Napster: legal free-ish music downloads… grown up, mainstream & charting

Napster: choose from 1m music downloadsIn the run up to the UK’s first official chart to include downloads, the music industry launched around 1,000 lawsuits across eleven countries. The days of substantial illegal music downloads are coming to an inevitable end, as downloading takes its place as the quickest, cheapest and most versatile route to market. Music downloads are grown-up, mainstream, charting… and mostly legal.

While the number one stayed the same, it has had an effect with Basement Jaxx eighteen places higher than they would have been, Gorillaz charting without a proper singles release and the Presley estate suffering a further set back on its already failed mission to get the King another clutch of number ones with him slipping. It’s not so surprising that Elvis’s terrestrial sales chart success was never matched online.

I was never convinced that illegal downloads – which are in terminal decline – were here to stay. The idea of music being free (like musicians don’t want paying) was always utopian nonsense and just because the theft was easy and felt harmless didn’t mean it was. But more importantly, advocates seemed to forget that they were carrying on in public. Today’s Napster (happily selling legal music downloads here), is nothing like the original first generation peer-to-peer network, with its central list of MP3s and other stuff for download. Napster was an easy target, but while today’s systems don’t rely on central hubs, they simply can’t guarantee the anonymity you need to avoid capture while staying open enough to offer the huge database of music required to make it all worthwhile.

And illegal downloading is unreliable and risky, while newly legal Napster is cheap, easy to use and you can try it free.
Jamster mobile ringtone chart… hits & novelty……Elvis… wrong, wrong, wrong
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2 thoughts on “Napster: legal free-ish music downloads… grown up, mainstream & charting

  1. And here was me thinking that eDonkey was on the rise and we were all riding on the crest of a massive BitTorrent wave…

  2. Let’s be honest.. GNUTella and FastTrack networks are here to stay. Almost everyone “illegally” downloads music, who really cares? The only people that miss out are the record companies that are all greedy and torture people with DRM (crap that should itself be illegal!).

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