Online Music Distribution In A Post-Napster World

Satisfactory Essays
1) What trends in networking in the 1990’s and early 2000’s drove the popularity of Napster? What other technologies contributed to Napster’s success?

Before the 1990’s, if people want to listen to music, they just visit a music store and pick up a CD and then put it into a stereo equipment. However, the development of MP3 file format gradually changed the way people listen to music. This format lets everyone download music easily and it can be converted to CD as well. But, there is still a problem: searching MP3 files on the internet is maddening and people seldom can find the music they want. Therefore, the birth of Napster solved this problem, creating a virtual music community in which music fans could use the Web as a “swap meet” for music files. More importantly, Napster is easy to use and it’s free, which expands the range of audience in age. Bandwidth also contributed to Napster’s success. The greater the bandwidth, the faster the file can be transferred. So, Napster really changed the way people listen to music, discover music and interact with music.

2) What were the effects of Napster on the recording industry?

In this case, there are three main effects of Napster on the recording industry. The first one is that it caused a large decline in record sales in a short time. According to this case, the spending on recorded music in U.S dropped 4.1% in 2001 and the industry’s top 10 albums also sold much less compared to the year before. The second effect is that it cased the sales of CD burners, blank CDs and digital audio players increase and nowadays, most new computers come with CD-RW drives installed, which means people can easily store downloaded music, share music with friends and take it with them anytime as well. The third effect is that it increased the cost of recorded music. Once people can download free music through peer-to-peer software services, they have less incentive to buy original editions, which will make recording industry spend more to fight against copyrights and invest more in new artists and new music. Overall, these three effects make the recording industry go through a hard time.

3) An “analyst” was quoted in the case (in 2002) as saying that “people will pay for music on the Internet, eventually.” This person was skeptical of the willingness of consumers to pay for
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