The BBC has published an interview with Brad Duea, president of Napster. A few interesting sound bites:

Online music will become an ”exploding multi-billion dollar space in the next two years.”

”A lot of time people think of ownership as this ultimate thing with music. Has owning cassettes in the past really benefited people?”

”I do not think the argument about ownership is such a wonderful thing. What do you really want as a music fan? It’s to access music and listening to music.”

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5 replies
  1. GB says:

    Cassettes were an obviously inferior technology. Not so with digital downloads.

    What most music listeners really want is the ability to access their music library without the risk of losing that access. Until that risk is diminished to near zero, Napster-like services will not find much success.

  2. Dave Kusek says:

    I disagree about sound quality. If you think MP3 and AAC and WMA files are superior to CDs, I suggest you go listen again. One of the great tragedies of where we are in digital music today, is that most of the files sound like crap.
    As far as being able to access your music, I agree that this is what most people want, and it is argueably easier to do in the digital space than hunting through piles of CDs. You don’t have permanent access to television programming and movies from your cable provider either. You need to record the shows or purchase DVDs to have them forever. Why should music be any different?

  3. GB says:

    I didn’t mean to imply that digital files are better than CDs. I was trying to say that they are better than cassettes and close enough to CDs. People were willing to give up their cassettes because of the inadequate sound quality and lack of flexibility of the format. There isn’t the same risk of obsolescence with buying digital music files because the near-CD sound quality is adequate (for most people) and the flexibility of the format is tremendous.

    Regarding the second point, music is substantially different than tv and movies! Tv shows and movies are typically viewed only once. We subscribe to cable tv primarily to get a flow of new content. On the other hand, a song or album is usually kept in a library to listen to many times. Yes, movies and tv shows are re-watched sometimes. But not nearly to the extent that a single piece of music is replayed. It is this desire to build a library (that will always be there) that favors the pay-per-dowload model right now. A music subscription service will only succeed when the consumer feels there is little chance they will cancel the service. I think this will happen once music services are integrated with cable and telecom.

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