Digital Music Distribution: Napster Vs. Kazzaa Essay

Digital Music Distribution: Napster Vs. Kazzaa Essay

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Over the past decade, since online music distribution networked its way into existence, the digital music forefront has proven to be a precarious foray — companies have come in and out of the market, utilizing a full spectrum of creative business models in attempts to lasso these newly unleashed possibilities of online music distribution. Some offer distinctly legal solutions that consumers are more or less resistant to and others hover ambiguously over the boundaries of copyright law, attracting users through questionable means. Roxio's Napster 2.0 and Altnet's Kazaa utilize two vastly different business models and, when compared, serve as a good illustration of the contrasting approaches companies use to capture the frontier market of online music distribution. Napster allows major labels to retain their strong grasp on the industry by primarily providing and featuring the product of major labels (and a handful of independents) — giving the major labels a "virtual extension" of the monopolistic distribution they control in the physical realm. Kazaa attenuates the major labels' grasp on the industry and uses a sponsor-supported "peer-to-peer" application model to allow music suppliers to bypass formal distribution and easily license content through Kazaa's business partner, Altnet. However, the structure of this system undermines the record industry since it allows widespread illegal distribution of unlicensed materials (a.k.a "pirating"). Both Napster and Kazaa, among a plethora of other players, vie to be profitable and stay afloat via different methods in the illusive market of online music distribution.
Napster 2.0 came into existence in late 2003 after Roxio purchased its peer-to-peer predecessor, the original Napster, for...

... middle of paper ...

... even more powerful and flexible possibilities in the digital realm. Although the end result may fail to be profitable or legal, Napster 2.0 and Kazaa are simply exploring those ends by bringing more powerful and flexible opportunities to consumers. Which one offers the best solution to sellers and buyers alike? — Only time will tell.


"About Sharman." Sharman Networks. 2003. 22 Nov 2004.

"How Much Does it Cost?." Altnet Online Support. 22 Nov 2004. .

Mervis, Scott. "Music Downloading Q&A." The Albuquerque Tribune. 3 Dec 2003. 22 Nov 2004. .

"Napster is the World's Most Recognized Brand in Online Music." 2004. 21 Nov 2004. .

"Roxio Acquires Pressplay as the Foundation for the Re-launch of Napster." 19 May 2003. 21 Nov 2004. .

Sharman Networks Releases Kazaa v2.5. 25 June 2003. Sharman Networks. 22 Nov 2004. .

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