Napster co-founder: war on music piracy is a failure


Posts: 152   +0

Napster co-founder Sean Parker recently gave his thoughts on the music industry and how he plans to solve its problems at the Daily Beast's Innovators Summit – Reboot America!. "The ultimate answer is you have to accept that the war on piracy is a failure," he said, estimating that 4 to 10 trillion songs have been illegally downloaded versus 4 billion legally.

Speaking of his friends, he said, "They use pirate services because they're more convenient. The TV industry has provided an adequate response [to the digital revolution.] It's an industry in transition but it’s an industry that's doing it in a way that's more civil." Parker believes that people are willing to pay for convenience and accessibility in TV. He's more focused on the music industry but he believes the same rules apply. You can watch him speak in the video below (via The Daily Beast):

Parker's solution is Spotify, a DRM-based music service that allows unlimited streaming of content from a multitude of major and independent record labels including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group, and Universal. The desktop application also allows you to import music from either iTunes or directly from local files. Spotify provides an unlimited platform for streaming on the desktop, but the client holds all its music files locked with the program so you can't move it to your mp3 player (but Spotify apps are available): it's unlimited streaming within a closed environment.

Parker invested $14.86 million in Spotify last August, giving him five percent ownership of the service. Napster may have gone bankrupt, but it will still be remembered as the revolution focused on bringing the music industry into the Internet age. Parker wants to finish what he started. He says that with Spotify, users get addicted to the custom library of music they build for themselves. "You have no choice," he says bluntly. "We've got you by the balls, you'll have to become a subscriber."

The company has 10 million users in Europe, and more than half a million paying subscribers. The service has yet to launch in the US, but Parker today said he expects an "end of year launch for Spotify."

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Posts: 69   +1
As hard as it is to believe, there are still people that (at least claim) to not know anything about the legality of pirating copyrighted materials. I talk to them all the time.

Of course then there are also the folks that have never heard of file sharing, P2P, torrents, etc. and somehow have never heard anything about these cases in the news. How could they have missed the Napster cases? The Pirate Bay case? Oh, right, not everyone is a geek and reads tech news. Got it. . .


Posts: 3,322   +2,078
What an ***. "It's OK to pirate unless you're using my Spotify program." Which coincidentally has as heavy-handed DRM as anything out there.

Typical pirate mentality.


Posts: 915   +47
I haven't heard anything about Napster in a long time. Spotify is not the answer to music piracy. I want to buy DRM free MP3's or even flac files. I want to be able to put that music anywhere i want at anytime.


"You have no choice," "We've got you by the balls, you'll have to become a subscriber."

Uhm, no... The consumer has the industry by the balls, and if you want to win them over you have to offer them an as convenient and good value service as you possibly can. Blabbering about your service is going to screw the consumer over and force them to pay is the same sort of arrogance and complacency that led to the downfall of the traditional music industry.
"the client holds all its music files locked with the program so you can't move it to your mp3 player"

Umm HELLO RETARD, that is the reason people pirate music. Its so they can put it on their mp3 players!!


Posts: 11   +0
Man if only they realised the average person would buy music if you didnt have to use stupid specific software like Itunes all the time zzz i stoped using Iphone aswell because of Itunes, also Sean Parker is a douche.


Posts: 1,007   +249
Wow this guy isn't coming across right at all haha.
Convenience IS a big part of it, but it's hardly everything. The only time I pay for music is when it's from an artist that I am very comfortable with and if it's an artist that regularly produces albums where I like all (or most) of the tracks.
The only subscription service I might be willing to subscribe to someday is Zune's... since you're basically paying for one CD every month, getting unlimited access to as much music as you want, and you get to keep 10 tracks each month.


The war on music pirating is like the war on drugs, you just can't win


Posts: 101   +3
There are a lot of legal unlimited music services that allow you to transfer songs to your mp3 already for a monthly fee. why subscribe to something that is more limited but you still pay for? Hes right about convenience but what he proposes is far less convenient.


Posts: 1,063   +1,185
Got news for you dude, there are services that do just that. Amazon's MP3 Music Store along with Napster both sell no-DRM MP3 at some very good high bitrates.


Posts: 1,886   +470
Ultimately, music should be free. Of course, many people would bash this comment... but when I play my guitar for my friends, I dont charge them $1.99 for 3 minutes after I finish playing a song I wrote for them. I'd be more then flattered if they made copies and distributed it around to their friends as well. If people like me enough, I'd accept donation. Maybe this is why I appreciate Radiohead so much.

Anyways, this guys idea doesnt sound like it will solve anything. Almost sounds more complicated than iTunes, and I already thought Apple "had you by the balls."


Posts: 2,006   +18
You can still rip any stream coming into your computer anyway. Just like I pressed record on my tape player when a song I liked came on the radio. But hoards of MP3s are a relic of 1995-2005. Right now you can go on YouTube and watch the video of just about any song that you want. Over and over again. It was cool to have 50,000 songs, but as most people have pointed out, our access to media (or information for that matter) has far outstripped our ability to process it.


Posts: 118   +0
I think people are getting sick of DRM (even Apple realized that with iTunes!). The future of his service seems uncertain since the restrictions will be more than the benefits.


Posts: 157   +0
Understatement of the day because piracy isn't going away, at least not in the forseable future, it would be too hard/expensive and there are way too many pirates.


Sadly, having watched the video he does appear to be a douchebag. However, as a UK user I have to say that Spotify is actually a pretty good. I use it at work and it has a decent catalog and is a polished piece of software (pandora is banned in the UK but we can access grooveshark, etc which are no where near as easy to use). I've only used the free version but have friends with android phones and the paid version (about $15 dollars a month) and they swear by it so maybe he's not totally wrong.


Posts: 92   +0
I'm very sad that the industries haven't learned that this is just like what happened with the tape recorder, CD, and VCR. Change in format doesn't mean death of the art, it just means that the current business model needs to change instead of trying to squeeze the last few pennies out of the outdated model.


Posts: 143   +0
He looks like Krusty the clown
the way he is holding that microphone... not good.
piracy? pff, music sucks this days, ill stick to Chopin


Posts: 1,388   +72
I am a legal Napster user and they recently informed me that their drmed tracks will no longer be supported. They never gave you the option to download drm free mp3s for these tracks either; you have to burn the wma files to cds, 15 at a time, and rerip them to transfer them to a new computer, losing sound quality to boot. What if I had 1000 of them, would it take a year to convert them? I sure see why piracy took off.


Posts: 155   +0
I was on Napster and had to do the same thing, though I used another program to convert them to MP3 so I would not have to worry about it in the future. Now I mainly use to get MP3 files, it's quick and easy.