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Penn State To Offer The New Napster To Their Students Print E-mail
Friday, 07 November 2003
In a move designed to heal the wounds caused by the music business suing their youngest and most important customers, reports surfaced today that Penn State University would be offering a music downloading service to their students on their campus computers and servers. It is reported by CNN and CNET to be the new Napster which is a far different downloading system than the original Napster with the most notable change being that customers need to pay per song just like Apple’s iTunes and other commercial download sites.

More details on the deal are expected when the president of Penn State and executives from Roxio, the new parent company of Napster, make a formal announcement on Thursday in Anaheim, California. The idea to offer college kids a way to listen to and buy music directly through school servers is the kind of progressive idea that the music industry needs to repair the gaping wounds they have been inflicted on Gen-X and Gen-Y music consumers. It is this demographic of young, computer savvy users who made up the majority of the 60,000,000 original Napster users. The power of the Napster craze in the late 90’s and the ensuing peer-to-peer file sharing networks like Kazaa, Morpheus and Limewire resulted in the beginning of the end of the viability of the traditional CD as the go-to distribution model for the sale of music.

While copy protected, disc-oriented music formats like DVD-Audio and SACD are embroiled in a nasty format war, downloadable music represents the first new commercially successful new way to sell music since the advent of the original advent of Napster and that Napster didn’t have too much focus on “buying” music. Apple’s iTunes surpassed 10,000,000 downloaded songs in a mere four months which proves that customers are willing to pay to buy their music in the format that they find most valuable. Historically, the record labels would prefer to tell their customers the way they want them to buy their music. Now consumers are buying music by the single or at more fair prices for albums, directly over the internet.

This deal between Penn State and Napster and its national implications only serves to deliver more young, influential and paying customers to the ailing record labels. When able to charge the fees for their downloads to their parent’s tab or onto their student loans, the temptation to buy music when sitting in a dorm might possibly overtake the urge to hit up the peer-to-peer sites and just steal the tunes.

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