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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    Mike (profile), 21 Oct 2003 @ 1:27pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    I think we're basically in agreement, though I do think that the old line of business is dying (and I include software in that). I think the businesses that are still making money are an artifact of an obsolete business model. I actually think that both IBM and Microsoft realize this and are making subtle shifts in their strategy so that they're not actually in the software business any more (it's more obvious with IBM, but look at how Microsoft has been changing their offering and you'll notice that they're beginning to realize they're not really a software company, but a service company).

    It may seem like a fine line distinction, but selling digital goods is simply not a sustainable business model any more. Selling a service around digital goods, however, has tremendous potential.

    The very fact that you see how starving artists and fans benefit from the system, but can't see how to make money off of that, suggests to me that you should look a little closer. If you can provide something that people want (from both the producer and the consumer end of things, even) and can't figure out how to make money, then I have to ask how good a business person you really are...

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