Kazaa Returns As Expensive, Crappy DRM'd Music Service
from the good-luck-there... dept
I haven't had much time to explore Kazaa, but my first impression is that the Web-based service is miles behind the competition. It's as if the company locked its technologists in a room four years ago and they've just now emerged, having missed the growth of social networks, the explosion in smartphone usage and the death of music DRM. The service costs $15 a month -- 50% more than Rdio, MOG or Rhapsody -- and doesn't have a mobile app. Instead, it offers unlimited streams and tethered downloads (that is, songs wrapped in electronic locks to deter copying) that can be played only by Kazaa's proprietary plugin for Windows Media Player.Seriously. Windows Media Player DRM. Didn't that die out years ago?
It also has only rudimentary social-media features, most notably the ability to play other users' playlists and to watch a continuously updated list of what other users are playing. And although there are a handful of "editor's picks," there's no preference engine to recommend tracks based on a user's tastes -- a major handicap when it comes to discovering music. Essentially, users are left to search for tracks or artists they already know, or take unguided tours through the library's eight genres.
Healey also notes the amusing fact that Kazaa's relaunch happened to come the same day that Kazaa's original founders, Janus Friis with Niklas Zennstrom, launched their latest startup, Rdio, which is also an authorized music streaming service. While I've played around with Rdio and find it to be a pretty weak offering -- overall, it sounds miles ahead of the "new" Kazaa. It really does make you wonder what Kazaa has been doing for the past four years.