The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

EDITORIAL: Napster will be missed if it ever leaves

It’s going to happen. Sooner or later we all must say goodbye to that loveable service so many have called “the greatest thing ever invented in the history of the world.”

Napster, Inc. has done just about all it can do and it’s amazing the free mp3 downloading service has survived such a long battle. This is especially true since its enemy is one of the most dominating forces in the world – the Recording Industry Association of America.

The amount of court decisions and reversals this controversy has received is astounding. Every time the sun rises, the fate of Napster changes or is tweaked in one way or another.

Napster, in accordance with a court order, is working on ways to block copyrighted material from being transferred on the service.

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As expected, the closer the RIAA comes to shutting down the popular service, the more activity Napster receives.

The Associated Press reported that in the month of January, music fans downloaded 2.7 billion files using Napster – more than double September’s activity.

In case you’re not good with numbers, 2.7 billion is a lot. Napster reportedly has more than 50 million users worldwide.

There are other Web sites that provide a similar service as Napster, but are in no way as popular and eventually will face the repercussions Napster is facing right now.

The reason for Napster’s popularity is simple and has been stated many times.

Music fans are sick of being ripped off. Everywhere fans go for music, there is some greedy corporate executive licking his or her chops at the potential profits. Everything from concert tickets to CDs, and even record stores are dominated by corporate conglomerates.

The RIAA has complained ferociously about how much money it is losing as a result of Napster. But how come nobody mentions how much money hard-working fans are losing buying over-priced merchandise?

Radio and television are lost causes. The best hour in music television is supposedly MTV’s Total Request Live, a show devoted to what record companies shove down the collective throats of today’s youth.

Sure, the argument can be made that the reason for such programming is because the “bands” are so popular. But the truth of the matter is that when people can’t escape something, they tend to get used to it and eventually begin to like it.

Napster, as corny as this sounds, should be seen as a martyr for the angry fans around the globe.

The service represents the failures of the large recording companies’ attempts to dominate the music scene. The RIAA has continually overlooked the most important aspect about its business – producing original on a consistent basis, and not spitting out bubble gum acts that will make some millionaire even richer.

When Napster goes down (and it will eventually, the recording industry is much too powerful), it will take with it the last remaining bit of dignity the RIAA has left.

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EDITORIAL: Napster will be missed if it ever leaves