Can Roxio Build A Better Napster?

from the doubtful dept

I recently wrote that I didn’t think Roxio had much of a chance in trying to rebuild Napster. I didn’t think the brand name would get the company very far. It would, clearly, get them some initial publicity, but if the service sucked, people wouldn’t come back. Besides, at this point, the Napster name has been dead so long that it’s brand is continually getting weaker. Jimmy Guterman over at Business 2.0 has noticed the same thing and has a few suggestions for Roxio on how to build a Napster that works. He makes another point that I agree with – the value of Napster wasn’t so much the fact that you could download free music, but the fact that you were sharing that music with someone else. The sharing aspect of it let you find others who had similar tastes and sample their collections, letting you find something new. The folks in the music industry still don’t get this. They don’t understand the difference between a centralized download system, and a decentralized “sharing” application – but it’s going to make all the difference in the world concerning whether or not a new Napster gets any sort of user acceptance. Guterman points out that the various successful web services have all been “viral” in nature – encouraging others to use it. That’s simply not true with any downloading service – and it’s why music sharing services are a much stronger value proposition (though, the music labels haven’t figured that out yet).

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