95 and $4.95 a month that would allow a limited number of transfers. Premium service, which lets people download all they want, would cost between $5.95 and $9.95. Extras, such as the permission to burn songs to a CD or transfer them to another format, would require additional fees, which have not yet been set.
  • by psocccer ( 105399 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @05:04PM (#416069) Homepage
    I checked the last /. article about this secure sharing thing:
    The technology will enable the sharing of MP3 files to which a protection layer will be added as the file is transferred from one Napster user to the other. The Napster client will be enhanced to support this protection. The solution will not use any existing multi-purpose DRM but a new security architecture that is specially tailored to the requirements of file-sharing.

    Unfortunately I've been unable to find any information about this "enhanced support." Does this mean I can't use Win/X11 Amp any more? My RIO? Anything else that uses MP3? They mention that it's enforced in the napster software, but the only real way to "enforce" it would be to make it unusable everywhere else, so does that mean that the nap. client is the only thing that can play these so called mp3s?

    Like I said, I looked and found nothing about the tech, the background, or anything. Any links or ideas out there?

    Also, while browsing the napster site looking for answers, I came accross this (stuff highlighted by me):

    What will the pricing structure be? Napster is planning a tiered membership model that includes a "Basic Membership" plan and a "Premium Membership" plan. Definitive pricing has not been set. However, Napster is looking at a price range of $2.95 to $4.95 per month for the Basic membership that would have a monthly file transfer limitation built in. The Premium membership, which could cost between $5.95 and $9.95 per month would offer unlimited file transfers.

    Did any one else notice these two little blurbs?

  • For an industry reporting [] revenues of $15b a year in the U.S. alone and deathly fearful of the internet it seems that $1b over 5 years is small potatos compared to the perceived loss of control.
    Somehow, I don't think the Luddites will accept...
  • I have to agree on this. If Napster can raise $1B with 1.67/user, they are obviously going to want a piece for themselves -- which the RIAA sees as theirs. If napster makes a billion as well, then (in my best de niro voice) the record companies don't see it as making a billion but LOSING a billion.

    They want total end-to-end control of the distribution and use of the content.

  • If the music industry is losing sooooo much money to people pirating music, then why do all the big newspapers GIVE AWAY their news stories on their websites?

    Ever heard of:
    The Detroit News [] (My hometown rag)
    The London Times []
    The New York Times []
    USA Today []
    The L.A. Times []
    The Boston Globe []

    The list goes on and on.

    It's obvious to me that these newspapers are generating their own revenue by advertising themselves. Music artists have it easy because the LISTENERS do most of the promotions when they rip/encode to MP3!!!

    IMHO, this whole napster thing looks like one ingenious publicity stunt to sell MORE records.

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.