The controversial music file sharing program Napster
was the media's darling in 2000, thanks to high-profile legal challenges
and a staggering number of traded files. The New Year finds the company
working with at least one major record label on a subscription model.
Nobody knows how successful this strategy will be, but one thing is
sure: Today's Internet sports an ever-growing roster of file sharing programs, all seeking to challenge Napster for the throne. Stay tuned
- it's guaranteed to get ever more interesting.
The Competition Some promising P2P programs to watch:
SpinFrenzy This community (currently in beta test phase), aimed at "Gen Y'ers,"
requires a small download before you can share files and use a Web-based
interface to find pictures, music and video files. Along with file sharing,
SpinFrenzy community members receive free Web space and any help they
need to post their pages.
This service hasn't addressed the issue of intellectual property rights,
but has found a solution to the Napster problem (that is, most P2P networkers
download many more files than they share with others). MojoNation fixes
this by requiring something called "mojo," downloading credits acquired
by uploading files or lending some of your computer's CPU power to maintaining
the MojoNation network.
iMesh may be the hottest new thing on the virtual block. According to
their Web site, they already have over two million users. Members of
the iMesh community can share any kind of file through the iMesh software
or through their user-friendly Web interface.
FLIPR (Future License of Intellectual Property Rights)
This company is gearing up to release their file sharing service the
first quarter of 2001. Unlike most P2P networks, FLIPR will only feature
music from labels that have given permission for their works to be traded.
Artists are reimbursed royalties per download. The buzz is that a whole
bunch of the big indie labels are already on board.
Add-Ons These programs live on top of other P2P software
and increase functionality:
Napigator Instead of being stuck with one of the few servers built into (and
maintained by) Napster, this plug-in allows you to connect to a variety
of alternate Napster networks.
"Wraps" non-music files (and archives) into MP3 documents and tricks
Napster into letting you share any type of file over the Napster network.
More importantly, it helps you find other "wrapped" files uploaded by
other users. Works great with Napigator for real P2P power surfing.