Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Microsoft Enters Competition for Online Music

Microsoft has announced plans to compete with Apple and Napster for the increasingly crowded market for music downloads. Few details are forthcoming at this time.It is too early to tell whether the double whammy of aggressive legal action against file-sharing…
November 19, 2003

Microsoft has announced plans to compete with Apple and Napster for the increasingly crowded market for music downloads. Few details are forthcoming at this time.

It is too early to tell whether the double whammy of aggressive legal action against file-sharing by the RIAA and the development of relatively low-cost, reliable, and diverse legal services for music downloads will cut down on file-sharing. I have contended all along that most people would prefer to stay within the law if they can get what they want cheaply and easily. We see over and over in the history of technology that early adapters often push much further than corporate interests are ready to go, putting technologies to purposes for which they were clearly not intended, demonstrating demands and interests which were not anticipated, and exploring new cultural and social practices which are innovative in the fullest sense of the word. Companies move more slowly to absorb what they can, shut down what they can’t absorb, and where-ever possible, figure out how to profit from the public’s interests. In that sense, pirates are a vital part of the innovation cycle. For more on this, check out Deborah L. Spar’s excellent book, Ruling the Waves: A History of Business and Politics along the Technological Frontier.

The question is whether the new services have diagnosed what the public wants correctly. Is the point the download or is it the community which has emerged around the exchange of music (and information about music)? If the later, these new services are making little progress towards incorporating the communal nature of Napster et al into their business models. It may be in fact that the Napster experiment will fuel multiple waves of corporate development and that the current download services will be surpassed by whatever entrepreneur fully grasps what was transformative about file-sharing.

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Our best illustrations of 2022

Our artists’ thought-provoking, playful creations bring our stories to life, often saying more with an image than words ever could.

How CRISPR is making farmed animals bigger, stronger, and healthier

These gene-edited fish, pigs, and other animals could soon be on the menu.

The Download: the Saudi sci-fi megacity, and sleeping babies’ brains

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology. These exclusive satellite images show Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway In early 2021, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia announced The Line: a “civilizational revolution” that would house up…

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.