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Napster Introduces Subscription Charge

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the introduction-of-the-inevitable dept.

Music 372

Simon Cozens writes "The BBC is reporting that Napster is introducing a subscription charge to pay off the music industry. " And the real question is what percentage of Napster users will shell out the clams vs moving to OpenNap or Gnutella.

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news from the future (5)

yoz (3735) | more than 13 years ago | (#472508)

Funny, I just got this news item through a wormhole in the space-time

June 16th, 2001

Further to CEO Hank Barry's predictions earlier this year, Napster Inc. (a
wholly-owned subsidiary of TimeWarner-AOL-Bertelsmann-Universal) started
charging users to log onto their popular file sharing service. Since its
launch in 1998, 60 million users have created accounts.

The new subscription-based service, which entirely replaces the previously
free version of Napster, was launched at midnight last night. For a mere ten
dollars a month, users are given unlimited access to the Napster service and
the shared files of other users.

In the 18 hours since the launch, three users have subscribed. One of them,
"br1tneyD00D", was quoted earlier as saying "ne1 got nud brit pics...
thanks... and what is this opennap thing that every1 talks about".

Asked if he was worried by the sudden drop in Napster usage, Mr Barry
replied "See this desk? Real mahogany. Yours for two hundred bucks. Really,
you can walk out with it now. Okay, one hundred, but you're twisting my

-- Yoz

Downloads from Napster servers (5)

Markonen (56381) | more than 13 years ago | (#472509)

This, I have to say, is a novel concept; paying a middle man when there (technically) isn't one.

If Alice wants to download a Metallica tune from Bob, I don't really see them shelling out the $$$ for Napster. But if Alice would be free to download the same tunes from reliable, comprehensive and fast Napster MP3 archives, the story might be different. Is Napster just dumping the whole P2P concept and beginning the transformation into plain vanilla MP3 distributor?

price? hello? (3)

ywwg (20925) | more than 13 years ago | (#472510)

Has anyone heard anything relating to price? I mean, we all knew a subscription fee was coming, so this news is really no surprise. But I want to know how much they plan to charge.

On top of that, are they going to lock out systems like OpenNap? There are a few servers that have at least as many songs as the official servers, so won't everyone just start using those?

not a bad idea (2)

spankerofmonkeys (306088) | more than 13 years ago | (#472511)

Really, it isn't all that bad. As long as the fee isn't too large, using Napster will stay easily be less expensive than purchasing albums at the store or even online. Perhaps they will even make it legal, selling individual tracks at pennies on the dollar.

So? (1)

Kryptonomic (161792) | more than 13 years ago | (#472512)


What has changed is that now the Napster has become one of the first, real distribution channels for commercial music. I guess that those who used Napster mainly to download music that they hadn't bought will move on to OpenNap. Those who used it to sample music before buying it on CD, will pay the subscription fee. I know I will.

So? (1)

Kryptonomic (161792) | more than 13 years ago | (#472513)


What has changed is that now the Napster has become one of the first, real electronic distribution channels for commercial music. I guess that those who used Napster mainly to download music that they hadn't bought will move on to OpenNap. Those who used it to sample music before buying it, will pay the subscription fee. I know I will.

Not gonna happen... (4)

binner (68996) | more than 13 years ago | (#472514)

First off, I'm not one of the guys that downloads songs just to have them...I download songs that I already own, and the very occasional single that I wouldn't buy in a store.

There is no way that I'm going to pay twice for songs that I've purchased legally already. I am all for supporting the artists, but not twice.

My $0.02


odd (2)

bdigit (132070) | more than 13 years ago | (#472515)

Its kind of odd that their charging, I mean we're putting our mp3s on their service and their charging us for it? We should be charging them, we're the ones keeping the service alive by going on it. So we have to charge now to download other people's mp3s, I think their should be something where if you put x amount of mp3s on the service you only have to pay x amount of dollars. Just my two cents.

Somebody's paying attention... (1)

notcarlos (139684) | more than 13 years ago | (#472516)

"And Mr Barry maintains that record sales are rising: 'If you give people more access to music, they buy more music.'"

Ah ha! You see, someone understands. Maybe this will be peace. If it's cheap, I'm for it, say $5 a month.

Geek Culture killed my dog/
and I don't think it's fair...

I konw I should've finished dloading Deltron3030!! (3)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 13 years ago | (#472517)

I know I should have finished filling up that second harddrive last week!!!

Anyway, I haven't been using gnutella because it is slower, less reliable and seems to have less of a selection. But as soon as Napster goes to pay, it's probably going to have more of a selection, leading more people to use it, leading more people to use it, until nobody cares about NApster anymore anyway.

BTW, get a gnutella program here... freepeer's bearshare program []

the end of an era .. (1)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 13 years ago | (#472518)

but what's next? i sure haven't seen anything REMOTELY as easy to use as Napster .. i'm not saying Gnutella or OpenNap are terrible for Slashdot readers, but the vast majority of Napster's customers are casual-to-moderate computer users who would never put up with the idiosynchracies of gnutella and its ilk.

i expect many people will stop downloading MP3s altogether, after being briefly frustrated by the alternatives suggested by their nerdy friend, and many will subscribe to Napster's sellout pay service.

today marks a significant shift in the balance of power here folks. we no longer have the software and money on our side.

Re:news from the future (1)

the Man in Black (102634) | more than 13 years ago | (#472519)

On topic first post, AND it's hilarious. :-)

Speaking personally, I've already made the hop to OpenNap servers....I choose not to pay a middle man for a direct peer-to-peer connection anyway.

BMG-Napster, Inc. Last of the 1999-2000 dot-coms to fall? Maybe they'll be in next year's E-Trade Superbowl commercial. :-)

--Just Another Pimp A$$ Perl Hacker

Ahh, so copying music IS okay... (1)

Rift (3915) | more than 13 years ago | (#472520)

As long as you have to pay somebody

I don't understand - the music industry has been saying that using napster is tantamount to stealing from them (stuff they rightfully stole in the first place!), but if we have to pay to steal from them, and they get a bit of the action, it's okay?

And as for the artists that get royalties per disc or single, they will get what out of this? We pay napster a 'subscription'. They bribe - er, pay the RIAA off, and no where in there does the artist that actually created the work get a dime, right? there's no accounting of WHAT was copied, so no royalty. The RIAA later re-affirms that napster is bad, but doesn't do anything about it as long as they get a check every month, the artists still get squat, and we are again paying THE WRONG PEOPLE for music

That's why I like openNap and sites that pay the artists directly: I'd rather steal music than pay the RIAA for it. I'd rather pay the artists to keep making music than anything else, and I'd rather rant on slashdot than actually DOING anything. It's a great world.

NOT ME!!!! (1)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | more than 13 years ago | (#472521)

Napster, that rollover and play dead sellout in the fight against intellectual property tyranny can die a slow miserable death!!! When it is drawing it's last decrepit breath, I shall be wonderously indifferent

But...I really have no strong opinions about this.

The sig below has been upgraded to this less funny one. - GeneralEmergency

"A microprocessor... is a terrible thing to waste." --

Quality of Service? (3)

Ian Pointer (11337) | more than 13 years ago | (#472522)

At the moment, I expect nothing from Napster; if a song cuts out in mid-download it is a pain, but as I'm going to be getting the track for free, I don't mind spending a bit more time getting the track later on. Once money gets involved (and I have no qualm about paying a monthly/yearly fee in order for access to a music catalogue), I (and I'm sure others) will expect a much better quality of servers. And I'm also feeling a bit uneasy about the fact that Napster's current line of defence (being a common carrier) doesn't quite suit once they start charging for the service. After all, it's the people who use Napster who make it valuable, not the server setup. Anyway, we shall see...

Re:odd (1)

bdigit (132070) | more than 13 years ago | (#472523)

make that they're charging. Got into the heat of the post and lost my grammar.

Excuse me, legal question. (1)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 13 years ago | (#472524)

But they want us to py for music that everyone has been screaming is illegal to copy? Make up your minds people.

Darn (1)

Dino (9081) | more than 13 years ago | (#472525)

Darn. Even after all this hoopla, I just got around to installing Napster a couple weeks ago. The softwares not too bad.

Looks like I'll be going back to Hotline, which is where many of my MP3s came from (the rest were ripped from CD).

Got to love these record companies who still distribute their warez on uncompressed optical discs when they could have been using audio+video compression technology to distribute all of the bands songs and music videos on CD.

Perhaps if they spent less money suing people and more money on R&D, people might be more willing to shell out $$ for their product (I know I would shell out $$ for the aforementioned item!)

IT was bound to happen (2)

FoulBeard (112622) | more than 13 years ago | (#472526)

Sooner or later, they had to keep it free so it would snowball. ITs actually a good service, I would be willing to pay for my account. As long as they dont do bandwidth charging.

Napster Can't really do much... (2)

11thangel (103409) | more than 13 years ago | (#472527)

90% of the users are cheap SOB's like myself. They won't pay anything, mostly because they dont have anything. Lots of em are kids. And yes, thanks to napigator for windows and built in support on gnapster, very few users will NEED to pay to get music. Thank you opensource.

ID tags and ripping off the artists (5)

cah1 (5152) | more than 13 years ago | (#472528)

Ok, so Napster plans to charge for use.

How's it planning to distribute the spoils? It surely won't be using the ID tags? Naah, it'll just heft over a wedge to the recording companies.

They'll get richer and not one artist will receive a penny.

Sanctioning of Napser by the music industry? (5)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 13 years ago | (#472529)

Does this move ammount to sanctioning of Napster by the music industry ala the DAT tax.

I have no desire to rip off the music industry or the artists, who IMO have every right to charge whatever the heck the like for CDs (as I have every right to buy them or not buy them at a given price... it's not like we're talking about essentials of life here).

I'd actually prefer that the music indstry just get its act together and start a subscription based music download service. Maybe $30/month for unlimited downloads, or something like that. If the quality was good enough (ie, MUCH better than MP3), and if other goodies like cover art, etc were also downloadable, I'd sign up in a minute. Even at that price, it would save me a ton of money over what I spend now on CDs.


Re:Not gonna happen... (1)

spankerofmonkeys (306088) | more than 13 years ago | (#472530)

If you already purchased the music, what are you using napster for? Do you enjoy clogging up bandwidth that those of us without money to purchase every album (but PLENTY of blank CD-R's) could be using? Why not just rip it from the cd's that you own?

Not doing it... Nope! (1)

Q-Hack! (37846) | more than 13 years ago | (#472531)

I Sorry, but I can't see paying somebody outside of a P2P connection. Gnutella et. all are viable options that work almost as well, so cya Napster...

How to force Linux Napster to use OpenNap servers? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 13 years ago | (#472532)

I use Linux Napster (Home Page [] ). It only seems to connect to Napster's official servers. How do I switch to an OpenNap like Napigator in Windozes?

Thanks. :)

Re:the end of an era .. (2)

Maeryk (87865) | more than 13 years ago | (#472533)

**but what's next? i sure haven't seen anything REMOTELY as easy to use as Napster .. i'm not saying Gnutella or OpenNap are terrible for Slashdot readers, but the vast majority of Napster's customers are casual-to-moderate computer users who would never put up with the idiosynchracies of gnutella and its ilk**

I gave up on all that crap long ago.. I do AGSattelite now..

I like it.. both the Windows and Linux versions work well, (linux with minimal tweakage) and I get tons of songs much faster than with Napster.

Try it out.. its pretty nice.. and I have found the usual 5 second songs, and crap, and mistitled artists/songs, but its still pretty good, with a *huge* genra sweep.


Well (1)

phishtaper (303217) | more than 13 years ago | (#472534)

I am glad they bundled an uninstall.

My guess is (3)

JCCyC (179760) | more than 13 years ago | (#472535)

Napster will start to offer MP3 themselves -- in addition to users making theirs available from download. With the Bertelsmann deal they're in a position to do just that (at least with Bertelsmann material at first). Expect to see usernames like "NapsterRepository00028834" in your Napster search results.

Some kind of CRC check for legitimacy could also be added, so I know the copy of Rush's "Tom Sawyer"(*) L33tD00d has is the same as the original and not some horribly recorded-from-tape version.

Also, I want discounts (preferrably up to 100% depending on collection size) for people who put songs up as opposed to download-only people.

(*)I don't know which megacorp owns Rush. If it isn't Bertelsmann, what the heck, you understood the general scheme.

Opennap? Hahahaha (3)

evil_one (142582) | more than 13 years ago | (#472536)

As much as I love (and use) the opennap servers, they are not a viable alternative to commercial napster. The servers have limited load, for one, and the (commercial) Napster users DON'T KNOW ABOUT IT. A friend of mine was recently banned by Metallica because she had a song titled "Metallica-Sucks.MP3"
She didn't know what to do, because her IP dosn't change, and she couldn't get around the block. I asked her if she tried Napigator [] or any of the alternatives. Her response? "What? You mean that there's more than just napster?"
She's just a typical college student. If the average student dosn't know about the options, who does?
No, the typical Slashdotter dosn't count on this one.

Re:Not gonna happen... (1)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 13 years ago | (#472537)

Why would you download songs you already have? Wouldn't it be easier and quicker just to rip them to .mp3 format... and that way, you have complete control over the quality settings rather than letting some guy out there decide for you.


i will pay for it but! (2)

segmond (34052) | more than 13 years ago | (#472538)

i would pay for it, but it will suck if i logon to find only 100 other users! so what will they do? make you share for free? and pay to download? what if i have 100000 mp3s to share, will they pay me some $$$? if not, then they are exploiting me, no? unless they plan to put those mp3s up their themselves, i don't see how this will work out fairly.

Time for alternatives ? (1)

Zappa (26961) | more than 13 years ago | (#472539)

Well, it seems as if it's time to change to other services which allready are available. OpenNap is an alternative as long as copyright enforcement or legal troubles allow networks like this to survive, after that its time for freenet - if this concept may survive.

Unknowns (3)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 13 years ago | (#472540)

And the real question is what percentage of Napster users will shell out the clams vs moving to OpenNap or Gnutella.

Of course, this is assuming that most Napster users even know about OpenNap or Gnutella. I know that at least 95% of my computer literate friends have never even heard of either one of them, and the ones that do are the active *nix users, not the casual MS Office users.

If 90% of Napster's clients come from Joe and Jill Schmoe using AOL, who don't know A) what the alternatives are or B) where to get them, than Napster has a pretty good racket going. Hook 'em by giving it away, then start charging later. They probably would have had to go to a subscription basis sooner or later, just to turn a profit, music industry lawsuits or no.

Re:Downloads from Napster servers (5)

Alex (342) | more than 13 years ago | (#472541)

That is I would say *THE* crucial question WRT to the success or failure of subscription Napster.

I would be prepared to pay for Napster, but in return I would like a defined QoS.

Will there will be different levels of access?

Basic Access - standard service

Bronze Access - Access to the same selection, all downloads come from Napsters (cacheing?) servers.

Silver Access - As above, quality of mp3 guarenteed to be at a certain level.

Gold Access - As above, Napster actively populate the archive you have access to.

Platinum Access - All records labels back catalogues on line ready for download.

"Black" Access - The software you get is so *ucking clever it works out what you want before you want it downloads it and puts it into your playlist so all you need to do is press play and you get the music you want without even having to think about it...

maybe not...

Hmm (1)

Hikahi (171188) | more than 13 years ago | (#472542)

I'd rather pay napster than funnel my hard earned cash into the music industry through the record companies.

There's an upper limit at which the net chokes (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 13 years ago | (#472543)

Funny how even on my 100Mbit Ethernet dorm connection I can't do shit because I'm queued behind 50+ 56kers on a Cable share.

I'm not impressed. With MP3s it's kinda simple, go for the high bitrates to get quality.

I tried using Gnutella for other media. Now it's even worse.

Rips of movies where you can't read subtitles, real media files that stop and refuse to fast forward, Gig wasting but better quality mpegs and divxen.

I recently dumped a certain 5Gig anime series (95 episodes) to CD. They're in real media. They go from so-so to crap. Viewable if you like babysitting the controls.

The mpegs would be at least 5 to 6 times the size or even double that because these 50MBs average files were monaural.

The divx would be leaner but it already takes 9 CDs to hold them. On a few DVDs (I'm so getting those as soon as get the drive) I would get better quality HDTV support and less space wasted.

On the other hand if we had somne sort of multicast tuning for the unicast net, you could conceivably get all the data as it strobes across.

They'll still have a free service (1)

Shagg (99693) | more than 13 years ago | (#472544)

Napster going to subscriptions is old news. However, what I remember when this was originally announced was that they would still retain a free service. There weren't too many details then about what features would be pay only though.

Does anyone know if this is still their plan, or have they decided to make it subscription only? This article didn't go into much detail.

Re:Ahh, so copying music IS okay... (1)

BLAMM! (301082) | more than 13 years ago | (#472545)

From the article: Mr Barry also said royalties would be paid to artists whose material is swapped over the internet with the help of Napster software.

Well, gee, isn't that generous? Why would you want to pay the artist directly when the RIAA will do it for you? Some people are never happy.

The previous troll was brought to you by Send replies to

Naeser's Law:

napster shouldn't be paid (1)

ukyoCE (106879) | more than 13 years ago | (#472546)

If I want to buy a song I like, I'll go to CDnow or emusic.
If I want to sample a song or band, to see if it's worth paying for an album or individual song, then I find a friend to sample the music from. I've been buying a LOT more music now that I have thousands of "friends" on Napster to sample from, as opposed to only a few friends who like music similar to mine.

Some of my favorite bands, for instance Pain and Johnny Socko, I would never have even heard of without being able to sample it for free. Napster helps small artists get their music to people outside their home town.

Why pay? (1)

rayamor (245814) | more than 13 years ago | (#472547)

With tons of other file sharing programs, why pay for music? The whole point of using Napster is to get free music. I don't care about the record companies, and I don't care about the artists. I care about how fat my wallet is. Shelling out money for "sound" doesn't go well with me anymore.

I'll pay (2)

Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) | more than 13 years ago | (#472548)

I know that I for one am planning to pay as long as Napster's database is larger than any other. As a jazz musician and arranger, I use Napster to listen to as many different recordings of the same song that I can find before writing a new arrangement of it or playing it in an ensemble. Since I'm often looking for relatively obscure songs, or else obscure recordings of well-known songs, an alternative system like OpenNap or Gnutella wouldn't be as much use until they have anywhere near the user base as Napster. Right now they seem to have primarily pop music. (Nothing wrong with pop music, it's just not what I'm usually looking for...)

So artist-bloodsucking continues? (1)

drnomad (99183) | more than 13 years ago | (#472549)

ThE middle-man, thE distributor, thE record industry has now protected their revenue? This means that artists still don't get jack-shit for their 'creative work'?

What's happening man? I mean, Britney is not a musician or a vocalist, she's a couple of dancing tits! (Okay, nothing against tits there, but you get the point). Musicians are pushed to the background, 'idols' are pushed to the front because marketing laws say that quality is defined by the user's experience - what does one feel during product usage. Does this mean that entertainment industries will sell you life-styles in future, aren't they already doing this?

The only party getting rich is the distributor, which isn't Napster.

Re:the end of an era .. (2)

stereoroid (234317) | more than 13 years ago | (#472550)

I second the recommendation of AudioGalaxy [] ... it's far too easy to find good music, so much so that I keep wondering if it's some kind of "honey pot" sting operation!

Join up - the more the merrier. I have about 2GB of weird stuff shared out right now.

Re:odd (1)

ChaosEmerald (178369) | more than 13 years ago | (#472551)

Think about it similar to eBay. eBay charges you to put an item for sale... in theory, you could do it in other ways, but you won't get the same ammount of people. Napster, similarly is letting you pay for "the use of the server". Choose OpenNap and you won't get as many people. It's that simple.

I don't think they get it (1)

uriyan (176677) | more than 13 years ago | (#472552)

Paying for the subscription contradicts the Internet's best quality: it is free. It is also anonymous, so that whatever you do, in most of the cases you can't be easily tracked.

Now, when Napster becomes for-pay, it no longer possesses the two advantages above. People won't buy it, at least not until there are no other choices.

Luckily for us, we have ample choices. Gnutella is one, OpenNap is another. There's really nothing indispensable about Napster. Ironically, I think that Napster could have made much profit, if they put ads into their service. However, now the loss is theirs alone.

The bottom line is: The king is dead - long live the king.

Re:Opennap? Hahahaha (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#472554)

A couple years ago, the typical college student didn't know about Napster, either. Things can grow pretty quickly by word-of-mouth, especially when the "official" Napster starts charging. I bet people can figure it out.

Sellout! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#472555)

Where are all the people who cry sellouts when Metallica is mentioned?

Shouldn't they be saying the same things about Napster, Inc. right now?


Re:Hmm (1)

sandman935 (228586) | more than 13 years ago | (#472556)

Who do you think Napster is going to buy off with this money?? Pay Napster then Napster pays record company after raking off some at the top for themselves.

CRC checks won't work. (2)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 13 years ago | (#472557)

...simply because every MP3 encoder works with a different algorithm, producing slightly different results - not to mention CD audio rippers that produce quantitatively and qualitatively different source files.

Collection size won't be a valid basis for discounts either, because users will make up fake band names and songs for thousands of files to reduce their subscription costs. And since no one will be looking for those fake songs, it will be impossible to enforce.

Re:news from the future (2)

nytewolf (306811) | more than 13 years ago | (#472558)

I am going to go against the norm and say, you know what, for $10/month, as long as it is unlimmited service...sure, I'd pay. You have to figure that all of the new music is going to keep on making it's way onto Napster. I'd rather pay $10/month, and be able to dl and new albums (which you can often find in their entirety) or even new songs (without having to buy the often lousy songs on the rest of the album) without shelling out $15 for a CD. Here's simple food for thought - When the new Pantera album had come out, I had it that night.... and then burned it to CD an hour later.

Getting the momentum (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 13 years ago | (#472559)

Lets be honest about this one, the majority of people on napster are on there because the music is free.

The only way you're going to get people to pay a subscription is if there are enough people on there to share music. No-one in their right mind is going to cough up the money to find himself (or herself) and 14 other people.

So how on earth are you going to persuade the people to get there in the first place? If 30,000 people suddenly decide to subscribe then the momentum will be there for the project to suceed. But things like that don't happen.

Finally, how are you going to persuade people to join when they realise that Napster are going to be making money out of the songs that they make available and the bandwidth that they waste when someone uploads something?

(Sure, since the majority of stuff isn't theirs rightfully in the first place you could say the money is eventually going to the rightful people, but since no-one has come up with a good description about how thats going to happen)

In short, I can't see it working. People will just give up. Sure there are other things but I doubt the majority of current users will or will ever know about any of them.


Such a Bad Idea (4)

jackal! (88105) | more than 13 years ago | (#472560)

The music industry is okay with this? Don't the have any idea how consumers think?

Right now I use Napster to explore new music, and I usually end up buying CDs of the stuff I like. But if I have to pay for the service, suddenly I'm interested in "getting my money's worth". Now I'll want to use Napster more often because I'm paying for it. In addition, I'm not going to want to buy CD's. Why? Because I already paid for the music once. Why would I want to pay again?

No one really knows how much Napster actually helped the sale of CDs. But whatever it is, after fees it'll probably go down.

I wonder if there's anyone who'll START using Napster because of the fees? Perhaps they'll be more comfortable now that it seems more legal...


Re:odd (1)

kodiar (226287) | more than 13 years ago | (#472561)

Well, yeah, but all those servers/ employees they have don't come cheap. Not to mention the amount of money they're going to pay the music industry to keep them happy.
Mmmmm For profit.

Right idea, wrong recipient. (2)

cje (33931) | more than 13 years ago | (#472562)

While I think that the idea of compensation for the "right to use Napster" is a good thing, I have to wonder if this type of setup really makes sense. You have to look at where the money will flow versus where it should flow. In this case, I think that the obvious recipient of any cash should be the person who is hosting the MP3s. After all, you're not downloading MP3s from Napster per se; you're downloading them from another anonymous Internet user who is providing the files as a service to the community as a whole. Up until now, that service has been provided for free.

Case in point: if some skinny earringed punk spends all night downloading Limp Bizkit MP3s from my machine over his 56K modem, and in so doing reduces my total available bandwidth for things such as 2.4 a kernel download, if anybody should be getting paid for it, it's me. Napster is the only widely-used Internet application that involves people just giving away large chunks of bandwidth for free without any form of compensation (either directly or indirectly through methods such as forced advertisement viewing.) There is no reason that this state of affairs needs to be maintained.

This could be worked out fairly easily, I think; all you would really need is to have everybody establish PayPal [] accounts and then modify the central Napster server so that it credits and debits appropriate amounts of money upon completion of a download. A dime a song? A quarter? These are numbers that we can work out. The important thing is getting the infrastructure in place. Once that is done, the rest of the pesky details can be worked out.

At any rate, money-to-the-hoster is the only fair and equitable scenario. It doesn't need to go to Napster itself; all they do is provide a simple online database that points you to the folks who are doing the real work. And it sure as hell doesn't need to go to the RIAA; the CDs that the songs were ripped from were already paid for once. You don't see the government tax you twice on the same income (except for inheritance taxes, perhaps, but that's a different debate.) You don't see the justice system attempt to try people twice for the same crime after they've been acquitted.

So if Napster is going to move to a pay-for-play model, good .. let's just make sure we get it right.

It Depends... (1)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | more than 13 years ago | (#472563)

>And the real question is what percentage of
>Napster users will shell out the clams vs moving
>to OpenNap or Gnutella.

Well, it depends. HOW MUCH I would pay also depends:

If the subscription fee goes to Fanning and Co. for providing such an awesome service as Napster:
$5 / month

IF the subscription fee goes into a general fund to be distributed to the artists whose songs are downloaded:
$10 / month

If the system is set up so that MY fee goes ONLY to the artists *I* download (ie. if I download five Less Than Jake tracks, anf five Paul Oakenfold tracks, Less Than Jake gets half of MY fee, and Oakenfold gets half of MY fee, but the backstreet boys don't get ANYTHING from me):
$15 / month

If the RIAA/Metallica get so much as a penny:

Resistance is NOT futile!!!

I am not a drone.
Remove the collective if

Re:The Article Itself - Before it's /.ed (1)

doctor_oktagon (157579) | more than 13 years ago | (#472564)

You're never going to /. the BBC ... they are public funded, so they are very adept at wasting squillions of quid buying big server farms.


Re:Not gonna happen... (1)

joshsisk (161347) | more than 13 years ago | (#472565)

I don't know about the poster, but at home I listen to music on my stereo... If I want to hear a song at work, I just Napster it... Don't want to deal with the hassle of encoding my whole collection... (Especially since about 1/3 of my collection is on vinyl and I don't currently have my computer setup to record from my turntable... But plenty of people have already done it and made the songs available.) It's much easier for me that way.

Josh Sisk

So now... (3)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 13 years ago | (#472566)

They'll be making a direct buck from the illicit trade of copyrighted materials? If I recall the copyright laws correctly, this entitles you to an even more massive ass raping at the hands of the copyright holders.

Maybe someone didn't think this all the way through...

Napster? why? (2)

linuxci (3530) | more than 13 years ago | (#472567)

Personally I've not used Napster for ages, I dunno if things have improved but last time I looked you couldn't do things such as resume partially downloaded files.

I quite like the audiogalaxy [] software. Basically you download their piece of software called the "satellite [] " and you then use a web based interfact to select what songs you want to download, then without hassle it downloads the songs without further interaction. As it's web based you can do it all remotely so if you're at work you can remotely log into the website and set more songs downloading on your cable connection at home. It resumes partial downloads and is available for both Linux and Windows (closed source tho at the moment).

Re:news from the future (2)

yoz (3735) | more than 13 years ago | (#472568)

Hee hee - thanks!

I have to admit, I got very lucky - wrote that thing in a mail this morning when I saw the news item, was the first to get to the Slashdot thread, copy - paste, instant karma!

Really a bad idea (1)

vespazzari (141683) | more than 13 years ago | (#472569)

I dont really think that charging users is all that great of an idea. There are still alot of honest people out there, like myself, that do feel somewhat bad about downloading music from some bands. Most of the bands that I listen to are not all that well known, although I can still find thier music on napster. If I download thier music without paying a dime I feel like they should get some money for it, and alot of times I download thier music so that I can hear it before I buy it, If I dont think it is worthy of my money then It is probably not worth listening too.
If I have to pay to download it weather it be the 99 cents per track from emusic or the subscription charge through napster, I am not going to go out and buy the cd because I have already paid for the music once. Ill just download the album plus other songs and burn it to cd. I dont really think that the bands are going to be seeing any of that money from the napster subscription service, because record companies will find anyway they can to screw the artist. Such as the scenario, The bands may or may not get the 50% of sales that says that they are giving to the artist. I know of at least one band that has thier music on and doesnt see a dime of the money that thier record companie makes, because it was not in thier contract. I can only assume that record companies will find a way to get out of paying thier artist the money from napster.
Another problem with charging subscription fees is that the people who are giving up bandwidth and computer time are not the record companies or even napster but the customers. Why should I pay to allow someone else to use my bandwidth.
Although I do think that this is somewhat a step in the right direction I do not think that it is actually the correct step to make, but who knows I guess that we will have to just wait and see.

Re:Downloads from Napster servers (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 13 years ago | (#472570)

I would be willing to pay a few bucks, even if the files were stored on another subscriber's computer. The three things I want are:
1) Correct artist name & song title (This would probably halve the number of "Phish" songs traded)
2) Complete songs
3) Half decent quality recordings. No bleeps, no crazy eq settings.

I'm not sure how Napster would implement this for songs stored on user's computers, but I'm just the idea guy.


Re:news from the future (2)

yoz (3735) | more than 13 years ago | (#472571)

I think you've missed the point - sure $10 a month would be good value, if OpenNap didn't exist. OpenNap is a pure clone of the Napster servers that is totally free to run and use. It's too late for Napster Inc - we don't need them any more.

How I feel about this (1)

cecil36 (104730) | more than 13 years ago | (#472572)

I'm not an avid user of Napster, only using the program to download two dozen songs. I don't think Napster should have to go through this, since all they are doing is providing a service in allowing users to swap .mp3s. Ensuring that copyright is not being violated should fall within the jurisdiction of the user who is providing the file to be shared. All the RIAA wants out of this is some extra money so it can continue doing this to the other P2P file swapping services.

Re:Not gonna happen... (1)

binner (68996) | more than 13 years ago | (#472573)

I've got a huge CD collection, so it's far easier for me to just d/l the songs that I want, rather than encode them myself. As for the people that just want it for free...I don't have that much sympathy for you...I pay for my bandwidth, and can use it as I please. If you're not able to d/l the songs, go buy the album. If you like the music enough to d/l it, might it be worth paying for? If you don't like it enough to buy it, then you're one of the idiots out there with a billion mp3's that you've never listened to, and personally, I think people like that are morons.


Why pay for anything? (2)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 13 years ago | (#472574)

With tons of other [ways to get a five-finger discount], why pay for anything? The whole point of stealing is to get free stuff. I don't care about the companies, and I don't care about the inventors. I care about how fat my wallet is. Shelling out money for anything doesn't go well with me anymore.

Screw da Man! Run, don't walk, to loot your local Gap!


Re:Opennap? Hahahaha (2)

StoryMan (130421) | more than 13 years ago | (#472575)

Just tell her to do a google search for 'Napster unban'. It'll wipe out all the Napster entries in her registry.

I got banned last week, too. I must say that getting banned just pissed me off. Before I got banned, I was just sorta downloading off and on -- maybe for an hour or so every week.

But now?

Fuck that. I've got 1 30 gig hard drive packed with MP3s, 1 40 gig hard drive, and my connection is up 24/7. 70 gigs -- 24/7 on a 1.05 Mbs SDSL drive. No upload caps. Have it at.

They can keep banning me, and I'll keep running the dumb little unban crack. Obviously, they don't ban IP addresses, so what's the point?

Maybe this kinda attitude just hurts the artists -- okay, I can see that. But the idea of "banning" one person while millions of others are doing the same exact thing is just absurd.

Re:news from the future (2)

mighty jebus (247173) | more than 13 years ago | (#472576)

I'd rather pay $10/month, and be able to dl and new albums (which you can often find in their entirety)

Except that the only way all those new albums are making it onto napster now is because it's free - It's a chicken-and-egg problem.

You're less likely to find the new ablums online now that people have to pay for it. I will certainly no longer offer my 4,000+ mp3 collection. Where's the reward for it? I'm sure that, like most people with really large collections, I share 20 or 30 times the number of songs per day that I download. I'm certainly not going to pay for the priveledge of giving away my bandwidth - that's ludicrous.

It's a lot like the karma cap. Once you hit 50 karma, what's the point in continuing to post logged-in? You can only ever lose karma.

Leading the partnership for a Britney-Free napster,
Son of Dog

Re:price? hello? (2)

AstynaxX (217139) | more than 13 years ago | (#472577)

Maybe I'm wrong, but I figure they can't lock out OpenNap. Maybe if you download the new, 1337 client, they can change it to make it harder, but someone can [may already have] coded an open napster client. Even if not, plenty of folks have older versions [I know I still do] that will work just fine. BTW, Napigator makes life ever so much easier when looking for non-Napster-Inc. servers.


Re:not a bad idea (2)

frantzdb (22281) | more than 13 years ago | (#472578)

Yes, but... From the sound of things you are just paying for record companies to look the other way when you trade music. Although they clearly see the difference between trading for free and them getting money, it seems that in terms of copy-rights, paying the middle man shouldn't change the legality. I've baught more CDs after listening to MP3s for months than I ever had when I listened to the radio. I don't see why I should be paying the companies for their own advertizing.


Greed, and being in the spirit of things... (1)

Hiro Antagonist (310179) | more than 13 years ago | (#472579)

The original sprit of Napster wasn't a free-as-in-beer proposal. It was a protest against the neurotic, intellectual freak-show known as the RIAA. I am disgusted by the fact that almost none of the money I spend when I purchase a CD goes to the artist, and that a CD that costs about one U.S. dollar to produce is sold for fifteen to twenty times as much, because there is no other source for this music.

If this was truly a free market [the music industry], I could pay $6 for a CD, have $2.50 go to distribution costs, and the rest go to Collective Soul, or Aerosmith, or Motley Crue, or Enya, or Beethoven (I sincerely doubt that there would be any dead RIAA executives in heaven to pay him his due royalty check, though...).

Can we sing "Monopoly", anyone? Nope...because that would likely violate a copyright somewhere...

I sincerely doubt that people will switch to utilizing Napster as a pay-per-usage type service, unless they set up some type of system whereby you make a micropayment to the person serving up the MP3s -- some of us (like myself) have gigabytes of good music, and I wouldn't mind making an extra $100 a month or so for allowing people to download it.

This is unlikely to happen.


I will not tell a lie - but i'm no Washington. (1)

talonyx (125221) | more than 13 years ago | (#472580)

I won't lie. I use napster to pirate MP3's, and i have a ten gig collection of acid jazz and trance music.

I'll just go to opennap. I'm not willing to pay for the music... i'm a high school student with a small allowance and no job. I don't have enough $ like you dot commies on here with your Benz's and your Benjamins.

I have to spend my money getting weed to smoke on weekends. So I use napster, and now instead OpenNap through Napster with Napigator [] .

The record industry? Fuck them. I never intended to pay and I always knew I was breaking copyright laws. So what? I do that with my mad l33t copy of Photoshop and everything else anyways.

Record Industries: Face it, you will lose, buying Napster changes nothing, except making people move to an even harder-to-control system with no central authority. You've fucked up. Please come again.

Take it or leave it... (1)

mcwop (31034) | more than 13 years ago | (#472581)

Ok music industry.

Here is what I want:

A service, maybe $5 a month subscription fee, plus $.10 to $.25 for each song I purchase/download. Or you can keep things how they are and I will spend the money amongst few artists. Seeing as I buy most of my music in the form of used CD's and from truly independant labels you ain't seeing much of my business anyways. The above scenario may just change that.


rayamor (245814) | more than 13 years ago | (#472582)

You mean, I now have to pay for all of the transfer errors? Get real, if it wasn't for the people, then there would be no music to download. So Napster, when you start getting all this money on our behalf, start sending some ca$h, because you couldn't be doing it without people like myself; The ones who share.

Tracking? Uh....No (1)

Dest (207166) | more than 13 years ago | (#472583)

There is no way they can accurately track song downloads. Ff you change the filename and the ID3 tag to a band that does not accept money, or a non-existent band then you cannot accurately track the songs. Napster makers know this, and they are saying they are gonna charge just to make everyone happen. Oh, go to and search for opennap, no more fees. much? (1)

WickedClean (230550) | more than 13 years ago | (#472584)

I have yet to hear how much they will be charging, but I think if they didn't go overboard and charge more than like $4.95 or $7.95, then I would go for it. Some people made some valid points though - what is stopping another user from cancelling your download midway into the song? Napster should distribute their membership fees to those users who offer the most mp3's and receive the most downloads. That's only fair, right?

The Breaking of Napster (1)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 13 years ago | (#472585)

Let us think about this for a second...

Users share music for free, no one cares about performance.

If people start paying, are others going to be forced to stay on while a paying customer finishes a download?

Does MS have hooks in Windows to prevent people from disconnecting? Will domestic violence increase because 14 year old wareZ kiddies sitting on 56k modems can't hax0r crays because all of their bandwidth is being used by 14 year old girls downloading their archive of Britney bootlegs?


Happily Paying (2)

MattW (97290) | more than 13 years ago | (#472586)

Since Napster,, etc, came on the scene, I have to admit: I don't even want to buy CDs, because its too much trouble. I have bought a number of them, like the U2 cd, but they're just sitting around in shrinkwrap, unless I couldn't find high-kbps digital versions.

I'm happy to pay for the music. As a consumer, there's 2 things I want out of digital music (maybe 3):

I want it now, conveniently, and I want to get it again if I lose a hard drive without paying for it again

I want to be able to buy only what I want. One song from an artist shouldn't cost $14.

I want artists to get more money, so more artists are supported, and more people are encouraged to go for it

One does have to wonder, what are the record companies good for, in this scenario? But whatever. I want my music digital, I want to pick and choose songs, and if I get those things, I'll happily pay for them. (I'd gladly pay $2-3 a song)

DEAR GOD NO!!!! (1)

Jordan Block (192769) | more than 13 years ago | (#472587)

Now we have to pay to steal songs!!!!!!! ;)

Isn't this old news??

Are you elite? (3)

Peter Dyck (201979) | more than 13 years ago | (#472588)

I share 20 or 30 times the number of songs per day that I download.

Oh, you're so ELITE!

Shit. Back in the days when I was trading C64 games I realized that counting the "warez" doesn't work. Give all you've got out freely and you'll get everything for free.

When the stuff you trade flows freely, everybody benefits. Yeah, there are unavoidable freeloaders but most traders will appreciate you for sharing freely. Can you argue with that?

Bean-counting warez was a bad mistake back then. It's a bad mistake now.

Re:Downloads from Napster servers (1)

sxpert (139117) | more than 13 years ago | (#472589)

this is fscking hilarious... (especially the comment for the "black" access")
Please mod this one (above) up as "hilarious"

Re:not a bad idea (1)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 13 years ago | (#472590)

It doesn't sound like a bad idea. Especially considering that the money from subscription charges will (supposedly) go to the artists:
Mr Barry also said royalties would be paid to artists whose material is swapped over the internet with the help of Napster software.
However, this raises some interesting questions:

1: Who actually gets the money? The artist (which the subscribers are being led to believe WILL get the money) or the labels who have absolutely nothing to do with this particular distribution mechanism?

2: Given a random mp3 off of Napster, how will the Napster staff be able to track down the author with any amount of accuracy? I'll admit this is partially due to a defficiency in the use of ID3 tags, but at the same time, without having artists sign on to authorize particular works, it's really a guessing game. And if we have authors specifically authorizing and uploading their own works, the benifits of a distributed music sharing service is more or less destroyed.

Re:Unknowns (1)

divec (48748) | more than 13 years ago | (#472591)

If 90% of Napster's clients come from Joe and Jill Schmoe using AOL, [...] than Napster has a pretty good racket going.

Not neccessarily. What they need to hold onto is the people who make songs available. If most stuff is being served up by a well-informed 5% of their users, and that 5% was to switch to opennap, then they'd be sunk. Buggered if I know whether that'll happen, though.

Hmmmm... (1)

WndrBr3d (219963) | more than 13 years ago | (#472592)

They said the same thing when they boxed Linux, "Who'd pay for the OS when it's free for download ?"....

Last time I checked, RedHat is still on Comp USA's Shelves.

Re:news from the future (2)

jcphil (243106) | more than 13 years ago | (#472593)

Hooray for Gnutella! And an even bigger hooray for LimeWire, for updating the client and making it viable again.

Napster has a LONG way to go before they charge (4)

MrShiny (171918) | more than 13 years ago | (#472594)

I think a pay service is a fine idea but they are going to have to give you a lot more than the hacked together search engine that they do now. For example, how about:
  • Releasing a 1.0 client that looks like a professional application (e.g. doesn't have buttons stretching halfway across the screen) and fixes the dozens of obvious bugs.
  • Implementing a sophistocated search engine that goes beyond simple keyword searches. It DESPERATELY needs boolean operators and making the Artist and # of results fileds work would be nice too.
  • Searching across ALL of their servers regardless of which one you log on to. You may not have noticed, but right now searches only hit users on the same server as you so you never get more than a fraction of Napster content at one time.
Now that Napster actually has a business model I think it's about time that they replaced Shawn Fanning's amateur project with a professional quality application.

Re:Happily Paying (1)

mcwop (31034) | more than 13 years ago | (#472595)

Many of us have the same idea. Here was mine in a separate post: Ok music industry.

Here is what I want:

A service, maybe $5 a month subscription fee, plus $.10 to $.25 for each song I purchase/download. Or you can keep things how they are and I will spend the money amongst few artists. Seeing as I buy most of my music in the form of used CD's and from truly independant labels you ain't seeing much of my business anyways. The above scenario may just change that.

Wonder if the music companies ever listen. Of course these scenarios mean that musicians can start a unified label to distribute their music in just this fashion and bypass the middle man all together.

You people SUCK! (1)

Zecho (206792) | more than 13 years ago | (#472596)

Jeez I'm soo damn tired of people crying because their free ride is over. (No this isn't a flame - or a troll attempt) Who cares how much the damn charge is, I'd be more than willing to pay for Napster.. up to a certain point of course, but hell they aren't MS I really dont see the price being over the top. You know, I see a lot of laziness on the net today. I'm not gonna give you that "I started out with my C=64.. blah blah.." story.. I only really have one point.. If you aren't contributing in some way to the developement and growth of at least one of the hundreds of projects that started out like napster, then you should be happy/excited to come up off a few bucks a month and CONTRIBUTE!

Napster Tunneling (1)

bibos (116554) | more than 13 years ago | (#472597)

I bet someone will come up with a program to
tunnel Napster server queries through a host, then
reply with the answers and IP addresses of
the P2P partner, so you can go download from him for free.

I should patent this technique i guess, and no i don't care about prior art, nobody does. ;-)

Re:How to force Linux Napster to use OpenNap serve (1)

linuxlover (40375) | more than 13 years ago | (#472598)

Use THese are both GTK based and fully functional (almost).

I'm wondering how... (1)

spyrral (162842) | more than 13 years ago | (#472599)

they plan to pay the artists. I assume they want to pay per download, but for that to happen, they have to know who the artist is. Using the file names would be unreliable, since everyone has their own way of naming music files. Which means they'll have to use ID3 tag for identification. Which means they'll have to require that songs traded on the service have their ID3 tags filled out properly! Thank god! That alone is worth the price of the service (assuming its not more than $15 a month).

How to gateway Napster with opennap (1)

divec (48748) | more than 13 years ago | (#472600)

Would this be theoretically possible? I.e. design a Napster client which acts as an opennap server [proxy], and then devotes 1% of its available bandwidth to forwarding requests from opennap to Napster. Since only searches need to be forwarded, just a few clued-up T1 Napster subscribers could give opennap the facility to offer any file which is on Napster.

Lawsuits From Disconnected Modem Users a la AOL? (5)

IntelliTubbie (29947) | more than 13 years ago | (#472601)

Does anyone remember the AOL lawsuits from a few years back? People sued because they got busy signals trying to dial up -- they felt that by not being able to connect, they weren't getting what they were paying for.

As soon as Napster goes subscription (and hence becomes a legitimate business in the eyes of, you can count on a huge increase in the proportion of modem users. While curious average users will sign up in droves, college students with high speed access will avoid the charges by using other methods of file transfer among their friends, e.g. ICQ, IM, FTP, file-sharing, etc.

And you can also bet that complaints from modem users will skyrocket: people can't connect to the servers, can't find the songs they want, downloads are too slow, high-speed users keep disconnecting them, etc.

Right now, a large percentage of Napster files come from college students (witness the huge drop in files over winter break), and since modem users don't have to pay for the service, they don't have any legitimate cause for complaint. But as soon as they're in the vast majority and are shelling out a monthly fee, modem users will expect a certain level of service. Unless Napster can deliver it, they had better be prepared for a barrage of lawsuits.


Re:Downloads from Napster servers (2)

mblase (200735) | more than 13 years ago | (#472602)

This, I have to say, is a novel concept; paying a middle man when there (technically) isn't one.

Not true. Napster's software is performing the service of a middleman, connecting the two individuals easily in a way they probably never could have done without the software, and then asking payment for the cost of making the software and running the servers. eBay charges for the same sort of thing; why should it seem so strange now?

heh (1)

chico.gonzalez (240443) | more than 13 years ago | (#472603)

this is purely speculation but what will probably happen is napster will release authorized mp3's for thier paying users to access. which doesn't really make sense, since the whole point of napster was to allow for file sharing amongst users. why the hell would users want to pay to be able to share thier own files? why not just use openap?

Moving to gnutella (1)

libreazul (227264) | more than 13 years ago | (#472604)

If my personal experience is worth anything, don't even attempt using a servent like gnutella if you have bandwidth less than DSL. It's not only the "bandwidth barrier", I also suspect most user are not sharing or have their thresholds set above 56k. Anyone have a solution to the high cost of DSL?

I'm a bit confused... (2)

JWhitlock (201845) | more than 13 years ago | (#472605)

I'm still not sure what I'll be paying for under the new Napster deal.

Is it for the basic service Napster provides, linking users with MP3 files together? In that case, there are similar free services, which makes it a little hard to compete (think Netspace vs. Microsoft)

Is it some sort of royalty fee for the songs? Because it seems they are charging a per-month fee, which wouldn't even cover the cost of one CD. Better than making no money, but does it stop Time-Warner from suing me?

How will they pay royalties? Search transfers for artist names? Occasionaly, the artist's name doesn't show up, and what if it's wrong? For instance, the Gourds (from Austin) did a remake of "Gin and Juice" (great remake, too), which is being labeled on naspter as either a Phish [] song or a Ween [] song. Has technology gotten to the point where a song can be uniquely identified, even if ripped at different bit rates, etc? Or will they just hack it?

This is a strange story - it once was "we're thinking about a pay system" to "the system might be in place in 5 or 6 months". Still no real story, no hint how it will be done. Perhaps the best question is, which Napster version is the one where they start monitoring your habits? Is it already out?

Re:Downloads from Napster servers (1)

Compuser (14899) | more than 13 years ago | (#472606)

The CNN article makes it sound like they will
do what you call bronze access and charge
between $5 and $15 for it. .b ased.napster.idg/index.html

Re:news from the future (1)

DennisZeMenace (131127) | more than 13 years ago | (#472607)

I don't get this. OpenNap is just software. You need a lot more than that.

What makes Napster great is the computing infrastructure they have, which means a HUGE number of people can be connected at the same time, which means you can practically find ANY SONG you want. Frankly the limit is your own imagination. I have tried looking for the most obscure songs, old TV shows music or commercials or whatever, chances you'll find it are pretty good.

I have been on various OpenNap servers out there, and they are WORTHLESS, because it's only running on a SINGLE MACHINE, therefore only a few thousands users can be logged at once. That's not enough : the chance you'll find the song you're looking for is exactly ZERO PERCENT. Unless you're a Britney Spears fan.

Remember that Napster has thousands of machines connected together, and even though they do have islands, you still search across a user database of hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

I personally will pay for the Napster service.

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