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News and Analysis for the digital entertainment and entertainment technology community.

This Week
Son of Napster: Napster & Bertelsmann reveal plan

Last Week
Court will rule in
Napster case Monday.

What happens Next?

Recently Featured
Won't Get Fooled Again (Part II),
Control of digital content collapses by 2003 , E-Something:
Napster releases update
, Ich bin ein MP3.

By The Numbers

Napster traffic continued to flow at peak levels all week long - especially in the 24 hour period prior to Monday's injunction ruling.

According to Webnoize an astounding 250 million files were downloaded using Napster's software during that time period.

The digital intelligence group also estimates an estimated 1.5 million Napster users were connected to the service at one time during the same time frame.

Expect this trend to continue as people rush to download files before Napster begins attempting to block label content, a process that can be expected to begin as early as next week.

More Numbers
The number of files downloaded by web surfers using Napster software more than doubled in the month of January according to Webnoize.

Download happy Napster users retrieved more than 3 billion files in January, up from 1.5 billion in December.

The Day the Bandwidth Died

How many MP3s could you download in a single 24-hour period, if you set your mind to it?

It's question many people are doing their best to answer today.

As of 5 P.M P.S.T. more than twelve thousand people were connected to the Napster server we connected to, meaning a mindboggling 2.3 million files were available for us to choose from, without question the heaviest volume we've ever seen.

Forget restraint: many are grabbing as many files as their connections can handle, building up massive qews of files waiting for transfer. Some - the hard core - are bragging that they've downloaded hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of files over the weekend.

Those with slower connections aren't anywhere near as lucky.

Many are reporting problems connecting, slow searches and transfer difficulties...

Will the Real Pornster
Please Step Forward?

Posted by netwebly | 1.22.2001

According to the Register, our favorite Brit tech news site, a new file-sharing application is making life just a little harder for the people who run the various sleazy password protected adult sites around the web - you know the kind I mean - the kind that ask you for a credit card number before you are granted access to a brain numbing morass of deviancy and debaunchry.

The charmingly-named "CrackWhore" won't find you any street grade cocaine, but it will provide you with a terrifyingly complete list of user names and passwords to adult sites, many of which are also posted to the site of Subreality, the Amsterdam based broup that distributes the software.

The all too predictable result: A pitched battle of sorts between adult site operators and the program's users. In some cases site owners are checking the CW site every few hours to see if passwords to their sites have been posted. Others are using automated measures to detect abnormal activity and disconnect unathorized users.

Won't Get Fooled Again (Part II)
Posted by
netwebly | 1.22.2001

It's no secret that these days that some people will stop at almost nothing to get you to download their music - especially on sites like which pay artists every time visitors click on a post, but this is ludicrous.

I got an email from promoting another quote hip new band unquote, this time a guy in the folk/punk category with a song called "I can stand for Miles" (American Pie Part II).

Suckered, like thousands (well at least hundreds) of other people no doubt were, I clicked on the link, expecting a cleverly rewritten update on the original 1973 Don McClean classic, or possibly a grungy cover.

Big mistake... read more.

Moving on
The Flaming Lips

Posted by netwebly |1.22.2001

Alternative rockers the Flaming Lips have had a cult following for years. Although the Lips never developed the mainstream following some people predicted they would, studiously avoiding the success enjoyed by alt rock contemporaries like REM, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, their weird, hard-rocking sound has always been popular with the people that count - namely us.

Which made it all the more pleasing to us when the Lips 1993 hit "She don't use jelly (she uses vasoline)" made its grand reappearance on earlier this month and proceeded to rise quickly on the site's Alternative Chart, before settling at No.35 this week. It's far too early to tell if the move will have any impact on album sales - but we could easily speculate that it will, given how many people are visiting these days. Making you at all curious? Run the stream immediately and return. Be warned: the quality of this track isn't all it could be.


So much for quality control.

Achtung Baby, the song you have cued in your
MP3 player will self-destruct in five seconds

IBM is making headlines this week with the release of a new digital rights management technology intended to combat file sharing programs like Napster and Gnutella. According to the various newsblurbs in circulation on the Net today, content (read digital music files) protected with the new system will be napsterproofed. Users will still be able to move files around, and share them on Napster and Gnutella.

When people try to play the files, however, they won't work, unless the user has access to a crack that disables the technology or - by implication - purchases an unlock code from whoever's charged with distributing the things on the Net.

Granted, that's not exactly "self-destruction" but it's close enough to annoy the hell out of a lot of people.

A realistic approach to the file-sharing crisis? Or an old-fashioned PR score for Big Blue? Bear in mind, however, that quite a few people have made similar bold promises in the past. Thus far, none have succeeded in doing anything other than humiliating themselves severely.

Allan Weintraub, an analyst for Gartner Group who follows digital rights management for a living, told CNet "All this stuff is crackable, but there is a level of technology that will keep people honest. I believe that putting some constraints around it will make most people think about what they're doing."

New version of MP3
format set for release

Posted by netwebly | 1.16.2001

Dubbed MP3Pro by Thompson Multimedia, the French electronics giant which developed the ubiquitous MP3 format, the new version reportedly produces files approximately half the size of current MP3s.

That's a big deal, when you think about how many gigs of hard drive space the average MP3 collection takes up, and how much time people who use slower connections could save by making the switch. The new format is reportedly compatible with existing MP3 players.

One major issue however may strain relations with fans: MP3pro may or may not include copyright protection measures intended to prevent illegal copying and redistribution of files. Such measures would undoubtedly please copyright holders, but would probably limit acceptance of the format by the general public. Thompson is reportedly planning a summer release for the new format.

Aimster goes Global
Posted by My Personalized Webly |12.19.2000

Aimster has announced that it is opening up the latest version of it's software, which allows users to share and download music and other files using AOL Instant Messanger. The company says plug-ins will be available for the new version which will make it compatible with services offered by MSN and Yahoo.

The news means users of the rival messaging networks may be able to communicate
with AOL users for the first time using Aimster as an interface. Looks like Aimster is going to be about a little more than just file sharing....

Aimster is taking e-mail addresses from people who would like to be notified when the new version is available.

Forget the Celestial Jukebox,
enter the Global Refrigerator

Posted by She said she was Webly |12.18.2000

It looks like CEO Michael Robertson is giving Dan Rather a run for his money in the random metaphor department.The latest installment of the CEO's semi-regular column introduces Robertson's take on the service - the feature which lets users store their music online and access it using almost any Net enabled device.

"Nobody would tolerate having three refrigerators in their kitchen, each with different foodstuffs in them. Similarly, gaining consumer acceptance of the musical fridge means it must work with all music. At, is our musical fridge..."

In recent months, Robertson has compared the music industry to the power grid, his own company to a utility company, and the CD to almost everything, except of course, the refrigerator. We're ready for the global toaster oven....



Around the Web is reporting that Bob Dole has joined the RIAA effort against Napster and it's file-sharing brethern. Dole will presumably be working the Hill over the next few weeks to rally support for legislation intended to protect copyright holders and quash open file sharing networks.

I hate My Generation
You'd think Cracker lead singer David Lowery would be a Napster supporter. Nope. You'd think wrong.

The former Camper Van Beethoven frontman is noted for his healthy cynicism, as in lyrics like: "I see the light of the tunnel - someone please tell me it's not train" and "What the world needs now is a new Frank Sinatra..." but even his fans were probably a little suprised at the violence of his reaction to the little file-sharing monsters.

Lowery left few points unmade in a long and acerbic, if ocasionally poignant, manifesto denouncing Napster, 13-year old kids in general and evil software company wannabes with flimsy business models.

"...That's why they say things like "Adapt or perish." Its short for "adapt or perish in the eternal hellfires of damnation!" And woe to those who speak out against them, for they have the drunken mob (and Courtney Love) on their side. What with all these promises of free beer and free music, those who dare oppose them are soon deluged with thousands of poorly spelled emails from thirteen year olds. This is something that Napster encourages their users to do. You got to wonder what kind of P.R. genius thought that angry emails from thirteen year olds was gonna make Napster appear more responsible and less like bootleggers..."

A Brave, New, uh,
Wireless Napster?

Posted by netwebly | 1.22.2001

A new file-sharing application set to be unveiled this week may do for wireless devices what Napster did for the PC. The program, dubbed Magi by its creators, Irvine, California-based Endeavors technology, will supposedly allow people using wireless devices to perform Napsterlike tricks. A breakthrough? Or more Peer to Peer hype?

Skeptics question how interested people will be with so many hi-tech gadgets, gidgets and gizmos already competing for their attention.

On the other hand, if it works, a system like this could revolutionize broadcasting in ways Napster only hints at. You'd better believe FM radio is listening....

Label Drops Suit Against Napster

Posted by netwebly | 1.25.2001

The big story in the news today: A major indie label in the US has decided to drop its lawsuit against Napster and use the open file sharing network as a distribution channel.

The President of TVT
Records said his company believes Napster will become a reliable source of income in the future, and is dropping a 1.5 billion dollar copyright claim against the file sharing service. The move brings a few more well known names to Napster including good old Snoop Dogg and Nine Inch Nails. The soundtracks to Snatch and Traffic, two of this seasons' biggest Hollywood blockbusters are also on the label.

Making the Move to Napster
Posted by netwebly | 1.22.2001

BBC News is reporting that BMG records has decided to eventually release the work of up to three thousand of it's artists on Napster. According to details made available to the press, Napster will track downloads in order to ensure that label acts receive appropriate royalty payments.

Ironically, the decision may add some weight to the arguments of opponents to the controversial file sharing application. Napster has argued that it is incapable of controlling - or even accounting for - downloads among it's 50 million or so odd users. It is going to be rather difficult for the company's lawyers to keep straight faces while they make that argument now.

Get on the Bus
that takes me to you...

Posted by netwebly | 1.21.2001

One web site doing things the way they ought to be done is

The legendary Who guitarist, a guy some people think be included among the top songwriters in Rock History for his work in the 70's and late 60's, has included a representive collection of free downloads on his site, including classics like "the Acid Queen" and "My Generation" along with more current recordings. An avid writer who once worked as an editor for a British publishing house, Townshend is also a frequent contributor to the site, posting both frequently and eloquently. In a recent essay, the rock legend talked about Napster, a subject he has tackled several times in the past.

"I write music today for just two reasons; neither have anything to do with money. I want to get higher and I want human contact (preferably not solely via the internet!) Where Napster can help me, and it seems BMI may have failed thus far, is by extending the portal more widely. If BMI and record companies - and any other institutions involved in collecting and distributing money on behalf of artists - were to do their job perfectly I would today have a lot more money. But more importantly, I would have a bigger audience."

I Did It : Dave Matthews
Band on Napster

Posted by
netwebly | 1.16.2001

In an experiment likely to be watched closely by music industry insiders, RCA, a subsidiary of Bertelsman-owned BMG records, has authorized the release of one of the Dave Matthews Band's songs on Napster a month and a half before the release is scheduled to hit stores.

Unlike a lot of promos released over the Net, I Did it is a good song with a rough edge, a sound that reminds me a bit of the early Stones in an aggressive, stripped down kind of way. This isn't the mellowed-out, patchouli sniffing, hey-this-kinda-reminds me-of-the Grateful Dead Dave Matthews Band: this song has edge and will do well. And RCA knows it. Smart move, Bert.

"I Did It" is also available from

The move is likely to strain relations between RCA and music retailers (not to mention radio stations). Earlier this year Virgin announced it would not stock copies of Conspiracy of One after the Offspring decided to make American Prankster available as a free download. Don't be surprised if Dave Matthews Band runs into similar problems.

Got an email a couple of days later, announcing that will also be hosting "I Did It", which heralded the news in this fashion:

"...Now they bring the single "I Did It" from their upcoming album " Everyday" to for your pre-release enjoyment."

Maybe it's just me...but is there something wrong with that sentence?

Get Paid to MP3
Posted by netwebly |12.18.2000

It was only a matter of time before someone came up with this one...
Following in the footsteps of companies like and, Los Angeles-based says it will pay surfers whenever they listen to music on their computers.

You ready for the unlimited income earning opportunity of a lifetime, kid?

read article

Rage Against Management
Posted by netwebly | 12.18.2000

Embarrassed by management's unauthorized decision to ask Napster to ban fans who have downloaded the group's songs, Rage Against the Machine are trying to make up for the mistake by posting almost a full album's worth of material on their web site for free download. The downloads include both MP3 versions of unreleased songs and concert footage from performances earlier this year.

Our spellcheck software seems to think Napsterproofed is not a word.

What do you think?

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