Earlier this week, after years of a court-induced coma, the Napster.com Web site became live and free again. This time, the Napster executives claim they are too legit to quit.
Here's the new deal. Napster claims to have two-million songs in its master collection. If an individual fills out a no-cost Web registration form, he or she is then allowed to listen to any and all of the tunes up to five times. You do the math.
Okay, I will. That's ten million potential circs per user. If the average song lasts three minutes, that's 30 million minutes of listening, or 500,000 hours, or 20,833 days, or 57 years. If you take some time off to sleep, work, go to class, or just give your eardrums a rest, that's easily a lifetime of listening.
You can buy individual tracks, or entire albums, or subscribe for $9.95 per month for unlimited downloads and no ads. If you want to have unlimited transfers to your MP3 player, the subscription price increases to $14.95 per month.
Two million sounds like a lot of tunes. Let's do some spot checking:
Why Should Librarians Care What Happens to Napster Reborn?
I couldn't find any mention of institutional-subscription options. Unless you work in a music library, your library's collection of recorded music probably leaves something to be desired. And it does seem that, as a form of creative, artistic expression, music has sunken to a leprous low in this first decade of the new millennium; Napster and iTunes, these days, have Barney and The Wiggles waiting in the wings. Unclean, unclean!
But here's one reason we should pay attention: Narchive. When I first read about the Narchive, I thought it was a compound word describing a swarming hive of narcotics officers. Or perhaps NARA had teamed up with Napster? Stranger things have happened.
Actually, it's a contraction for Napster Archive. The Napster execs score ten bonus points for retaining the final e. The Narchive hasn't been revealed to the public yet, but it will be a community space for sharing free music using NapsterLinks, stories, photos, images, trenchant commentary, etc.
Everybody seems to be getting in on the Web 2.0 online community building thing. Technorati tags: audio archives, digital music storage, digital rights management, DRM, iTunes, online communities, music archives, music downloads, Napster, Web 2.0