Why iTunes Won't Stop File Sharing

from the well,-duh... dept

The title of this one is pretty obvious, of course, but Apple is pitching iTunes as if it will get people to stop file sharing, but plenty of people are skeptical, including the folks at BigChampagne, who track file sharing usage. They say that iTunes downloads are a very tiny drop in the bucket compared to the among of music sharing on Kazaa. While Apple is hoping to sell 100 million songs on iTunes by next April, at any one time, there are an average of 700 million files being shared on Kazaa - with the majority of them being music. They describe things like iTunes as a "niche" or "premium" market. They don't say that it won't be successful, but all the rhetoric about it wiping out file sharing is just a lot of talk. Ever since iTunes launched, I've wondered what so special about it. While it does make getting legal downloadable music easier, it completely misses the benefits of music sharing across a distributed network (at both ends of the system). It's well designed and it's nice that it's there, but it's anything but revolutionary. The only way to stop file sharing from being a "problem" is to embrace it and figure out a way to use it to the industry's advantage, rather than fighting against it.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2003 @ 11:52am

    No Subject Given

    Mike, I know that the file sharing thing is near and dear to your heart but your statement that 'the industry' should quit fighting it and embrace it doesn't make a lot of sense ... least not to the industry. Some of the following statements would follow your logic of 'can't win so make it work' thesis ... and yes some are over the top but the logic is the same.

    1) Can't stop people from illegally copying software so we should just have them bring it to a nearby dealer, have them copy it and figure out how to make a buck .. have you seen microsofts licensing nightmare ?

    2) Can't stop drugs so just legalize them ... this ones been going on for decades now.

    3) People are going to die so let's help them make it easier. Always loved the movie soylent Green where Edgar G. Robinson is 'put to sleep'.

    4) Can't stop people from getting hand guns and using them so let's figure out a way to get one in everyone's hands ... NRA NRA NRA.

    Like I said, over the top but they all get back to the same thing: While the user/consumer may like the solution, the promoter/government/company/etc doesn't.

    You're continuely calling for the record companies to embrace sharing but until you or someone else comes up with a way for them (them = companies, artists, etc) to continue to make the same amount of money they currently make, it ain't going to happen. I think I would agree with you that it would be beneficial for a number of artists but probably extremely detrimental to a larger number. At least in the current state of the music industry.

    When you have complete control of a industry, you do not let that business slip away simply because a disruptive technology or start up company comes knocking at your door. Think about oil companies, Microsoft, Railroad companies, etc. Eventually the government had to step in to stop them.

    The music industry is using the law to fight file sharing and until the law is changed, they can and will effectively use this to maintain the status quo.

    So until file sharing can be presented to the record industry in such a way that it will make them as much money as they currently make or more, they will grind it under their collective heels.

    Too bring that last thought to the front, remember the industry is getting ready with a second set of law suits against file sharers? I'm willing to bet a number of file sharers figured the first round of suits would be the only one as a scare tactic. Think they (the music industry) are trying to send a clear message. WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY. It will cost them lots of money to pursue these law suits, but I'm sure they've done a risk analysis and have determined that letting the sharing continue unabated will cost them more.

    I'm NOT an RIAA hit man or even a proponent of what they are doing. I like the idea of file sharing and understand what it could mean to me as an end user. However, I'm also a capitalist, and until I see a clear cut way for a business to make money, I do not see any advantage to letting file sharing continue.

    Show them how to make MORE money than they are making now and they'll pour money into it.

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