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 @ 1:12pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Nope, still got the point but you made the same argument I'm trying to make by using the DVD and Tape analogy. It was the movie industry that profitted from and more importantly, CONTROLS this.

    File sharing by it's nature takes away control from the industry and they simply can't abide that. Without the ability to push the 'gee whiz' artist they would actually have to spend more money as the public decide. They couldn't control budgets and marketing as they do now ... does anyone really think that Brittany Spears and Shirika are really any good without the industry behind them ?

    It's the 'sharing' word that's not working for the industry. Perhaps if they built their own network and software clients, they might embrace it ... but that would cost money ... lots of it .. and then you would lose the 'sharing' aspect of it and you'd just see a new distribution model with the same results.

    I still understand why consumers want sharing ... hell, it is free music .... and most people have not intention of paying for it or in attending these groups concerts or buying their marketing materials. As a businessman, I can not find a way to make the sharing model work for me. IF (big IF) I was a struggling artist, I'd jump on this horse in a second but then again, if no one bought my music ... I'd still be struggling for the most part or have to play night in and night out to make a buck.

    The old way of business isn't dying ... I think that's the same line the software business used when they claimed the pirates were wiping them out. Didn't happen and same thing is true of the file sharing. Yeah, it's hurting them but it's more like a small scratch than uncontrolled bleeding as they'd have you believe.

    The only industry that should be worrying, currently, is the media distribution part of the equation. The businesses have recognized that distributing a digital file is cheaper than producing a CD and it's associated liner notes. Yeah, a CD costs less than a dollar to produce, but a digital file after the first one, is measured in tenths of a cent. Now THAT I understand as being GOOD for my business.

    I'm sure will still be having this debate a few years from now ... should be interesting to see what, if any, progress is made during that time.

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