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Kazaa To Return As a Legal Subscription Service 133

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-it's-good-enough-for-the-pirate-bay dept.
suraj.sun sends in this excerpt from CNet: "One of the most recognizable brands in the history of illegal downloading is due to officially resurface, perhaps as early as next week, sources close to the company told CNET News. Only this time the name Kazaa will be part of a legal music service. Altnet and parent company Brilliant Digital Entertainment attached the Kazaa brand to a subscription service that will offer songs and ringtones from all four of the major recording companies. For the past few months, a beta version has been available. The company tried recently to ratchet up expectations with a series of vague, and what some considered misguided, press releases. The site will open with over 1 million tracks." The NYTimes has a related story about how the music industry is trying to convert casual pirates by offering more convenient new services.
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Kazaa To Return As a Legal Subscription Service

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  • Subject (Score:5, Informative)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @09:26AM (#28747309) Homepage

    Kazaa sucked even when it was a vehicle for illegal downloads. I can't see the music industry (motto: "fuck the pirates, fuck the artists, and fuck YOU") improving it at all.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by lorenlal (164133)

      Well, certainly the ad/spyware that it was a tunnel for sucked. It certainly worked well enough for a lot of sucker^H^H^H^H^H^H noob^H^H^H^H casual users out there well enough that they considered it essential software on campus. In fact, when looking for songs before the RIAA interference tracks, it did deliver on its core function... grabbing the song you want from other people.

      Up until Napster, and then Audiogalaxy, and then Kazaa(lite), I had to depend on browsing the various PCs on campus to find son

    • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @11:00AM (#28747755) Homepage

      All the first generation file sharing programs/protocols sucked.
      Kazaa. Napster. I personally found Gnutella worst of all.

      But this is hilarious. The music industry are so slow, that up until now they have been fighting decade old technology. Now they are digging up the corpses and attempting a reanimation.
      When will they get around to fighting the completely decentralised and encrypted services bound together by nothing more than a loose collection of opensource tools?

      *Reclines in chair with large box of popcorn*

      • by tepples (727027) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .selppet.> on Sunday July 19, 2009 @11:49AM (#28748019) Homepage Journal

        When will they get around to fighting the completely decentralised and encrypted services bound together by nothing more than a loose collection of opensource tools?

        For performance reasons, only the searches are onion-routed in popular peer-to-peer file sharing networks; the downloads are direct from someone who has a piece of the file. So when you download a multi-gigabyte Blu-ray Disc rip, the machine on which it is shared still has to reveal its IP address. A copyright owner could log on to one of these services, download a piece of the work, and get an IP address, a time, and a block of the file: evidence that a piece of the copyrighted work has been distributed. Then the copyright owner can get a judge to compel the owner of a netblock to find the customer whose Internet access was used to distribute copies without authorization.

        Or would you onion-route the downloads too? Let me know when Tor has become efficient enough to run BitTorrent or eMule Kad Network over it.

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          Hm. What would happen if you made sure that a little bit of non-RIAA/MPAA copyrighted material was included with every download? That way their downloading of anything would be copyright infringement.

          • by tepples (727027)

            What would happen if you made sure that a little bit of non-RIAA/MPAA copyrighted material was included with every download? That way their downloading of anything would be copyright infringement.

            If you own the copyright in a work or have licensed it under a free content license, and you advertise it on a PP2P2P2PP2P network [ytmnd.com], it could be argued that you're giving an implicit license to download it, in much the same way that you have an implicit license to download web pages that an author's web server serves without a password prompt.

            • by ceoyoyo (59147)

              Noo... not copyright of mine. Just some other organization. Preferably one that's not all that friendly to the RIAA.

              Suppose the EFF were to write some text and NOT license it. Attach that as overhead to any data chunks on a P2P network. When the RIAA downloads something from a P2P network and then goes after the IP that was sharing, their primary piece of evidence was acquired during the commission of a crime (copyright infringement against the EFF). Is evidence gathered during the commission of a crim

              • by tepples (727027)

                Suppose the EFF were to write some text and NOT license it. Attach that as overhead to any data chunks on a P2P network.

                Then the authors of the P2P software would be infringing and/or contributing to infringement.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Or would you onion-route the downloads too? Let me know when Tor has become efficient enough to run BitTorrent or eMule Kad Network over it.

          Neither.
          http://mute-net.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

          • Downloaded, but all the "make" files were for 32 bit. While I figure out what to do about that, I installed on Windows. Kinda cool - I'll be playing with it for awhile.

        • A copyright owner could log on to one of these services, download a piece of the work, and get an IP address, a time, and a block of the file: evidence that a piece of the copyrighted work has been distributed.

          Your message has been found to contain small portions (one octet each) of thousands of copyrighted works. We will be contacting you with settlement information shortly.

          • by tepples (727027)

            Your message has been found to contain small portions (one octet each) of thousands of copyrighted works.

            I sincerely hope that was a joke. U.S. copyright excludes "short phrases" from exclusive rights, but the pieces distributed through a BitTorrent or eMule client are hardly "short" under the law.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet (841228)

        Will it bring back all the Kazaa spyware and "crappy_song.mp3.exe" files? God I miss those. Say what you will about Kazaa, but for a PC repairman at the time it was a fricking cash cow. A good 3/4ths of the machine brought into me because they were "acting funny" or pounding them with porn popups were infected with Kazaa Krap, as we called it then.

        What I think is hilarious is the moron record companies STILL don't get it. They will keep trying to push that ridiculous $1 a fricking song crap. That might fly

        • Will it bring back all the Kazaa spyware and "crappy_song.mp3.exe" files? God I miss those.

          Indeed! I miss the old days of just sticking a file in my shared folder and watching the world download it. Ah, hot_lesbians.jpg, how many horny males did you introduce to goatse?

  • No DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by corsec67 (627446) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @09:28AM (#28747313) Homepage Journal

    How about if they try to offer something better than the pirates?

    No DRM, region locking/restrictions, convenience, etc.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by garcia (6573)

      How about if they try to offer something better than the pirates?

      They can never beat free, sorry.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A lower price isn't the only way to compete. "Better" is not the same as "cheaper".

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        They can never beat free, sorry.

        That's not true. I often use MP3sparks.com even with all the hoops you have to jump through, simply because it works so well. They have almost everything I've looked for, the prices are very cheap, and you can encode to anything you like - including the Lame "extreme" preset to which I rip my own disks with. Even if the prices were double, I'd probably still use it.

        Of course, if the RIAA weren't such pricks I'd just buy their garbage off of iTunes instead - but there's no way I'm giving them any money.

        • What's the deal with MP3sparks.com? Is it another Russian site or something? Seems like either it's not legit or it's operating in a country with different ideas about copyright.
          • What's the deal with MP3sparks.com? Is it another Russian site or something? Seems like either it's not legit or it's operating in a country with different ideas about copyright.

            It is the same Russian site with a new domain name. And zookz is another interesting site.

      • Re:No DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Sunday July 19, 2009 @09:56AM (#28747453) Homepage
        It's possible. "Extremely cheap, convenient, and worry-free" can beat "Free, hard to find, and worried-about-malware-and-getting-sued".
        • Re:No DRM (Score:4, Informative)

          by rampant mac (561036) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @10:38AM (#28747635)
          "It's possible. "Extremely cheap, convenient, and worry-free" can beat "Free, hard to find, and worried-about-malware-and-getting-sued"."

          That's, I think, exactly the reason iTunes is the juggernaut that it is... Quality: Good Enough to the ears of mere mortals. Cheap: People arguing over the price of iTunes music while sipping on a $7 Sapporo? Awesome. Worry free: Is there a remote vector to inject a virus/trojan? Possibly. It'd be damn hard though. I'm more worried about Apple releasing a version of iTunes that's buggy as hell and messes up my music library that I've spent years building. That's why I keep backups though! ;)

          • Well I definitely think that iTunes is convenient for most people, but not so much if you're trying to load music on your Palm Pre from your Linux desktop. It's pretty worry-free. It's fairly cheap, but I would definitely not call it "extremely cheap".

            But overall, I don't doubt that Amazon and iTunes are cheap enough, convenient enough, and worry-free enough to have captured some of the market that would have otherwise gone to "free". If they dropped their prices and supported more platforms, more devic

          • Cheap? It takes something like $30,000 to fill an ipod from itunes! Sure it may take that much to fill a truck with Sapporo, but no one does that. Lots of people fill their ipods.

        • by Inda (580031)
          Hard to find? Nothing has been hard to find since Sharereactor came and went. Even before that we had social networks, but we called them forums, message boards, IM, IRC, game chat ... email.

          Never ever, no not even once, not in a million years, have I ever found Shitware attached to my downloads. Firstly, let some other mugs download files first. Secondly, scene releases are still king.

          Getting sued? More chance of getting run over judging from my active reading of news sources and the millions of people I k
        • by Yogiz (1123127)

          The thing is, they'll have to move their asses before it turns "Free, convenient and worried-about-getting sued". I'm pretty sure they've missed the train a while ago.

      • Re:No DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @10:19AM (#28747545)

        You can beat free with convenience and accessibility.

        Take the Linux of, say, 2000 and compare it to Windows 2000. The former was free. The latter was more popular. Yes, because it was bundled and people were duped into thinking Windows is the be-all end-all, but there's more to it. I know a few people who tried Linux and found it complicated, they switched back to Windows. It might be different today (Ubuntu is in some areas way more convenient than Windows), but with the half-assed installers of early days, a lot of manual configuration (with command line!) and stuff that doesn't "just work", people dropped free for convenient.

        The same can work for content. To beat free, you have to be easier to use and more convenient than free. Apple and iTunes went that way, and with some success. It's easy and hassle free to buy in that store, it's well organized and it offers what people want, with reliable quality. Compared to the free alternative, it's more convenient (no need to configure anything in your firewall, no need to find trackers or peers...), it's better organized (no need to ponder how it might have been named, no sifting through "insider" taggings) and more reliable in the quality of your product (you get that song. Not a (deliberately or accidently) mislabeled one, not in some shoddy, useless quality).

        The only way to compete with 'free' is to offer more. People are willing to pay for convenience. The problem is that they get less with the current system of crippling DRM. The free stuff is, well, first of all free AND also more convenient to use because it does work on every player, any time you want, and without that sword of damocles hanging over your head, i.e. that the organisation offering it might close the shop and you're sitting there with data junk.

        Nothing beats free AND more convenient/reliable, that's a given.

        • by vux984 (928602)

          You can beat free with convenience and accessibility.
          Nothing beats free AND more convenient/reliable, that's a given.

          If they were ever to let up on their legal war on p2p infringement, the p2p infringers would be able to deliver FREE and match them on convenience/reliability.

          The only reason p2p is as inconvenient as it is (and its not THAT inconvenient) is because they are playing legal whack-a-mole with it. If that whack-a-mole were to cease, free p2p would rapidly reach itunes/amazon level of convenience

        • by genner (694963)

          You can beat free with convenience and accessibility.

          Take the Linux of, say, 2000 and compare it to Windows 2000. The former was free. The latter was more popular. Yes, because it was bundled and people were duped into thinking Windows is the be-all end-all, but there's more to it. I know a few people who tried Linux and found it complicated, they switched back to Windows. It might be different today (Ubuntu is in some areas way more convenient than Windows), but with the half-assed installers of early days, a lot of manual configuration (with command line!) and stuff that doesn't "just work", people dropped free for convenient.

          The same can work for content. To beat free, you have to be easier to use and more convenient than free. Apple and iTunes went that way, and with some success. It's easy and hassle free to buy in that store, it's well organized and it offers what people want, with reliable quality. Compared to the free alternative, it's more convenient (no need to configure anything in your firewall, no need to find trackers or peers...), it's better organized (no need to ponder how it might have been named, no sifting through "insider" taggings) and more reliable in the quality of your product (you get that song. Not a (deliberately or accidently) mislabeled one, not in some shoddy, useless quality).

          The only way to compete with 'free' is to offer more. People are willing to pay for convenience. The problem is that they get less with the current system of crippling DRM. The free stuff is, well, first of all free AND also more convenient to use because it does work on every player, any time you want, and without that sword of damocles hanging over your head, i.e. that the organisation offering it might close the shop and you're sitting there with data junk.

          Nothing beats free AND more convenient/reliable, that's a given.

          Amazon has been DRM free for a while now.
          Find another arguement.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Opportunist (166417)

            Last time I checked Amazon is doing fine despite the recession. What's your argument?

      • They can never beat free, sorry.

        Sure they can. If free takes three days to download, and $5 takes an hour, that season of Desperate Housewives might be purchased instead of "stolen."

        It is just that up to now they have had it backwards. They charge $40 a head for the soup kitchen, while the steakhouse next door is free. (There is still a long wait for a table)

        • If free takes three days to download, and $5 takes an hour, that season of Desperate Housewives might be purchased instead of "stolen."

          Except $5 doesn't always take an hour. There are plenty of works which are available as infringing copies in three days or as legitimate copies in 95 years because their copyright owners decline to make more copies. Disney's Song of the South and Nintendo's Mother series are ones that comes to mind first.

        • I had a subscription to Lost and Law and Order through iTunes. It took 3 hours to download each new episode, and they'd occasionally not be posted in iTunes for a few days. Downloading them through a torrent got me the show within an hour of when it aired and it took less than 15 minutes to download it. AND it was free.
          • If you wants last weeks, you can get it in seconds on Hulu. Now if you want season 1, you will have a long wait.

            That is a gap they can fill, but they refuse to do so reasonably.
      • The answer? PUBLISH EVERYTHING

        Not just everything out at the moment but every song for which a recording still exists and SELL it for a reasonable price. 99 cents ain't resonable to anyone but an Apple fanboy.

        The business model is simple, you create a digital copy of your entire catalog and put it on a server. You then sell all your content this way. You pay a trivial amount of money for storage (songs ain't all that big) and save a FORTUNE on CD presses, cover printing, assembling, packaging, shipping, s

        • by schnell (163007)

          99 cents ain't resonable to anyone but an Apple fanboy.

          Actually, it seems reasonable to tens of millions of people, including me. Considering how much enjoyment I get out of the music I buy, I'd say it's a very reasonable deal indeed.

      • Easy + Low Price = Better.

        I'd stop pirating for a cheap DRM-free subscription model.
      • The company I rent DVDs from seems to be doing well. They've just launched a streaming service (using Flash, which isn't ideal, but is better than some of the alternatives). It currently has around 1,200 titles, but it's only been up for a couple of weeks, so I expect this to grow over time. If I want to watch a movie, it takes a few minutes to find one I want to watch, then a few seconds to start watching it. It's included with the amount I was paying to rent DVDs already (which is about the same as th

    • by lattyware (934246)
      See: Spotify. It's a great service that is just as convinient as piracy for most people.
      • See: Spotify. It's a great service that is just as convinient as piracy for most people.

        Will it come to the United States within the next five years, or should I work on a master's degree and learn a couple more languages so that an employer in a supported country will sponsor my immigration?

        • by broeman (638571)
          You don't learn English in the US any longer, I didn't know it was that bad ...
          • by tepples (727027)

            You don't learn English in the US any longer

            I was ignoring the United Kingdom on purpose because civil liberties in the UK appear to have degraded even faster than in the United States. See the recent Slashdot article about an alleged rave. What other English-speaking country were you thinking of?

        • by lattyware (934246)
          Tell you what, how about a trade, we'll give you Spotify for all of those legal Anime streams you guys get that we don't.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      I'm waiting for the "better than the pirates" part.

    • +1

      If it were possible to download movies without DRM junk, I would pay close to the same cost as buying a physical DVD. (I just copy by dvd's to my computer for my media center anyways. I can't remember the last time I actually watched anything straight from a DVD.)

      Most of the "sites" suggested by the MPAA don't exist anymore and all require windows
      http://www.mpaa.org/piracy_internet.asp [mpaa.org]

    • With P2P, you don't have to think about the bill coming from Akamai.

      So, for example, if pirates offer 720P heavily compressed and transcoded junk, offer 1080p with 7.1 sound directly from masters themselves.

      Or they offer FLAC? Offer 24bit 5.1 version with a special key to attend band's concerts 25% cheaper.

      I would take a mpeg 2 DVD over pirated avi just because of picture and sound quality, extras, convinience. Most of DVD buyers aren't that technically illirate, they know they can download it freely but th

    • How about if they try to offer something better than the pirates? No DRM, region locking/restrictions

      Too late, the pirates already offer that.

  • The pay step (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ammorais (1585589)
    As long as the complexity of downloading files trough a "legal" service is bigger than the complexity of the alternatives, people will always prefer the easiest choice.

    The complexity of "legal" services will always be bigger than the alternatives, since you can always subtract at least one step: the pay step.
    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

      Not really... eg. itunes is extremely easy. OTOH Bittorrent requires knowlege of router configuration to configure ports forwarding etc. therefore itunes is easier (considerably, for the nontechnical).

      If they can make a one click download that just works then the pay step (which can be automatic as in itunes) then they'll have something that works.

      • Yeah, I don't pirate things, but back when I was knowledgeable about such things, pirating stuff was kind of a PITA. Not only did you have to keep up on where to go and what to look for (sometimes things were obscured in various ways), but often enough you'd download something only to find it wasn't what you really wanted. Like you might download a song only to find that it was malware or some other sound purposefully mislabeled as a prank. Or it might be a valid song, but the wrong song because some idi

        • Is it really much easier today?

          As long as you use an offline virus scanner such as ClamWin, it's a lot easier to find obscure, out-of-print films such as Disney's Song of the South on eMule than through legit channels.

      • Bittorrent requires knowlege of router configuration to configure ports forwarding etc.

        No, it doesn't. Some people's network setups may necessitate that, but I have never had to do any of that nonsense on the networks I've been on. The shit just works.

    • by TinBromide (921574) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @10:16AM (#28747531)
      the zune subscription tied with the zune software is incredibly easy and perfectly legal. $15 bucks a month and you get unlimited access to music that lasts as long as your subscription, you do, however, get to keep 10 songs a month that are included with the cost of the subscription. I use it for my listening needs because i don't need to hoard music forever, being able to play an album for a month or two and then delete it is precisely what I need in a service. Yes its drm, Yes its not my music, but i'm perfectly aware of that and I'm ok with it. I "rent" books from the library and "rent" movies from Netflix, why not music?

      P.S. Its amazing how fast it is too, I mean you have microsoft hosting 2 million songs and only 6 people are using it. Songs download LIKE THAT! *snaps fingers*

      Imagine how slow bittorrent would be if only 6 people used it...
      • This is the main reason I use my zune, but I know better than to trust Microsoft with my music that I want permanently so I go buy the music elsewhere if it was good. I really like the channel system and getting to keep up with lots of new music too.
  • by Renderer of Evil (604742) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @09:35AM (#28747353) Homepage

    Even the biggest brand out there, Napster, failed to capture any of its former glory as a pay service despite the ad blitz and continued media coverage.

    It's like shutting down a brothel and replacing it with a legitimate massage parlor. Would you fly out to Reno, Nevada to get a deep tissue massage at the retooled Bunny Ranch? These are kinds of questions these execs are not asking.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ammorais (1585589)

      Why do they even bother?

      Because they have plenty of money from the work of others to expend.

    • by Godwin O'Hitler (205945) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @10:04AM (#28747475) Homepage Journal

      Given the choice, yeah sure, I'm definitely going to use a service whose name is synonymous with poor quality, malware ridden files.
      It's like resurrecting the name J. T. Ripper & Sons as a personal protection service for lone wimmin.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Right, that's what I was thinking. If it didn't work for Napster, why would it work for Kazaa? At the time Napster went legit, it was still pretty much *the* name of music downloads. It was to online music almost what Xerox is to photocopying.

      Now? Napster may be making money, but they don't seem to be any kind of a market force. Any music store has to contend with the 900 pound gorilla in the room, which is iTunes. Fine, I know there are people here who think Apple and the iPod are overblown, but the

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Voyager529 (1363959)

        Napster has three different models: buying a la carte tracks (which are in 256kbps DRM-Free MP3 files; pricing mirrors Napster), streaming subscriptions (monthly, quarterly, and annually; each also including MP3 download credits as well), and Napster-To-Go (which uses the WMA-DRM you reference).

        Two big things I think can be attributed to Napster's failure to make a significant dent in the market. The first is the iPod; I'm sure that most of us have friends who aren't aware that there are players beyond the

      • Well duh. It's because any problem can be solved by branding! Energy issues? Branding. AIDS? Branding. Bad business model? Branding. It's how the world works.

    • by booyabazooka (833351) <ch.martin@gmail.com> on Sunday July 19, 2009 @01:20PM (#28748547)

      Not every business enterprise has to be glorious. Napster piggybacked off of an existing brand, and it was probably at least a decent move for them.

      They seem to be doing okay. Just a few wikipedia quotes, take them or leave them...

      On April 3, 2007 Napster reported it had over 830,000 paid subscribers.

      September 15, 2008 - Napster is purchased by Best Buy for $121 million.

      So what if Kazaa-pay is not as nearly big as Kazaa-free was? If you're going to have a pay music service, it's still probably beneficial to call it Kazaa, just to have some name recognition.

      • , it's still probably beneficial to call it Kazaa, just to have some name recognition.

        You forget that even the most ignorant of computer users recognizes that software becomes obsolete. If anything, it'll keep people away because they are going to think of it as an old program among a bunch of new, more up-to-date ones.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by booyabazooka (833351)

          You forget that even the most ignorant of computer users recognizes that software becomes obsolete. If anything, it'll keep people away because they are going to think of it as an old program among a bunch of new, more up-to-date ones.

          Right, that's why no one trusts "Windows", "Office", "Internet Explorer", "Photoshop"... all of these shitty obsolete brands. Ignorant computer users are racing toward Ubuntu and OpenOffice because they're never heard of them, so they must be good!

    • by drsquare (530038)

      Napster is healthily profitable, and so are thousands of legit massage parlours. What exactly is your point?

  • cpt obv (Score:4, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @09:42AM (#28747385) Homepage Journal

    The NYTimes has a related story about how the music industry is trying to convert casual pirates by offering more convenient new services.

    orly? Millions of people find our existing service so detestable that they turn to an illegal service to get what they want. Maybe, just maybe, there's a market for what they're looking for? Maybe we can make more money by selling them what they want instead of suing them?

    • by russotto (537200)

      Millions of people find our existing service so detestable that they turn to an illegal service to get what they want. Maybe, just maybe, there's a market for what they're looking for? Maybe we can make more money by selling them what they want instead of suing them?

      That sort of reasoning makes far too much sense for the music industry. More likely they just want to have a pay service to point to when grandstanding, never mind that almost nobody uses it because it only works with one specific version of Mi

    • Maybe we can make more money by selling them what they want instead of suing them?

      Then again, maybe not. It may be that these companies have done some calculations and realized that their importance is dwindling in the new digital world, and the more they can drag their feet and stonewall, the longer they can keep their prices high and therefore keep their profits high.

      Or maybe they really think they can get the government (lobbying the legislative branch and suing through the judicial) to keep their current business model going even though it doesn't make sense anymore. From what we'

      • by v1 (525388)

        Or maybe they really think they can buy the government (lobbying the legislative branch and suing through the judicial) to keep their current business model going even though it doesn't make sense anymore. From what we've seen so far, it appears that they'd be right.

        There, fixed that for ya.

  • ...is at least some small acknowledgment that it was Napster, Kazaa and a few others who did all the heavy lifting do the proof of concept work for the big media companies and their artists about how to survive in the digital age.
  • The site will open with over 1 million tracks.

    Much fewer than Kademlia/Ed2K or any music related torrent tracker.
    Not to question the price.

  • It'll never work (Score:5, Informative)

    by jrothwell97 (968062) <jonathan@not[ ]well.com ['ros' in gap]> on Sunday July 19, 2009 @10:01AM (#28747463) Homepage Journal

    "One of the most recognizable brands in the history of illegal downloading is due to officially resurface, perhaps as early as next week, sources close to the company told CNET News. Only this time the name Kazaa will be part of a legal music service. Altnet and parent company Brilliant Digital Entertainment attached the Kazaa brand to a subscription service that will offer songs and ringtones from all four of the major recording companies. For the past few months, a beta version has been available. The company tried recently to ratchet up expectations with a series of vague, and what some considered misguided, press releases. The site will open with over 1 million tracks."

    It's failed already. You have to pay money every month to listen to music you don't own. This is why subscription-based services have never worked - iTunes and Amazon offer (and have offered for a while), for a much more reasonable price, music that you get to keep forever, and, since the abolition of DRM, can do anything you want (within the law, of course *nudge nudge wink wink*) with.

    It didn't work for the Zune, it didn't work for Wippit, it's not working for Napster, it's not going to work for the relaunched Kazaa.

    • by smcn (87571)

      It works for XM.

  • by six025 (714064) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @10:07AM (#28747499)

    There's a reason why the Pirate Bay is successful and it is rarely mentioned. Apart from the content being free, and DRM free, the service offered is generally agnostic to brands, labels or formats. It is like Google for media - raw results for any media query. Until the worlds media companies can agree to build a centralised service that is effectively neutral, services like the Pirate Bay will continue to flourish. It will probably never happen though, because they're all too busy stepping over each other in the race for the prize, while at the same time believing that whatever service they dream up next will be better than everything that has gone before it.

    • Which is odd, considering the cartel that they formed. It should be trivial for them to come to an agreement.

      • by genner (694963)

        Which is odd, considering the cartel that they formed. It should be trivial for them to come to an agreement.

        Getting diffrent departments in the same business to work together is hard enough. Getting different members of a cartel to work togther is next to impossible.

    • by vyrus128 (747164)

      There's a reason why the Pirate Bay is successful and it is rarely mentioned.

      ITYM *was* successful. :-\

  • by BorgDrone (64343) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @10:20AM (#28747551) Homepage

    Although $20/month is a bit steep, I would consider this service were is not for a few limitations that make the service completely useless.

    1) Only available in the US. Really guys, it's time to start thinking globally, the rest of the internet has for the last 10 years.
    2) DRM, you don't really own the tracks, you can just play them for as long as you keep paying.
    3) Can't play it on an iPod/iPhone, or any (portable) media player

    If the music industry wants to get rid of piracy they have to start seeing them as competitors with a superior product. Since they cannot compete on price they have to compete on convenience and quality.

    1) Make it global
    2) Make sure EVERY song is there, not just the major labels
    3) Allow artists to upload directly to the service, offer them the possibility to cut out the middle man. Effectively: phase out all music labels, let them fade out into oblivion. Smart music labels could re-invent themselves as companies that sell services (studio time, marketing, etc.) to artists.
    4) No restrictions, no DRM, complete freedom.
    5) Make it affordable so Average Joe will not even consider going through the 'effort' of pirating music. Flat-fee is preferred (e.g. $9,99 /month would seem reasonable).

    • Only available in the US. Really guys, it's time to start thinking globally

      Bitch to the record labels first. Copyright owners are still in the pay-per-country mindset.

      DRM, you don't really own the tracks, you can just play them for as long as you keep paying.

      It's rental. How does it differ from Netflix?

      Can't play it on an iPod/iPhone, or any (portable) media player

      Nor can you play a vinyl record on such a player.

      Smart music labels could re-invent themselves as companies that sell services (studio time, marketing, etc.) to artists.

      Promotion of music and distribution of music to people without high-speed Internet access have vast economies of scale. Either your label is large enough that the payment for such services would include copyright ownership or equivalent forms of exclusivity, or it is small enough that its promotion service would likely be in

    • 3 would be very difficult to do. You're not going to get the major labels to willingly support something that's going to phase them out, and without the major labels you're not going to become popular.
      You'd also have a lot of problems convincing major labels to go DRM-free. They're slowly doing it now, but they're cautious, and wouldn't do it for a new upstart if they haven't already.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)
        I think SoundCloud.com is a site that's already gained some traction is doing this. Either the labels do it, or somebody else will.
  • Kazaa was great. So many idiots set its upload directory to C:\ that you could find anything. Everyone was searching for MP3s, but you could search for the DOC files in "Documents and Settings".

    I forget what I searched for but I got a listing of Word Documents that included "Penis Enlargement Instructions.DOC" or something like that. So naturally I clicked on that one and downloaded it. Figuring, it might be real, because a moron dumb enough to let Kazaa index his documents folder would be the sort of pe
  • They're still missing the most important point of music sharing; one which most -- though not all -- of the *other* legal reboots of music sharing networks have also missed:

    The long tail.

    The thing that made Napster cool, and that makes Gnet and ED2K cool to this day, is this: not all the cool tracks belong to you. And to expand on what I mean there: I have 19 versions of the Star Spangled Banner in my collection. Not all of those were ever even released; some are rips from TV.

    But in general, music sharing

    • "They're gonna have 'Existential Blues' by Tom 'T-Bone' Stenkus?"

      Maybe.
      The Dr. Demento compilations, which include "Existental Blues" are released on Rhino, which is associated with Warner:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhino_Records [wikipedia.org]

      For those not into Dr. Demento, here's another example: Mothership, a Led Zep (they were on Atlantic which is now Warner) greatest-hits album, has the Rhino insignia on the case.

  • Amazon.com (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @11:23AM (#28747889) Homepage
    I've just been buying music from Amazon. It's DRM-free, good quality and the pricing is generally just right. If they want to stop piracy just make everything available to everyone in this sort of format.

    This whole idea of things being available in certain territories is outdated and makes no sense on the internet but as long as it's around then people will just steal what they can't buy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      "I've just been buying music from Amazon."

      "This whole idea of things being available in certain territories is outdated...."

      Amazon only sells music in a few, very limited areas.

      In fact, in many places Amazon itself is just an online book store.

    • by DavidD_CA (750156)

      Exactly. I spent about $20-30/mo with Amazon on downloaded music (DRM-free).

      On the surface, I'd be better off with a monthly subscription service like what this article is reporting about.

      However, I know that my music won't suddenly disappear on me and I can do just about whatever I want with it.

      Contrast that to the music I bought from Urge a couple years ago. And when Urge vanished, so did the ability to play my music. Not cool.

    • Amen! Amazon is the best out there. DRM-free MP3's, 99 cents a piece, and a HUGE library. Amazon actually convinced me to lower the Jolly Roger and start buying legit music. I won't use iTunes (Apple software is too aggressive and they use proprietary formats). So Amazon is just perfect for me. Just wish they would do the same thing for videos.
  • Even an attempt resurrection of Kazaa under these circumstances, once again shows a total disconnect between customer base and the RIAA types. Zombie, bot, or borg - needs a brain shot or total disintegration.

    Limited catalog, DRM, $20/mo, database issues. Insultingly ridiculous "outreach". No doubt the failure of "new Kazaa" will be cited as "we tried" or future "market damage". Sic semper tyrannis.
  • I don't use Windows for a long time but when I read "Kazaa", "spyware" term comes to my mind instantly.

    I don't know if Kazaa was spyware itself or people were downloading some .exe junk with it to get infected but really, Kazaa simply doesn't exist in anyone's "brand memory" anymore.

    I would be really hesitant to let some service coming with that brand name store my credit card, e-mail and home address.

    Again, not really using Win since 2003 but I was quite phobic about Kazaa name. I can still remember that n

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