We saw the same with the printing press: the Powers That Be first banned it, then tried to control it, and eventually had to relent. It will happen with data sharing too, eventually. It might take a century, but it will happen.
All of those phases have already happened - banning (RIAA lawsuits), control (iTunes), relent (Spotify). We've reached the endgame - it's streaming.
If you want to store and maintain a personal 128GB collection of MP3 files with incomplete titles and data, that's your prerogative, but you're going to be in a tiny minority.
It is of the utmost importance to inculcate the newest generation of media consumers that renting is preferred to ownership.
At the end of the day, the "content" we're talking about here is purely entertainment. You can live without it. And even if the hammer falls, and the copyright holders go backwards, things like Napster and Limewire and eDonkey will rise again.
At 10 years old, I never understood the line in SW EPIV, where Leia says, "The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." (Seriously, the line haunted me for years.) But it's a perfect allegory for this situation.
Of course, I'm still waiting for the blowback against Facebook, so...
You can live without a lot of things, including drinkable tap water and flushable toilets, however that is not necessarily a reasonable standard to judge things by.
I use music not just to 'entertain' myself, but to focus as well. Besides, why is entertainment and relaxation always treated as somehow secondary/not necessary? I realize many people find purpose in being work bees, but some strive for a healthy work-life balance.
It's not that it's unnecessary, but it's easier to replace. I have my nephew at home for a week, and his mother didn't let him take his console with him. Uh oh. No entertainment then? Well, guess what, we played good old board and card games.
OTOH, not having tap water or flushable toilets would have been a much bigger PITA for him. (For both of us, to be honest).
Let's see how it plays out on the future.
Exactly as you'd expect. Aphex Twin had a CD that included the video on the data portion of the CD (I think it was Windowlicker, circa 1999) - but you had to unlock the video online. After a couple of years, the server shut down, and you no longer had access to the video.
Of course, someone released a crack, and eventually the advent of YouTube negated that particular problem.
I still keep local copies of my music. Part of this is because I have a not insignificant amount of music that I listen to that is not and might never be part of a subscription service. Part of it is because I've experienced early attempts at controlling access to music and video that I purchased, and saw how that failed, and I don't plan on risking that loss again.
But the freedom of finding NEW stuff, when you have access to (just about) EVERYTHING... THAT has been the real eye-opener for me. I've discovered a lot of acts that I would never have otherwise heard of.
That was my (similar - I never went to RAID 5) experience as well. I moved it all up into Google Play and haven't looked back. No more worries about a hard drive taking down my collection (in hindsight RAID 5 may have helped), no more duplicate copies or tracks that were badly ripped so they skipped, no more worrying about keeping a pile of CD's "just in case", just the music I wanted to listen to when I wanted to listen to it.
I initially started using it as a way to easily sync music onto my phone, since it has a LRU of all your played songs, as well as any albums you mark explicitly for download.
How times have changed.
Piracy is increasing again because media companies are trying to silo their titles. Consumers want a diverse source of entertainment every month, but can't afford to buy the titles or subscribe to all streaming services. A Netflix subscription can be 1-3x the price of a popular TV series bought directly. I would argue that Netflix has devalued media in general.
The solution to dumb infrastructure decisions, is better infrastructure decisions via communication and thought, not trying to hang on to your tiny scrap of stuff via guns, files on a computer or building a bunker.
There's a reason SaaS took off, just like media streaming took off. Convenience is higher on the list of priorities than ownership. If they take my stuff away, I'll just switch to media that isn't barred from public use.
That's if you treat your media/services as substitutable goods. I don't understand this view. For me, the vast majority of books, songs, movies and games I peruse are not substitutable. SaaS services maybe - but then, they do their damnest to be not substitutable - that's called "having a competitive advantage".
So when a company decides to stop serving some media I used (or paid for directly), I see something of value being lost.
I recognize that is the ideal spotify is striving for, and they're on the right trajectory. But they rest within the boundaries set by (inter)national copyright law, and that just goes counter to some of those features.
In that sense, we may be in an endgame-like situation, but I don't see this game being over before copyright is severely reformed or just outright destroyed by technological means.
Actually, it annoys me how it's widely accepted that MP3 is an acceptable format to pay the same price for as CDs, while you could rip lossless FLACs from CDs. Either MP3s should be cheaper, or switching to FLAC should be an option, (like Bandcamp does it).
So it's a format that takes tons of disk space for no perceptible benefit. Why would it be popular? It's a niche format for niche uses.
I'd agree that in general you can't tell the difference between a well encoded MP3 and FLAC, but there are songs in which it makes a difference! To test myself I've run a few simple ABX tests; I'd encourage to try it out! It's worth noting that this is only at home with a DAC/amplifier and some decent headphones, but if I'm out and about then I have no qualms about streaming.
My collection of music is all wav/aiff or 320kbps mp3. I'd love to say I can tell the difference, but I can't.
It's not just about being able to tell the difference. Remixing is another example of things that require losslessness. Archiving as well.
Perhaps. However my contention is that if am paying the same price for supposedly an 'identical' product, then make sure it's actually identical.
At least ebooks generally are a tad cheaper than paperbacks, even if not by much, but not MP3s? Why? Simply because they can get away with it, I suppose.
I'm not saying you're technically or auditively wrong, I'm saying that's not how the market has ever worked.
What I don't understand about iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and many others is that they're likely getting the tracks lossless anyway, they're then taking than and downsampling it to their common MP3 encoder settings for all tracks. It seems to me it would be trivial to add a 'FORMAT:' option, (that defaults to MP3), but allows for FLAC for these who know what it is.
Am aware there are specialist lossless streaming services, but I just don't understand the block of making this an option everywhere, including the iTunes Store, which has a massive catalog and Spotify, where the curated playlists etc. are.
If there's sufficient market interest in this (Tidal HIFI is twice the cost of normal Tidal) then the enthusiasts will rally around the service.
It doesn't look like the market cares that much, and I couldn't really hear a significant difference between's Spotify 320k stream and Tidal's masters (using HD800S + Mojo Chord as DAC).
This is my problem, why pay significantly more when the streaming services get the lossless version from the label? I get the extra storage requirements, but that can't be a significant factor for the likes of Amazon, Apple and Google.
As for selling music, Amazon, Apple and Google refuse to even sell you a lossless album, yet charge the same as you'd pay for a CD.
Though I realize that doesn't work for people into main stream music.
I don't want to rely on a song being on a particular streaming service.
The last line from the article hit it home - "I mean, where else are you going to get a copy of The Mr. Belvedere Show theme song?". Today, you don't need P2P for that, YouTube has it. Along with the video.
The biggest issue I have these days is that Apple's smart home stuff is overpriced so now I also pay for an Amazon music subscription to us with the Echo hardware.
That all said I am so uninspired by the Apple hardware offerings these days. The high end Macbook Pro 10 years ago was around $3K and these days its over $7k. 10 years ago it had an expansion slot (ExpressCard) and now it doesn't even have magsafe.
Good analysis. Implicit in this, is that the same fault that ultimately drew users from Napster, the lack of end user anonymity, is inherent in modern services.
There is a broader ethical issue at play as well. Can you fund and develop technology that is in the present moment operating in a legal grey area. Betting that in some possible future, culture and the laws will change?
Those are technical trivialities specific to music, which were being slowly solved through services like Musicbrainz.
My point was more general: in the future, everyone will eventually be free to share any data with anyone. It’s just too easy not to happen, and too hard to police indefinitely. Exactly like printing books - even easier, in fact!
It's still around, but I never hear about anyone using it even though it's more flexible than Napster.
A major feature and downside, depending on who you are, is that you can browse all files a user is sharing. This is great for discovering new things, but also means that copyright holders could sue you for all shared files, not just one at a time like with Bittorrent.
Thinking about it, Kazaa was also more flexible than Napster and maybe a stronger household name than DC++.
Back in the days (around 2005) I mostly used Soul Seek and IRC.
Thank the lord that Slsk is still running. There is simply soo much material out there Spotify and the like will never have because they were unofficial live bootlegs, weird studio outtakes and obscure EPs and singles.
Case in point:
anybody ever listened to "Towering over the Rest?" It's a 20+ track compilation of Radiohead's B-sides and live cuts from 1993-2000. Never officially released, since the tracks were always available inside of individual singles, EPs and 7"s. Listening to it gave me a completely different perspective on the band's output, which I mostly knew through full albums.
Discoveries like that now have to happen via Spotify playlists, and even then you couldn't reproduce that entire compilation simply because Spotify wouldn't have the license for some of those releases, which came out 25 years ago and on labels that no longer exist.
Eventually the school stopped providing internet to the student housing and we got put on the municipal power company open commercial fiber network and got to choose from an array of commercial ISPs; got massive speed upgrades but it removed the community.
If you put your music up on Youtube for free then you become the main source that everyone links to because it's available. You gain control back of your data, rather than having someone pirate it.
There's a number of musicians I see on Youtube who release everything they put out for free, but then have optional links to buy it on various music platforms. A lot of them are happy with the set up because they can make a living doing what they love.
The same strategy applies to writing apps and open source in general, and it's even more beneficial because unlike a personally developed music track, an application greatly benefits from having multiple people work on it.
You mean they totally embraced, rebranded and used it and it as a tool of mass control.
The "Napster" brand still exists. Its now a streaming service and competitor to spotify.
Piracy grows when it is more convenient than legal consumption. I'd rather download a torrent of a DvD I own than go and fetch it, put it in a cd tray, play it with shitty un-skippable intro etc. However - I'd rather spin a film up on Netflix than go hunting through a shitty folder structure of my own idiotic devising. I'd rather watch a series on netflix, which remembers where I am in the series and auto-plays next than manually load up episodes on the odd evening when I've got time.
Admittedly Netflix seems to be going out of its way to make the UI intolerably aggravating, but at some points it seemed pretty well done.
There is desktop software that does all of this locally, including auto-play, intro skipping, remembering where you were in a media file, even auto-downloading subtitles and displaying them. Nor do you have to navigate through your own 'idiotic' folder structure as you put it, because software like Everything exists.
Just because you never bothered to set it up doesn't mean this functionality doesn't exist.
2. I want to support the artists who make my media financially, and doing that on an individual basis would be too inconvenient.
3. I know what I’m getting, P2P was always a gamble.
4. Current streaming services (movies and videos) have a significantly better UX that isnaccessible to anyone.
Once this process is compete and the silos are created Napster will rise again.
In my case it's strictly a case of availability - I happily pay for Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify as well as whatever software I use. I wish the content creators would wise up to this - Steam solved this issue for gaming years ago.
Napster's popularity was not because of P2P or something else. The only reason Napster succeeded was convenience. Bittorrent cannot be the successor because it is not as convenient.
> In my case it's strictly a case of availability - I happily pay for Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify as well as whatever software I use.
Everyone pays now because it is convenient to pay at 2-3 places for all your needs. Once you have to start paying at a separate place for every different series/movie you want, you will stop paying. It is not only about availability. It is about availability AND convenience
And Steam is facing the same issues as Netflix with Epic Store and Origin breaking away because EA and Tim wanted more money.
Video and other content is much more of a mixed bag with very fractured availability and simple lack of availability under a subscription for a lot of content.
I think the TV and movie industries haven't felt the effects of piracy like the music industry did in the heyday of P2P, there's a big difference between the behavior of the music industry who'll sign a contract with any reasonable streaming provider and that of say, HBO or Disney who want full control of their content.
That is like eating in McDonnalds to support the workers there.
You mean you want to support the big media corporations that make good artists available to you...
Just making sure that you know what you are doing.
I understand this is a Napster thread and as a result the most enthusiastically pro-piracy, anti-capitalist contingent of HN is going to show up and wave the black flag but at least try to be honest about the pros and cons for both. Streaming services do have their dark patterns and anti-consumer practices but they still offer something of value to the consumer, and despite what people want to believe, are more convenient than piracy for many people.
I mean that with subscription services one is unable to backup, or even "come back" repeatedly to the content. Let's say watching the same movie from time to time - it's not possible because service providers go out of business, copyright deals change, markets become more/less prioritized, different platforms are supported, the repertoire within the subscription changes over time. Thus watching the same movie requires buying it over and over again.
While I appreciate that its 1999 interface was just as ugly as mine, what I didn't have was P2P. And obviously, that was the "killer technology".
Though technically nobody died from it
This is a nice reminder of just how much things have advanced in a short 20 years.
In four mouse clicks and under 5 seconds, I was watching the video for it.
Select -> Right click -> Search with Google -> Click.
The genie was out of the bottle.
The trouble is that many of the tracks I'm into come from the personal collections of assorted DJs or diggers on Youtube, so obscure tracks are often in poor quality: I've had to resort to using Discogs to purchase the original vinyls and recording them through a sound card. I am not yet a pro at digitally cleaning up some of the minute crackling that occurs, and buying a brush to clean the records hasn't helped much...
Source: vinyl junkie, vinyl DJ, professional audio engineer and girl who presses her own vinyl here in Toronto -
You really have to acetate wash your records and only use the highest quality gear. There's little you can do beyond that. If a record is messed after you acetone it, unfortunately removing the crackle sounds is kinda going in and modifying the original sound itself. You don't really know what else you're getting rid of.
I use a Pioneer PLX-500 which has a built-in USB. I generally get an extremely low level of noise especially off of new LP's.
Depending on how much you want to spend, some flavor of iZotope RX will let you de-crackle and perform other types of audio restoration in a very transparent way.
Those buttons along the top look like an early implementation of tabs or a stack switcher that are common today. The search interface doesn't infantalize the user. I bet if you changed the windows theme it would match as well.
That's the point. Sharing is caring. Also this is what culture is about... not about the pop shit we get shoved in our face all the time. If anything, mp3 sharing made me buy more records (12" vinyl), not less.
> The most common legacy of this system is the line rate speeds. "T1" now means any data circuit that runs at the original 1.544 Mbit/s line rate. Originally the T1 format carried 24 pulse-code modulated, time-division multiplexed speech signals each encoded in 64 kbit/s streams, leaving 8 kbit/s of framing information which facilitates the synchronization and demultiplexing at the receiver. The T2 and T3 circuit channels carry multiple T1 channels multiplexed, resulting in transmission rates of 6.312 and 44.736 Mbit/s, respectively. A T3 line comprises 28 T1 lines, each operating at total signaling rate of 1.544 Mbit/s. It is possible to get a fractional T3 line, meaning a T3 line with some of the 28 lines turned off, resulting in a slower transfer rate but typically at reduced cost.
I remember making the 2 hour trip to visit her, and half of my excitement was all the music I could download once I got there.
I show up, and find out she hadn't connected her computer yet! First priority of that day was going to the campus bookstore to buy an ISA network card and 10Base2 terminators and connectors.
OC-3/STM-1 155.52 Mb/s can carry 63 T1s
OC-12/STM-4 622.04 Mb/s
OC-48/STM-16 2488.16 Mb/s
Long story short, things must have been so crazy and disorganized at the vendor (I guess) that even though we never paid a single invoice for the T1, they took over a year to shut us off.
This is still how I feel everytime I download a large file in seconds. I guess I spent so long accessing the internet over dialup this rapid (and relatively recent) explosion of speed at the edges is truly impressive. It's a little ironic that our most popular protocols and services these days reject p2p so thoroughly.
I believe it was also used for high fidelity, low latency audio for interviews and music production.
In a game with good network code such as Quake 2 / 3, you could expect at best a 150ms ping time with a 56k modem in ideal scenarios but on ISDN you could get half that which made a world of a difference.
I never had ISDN but I knew a few people with it. It was like you were playing a completely different game. Then cable came and it blew everything away with getting 20-30ms ping times even in the early 2000s.
If somebody went to turn their desktop slightly, the coax would pop out of the t-connector and those further down the chain would be at a severe disadvantage.
If you've never seen it, this is worth scrolling through:
Yeah. That worked out. ;)