The Future Of Music Essay Research Paper

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The Future Of Music Essay, Research Paper In 1998, a computer science major at Northeastern University, sat in front of his computer and started to create a program that would help the common man, spark controversy, and change and revolutionize the music industry. His name is Shawn Fanning, and his creation is Napster. Napster would forever change the way people would listen, share and acquire music, and the music industry would never again be the same. Napster, launched early in 1999, allows Internet users to share and download MP3 files directly from any computer connected to the Napster network. The software is used by downloading a client program from the Napster site and then connecting to the network through this software, which allows sharing of MP3 files between all

users connected to the network. While Napster does not condone copyright infringement, there is no opportunity in the software to stop this from happening, or for a percentage to be paid to artists whose songs are being duplicated for free. Unlike similar file-sharing applications (such as Gnutella, or Freenet), Napster limits users to uploading/downloading of MP3 files only. These files are compressed wave (.wav) files. The advantage of MP3 files is that they are approximately one-tenth the size of the corresponding .wav file and can be close-to-CD-quality. It is for this reason that many artists, record labels and other music industry stakeholders are concerned by the MP3 file format and applications like Napster that simplify the sharing of copyrighted material. The reaction

from recording artists has been varied, but primarily anti-Napster. Hip-hop artist Jay-Z had this to say: “I believe that if someone spends time making an album, putting their heart and soul into it, that their music shouldn’t be traded so freely.” While mostly record industries and musicians have been in opposition to Napster, there are still artist that support the Napster cause, such artists include Dave Matthews, Madonna, Fred Durst, B.B. King, Dave Grohl, Ben Folds, U2’s Bono, and many more. Dave Matthews said this in defense of Napster: “Napster: It is the future, in my opinion. That’s the way music is going to be communicated around the world. The most important thing now is to embrace it, and that was the spirit by which we did this co-promotion.” In all

this talk and controversy the first action to be taken against Napster was by the band Metallica. In April of this year, they sued Napster Inc for copyright infringement. The case was settled out of court when Napster agreed to ban some 300,000 users who had allegedly downloaded Metallica songs. After the ruling Metallica made the follwing statement: “From day one our fight has always been to protect the rights of artists who chose not to have their music exploited without consent. The court’s decision validates this right and confirms that Napster was wrong in taking not only Metallica’s music but other artists who do not want to be a part of the Napster system and exploiting it without their approval.” Again in June, Napster Inc. was sued for copyright infringement by

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a trade group representing the US recording industry, alleging: “Napster is… enabling and encouraging the illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted music”. Napster claims that ‘Audio Home Recording Act’ permits copying of material for personal use, allows its uses to swap MP3s. The trail on Napster’s ‘swapping’ technology has turned into a debate over the 1st amendment. Napster claims that their product should be covered by freedom of speech, the industry argues back saying that the freedom of speech doesn’t cover copyrighted material. Other artists and record labels have responded to Napster and similar applications in a more positive way, embracing the new technology rather than rejecting it. On their