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The New Napster

The tech giveth, and the tech taketh away.

A few years ago, I spent a lot of time on Napster. While downloading songs was part of the fun, the voyeurism of browsing through other people's collections (and making outrageous assumptions about what kind of people they were) was half the fun. Robbie Williams pretty much meant Brit or Eurotrash. Jon Bon Jovi meant mullethead from New Jersey. Britney Spears meant teeny-bopper (or dirty old man). My favorites were the oddballs, the people with Stiff Little Fingers and Dvorak, or Abba and Einsturzende Neubauten.

Our legal system being what it is, all that fun all went down the tubes eventually. The site shut down, and I never transferred the mp3 files to my new PC (I kept thinking I'd drop them onto the mp3 player that I never wound up buying). The whole collection lingers on a hard drive for an abandoned machine.

Now, an odd shadow of Napster is back, and it offered me five free downloads. I fell for the bait, naturally. The new Napster is surprisingly faithful to the original, even though it's run by a different company. They have the feel of it right, all the way down to snooping on other people's collections, purchases, and current playlist. I was delighted when I searched for a particular song by name, and found that it gave me ever version by every band that ever covered the tune. Unexpected entertainment ensued. And the 30-second previews mean I can compare, oh, the Melodian's versions of "Many Rivers to Cross" with Jimmy Cliff's version.

Digital downloading by the major labels, something I thought I'd see in 2001 at the very latest, has finally arrived. Just as I abandoned many reference works when I realized it was easier to keep stuff digitally, it's time to rip, burn, and sell off the CD collection.

Comments

( 1 sutra — Your wisdom )
izzbot
Oct. 29th, 2003 08:37 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm, it definitely looks interesting.

I may have to give it a try.
( 1 sutra — Your wisdom )

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