Napster And Mp3: Redefining The Music Industry Essay

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Executive Summary With the advent of Napster and MP3 technology, Napster has revolutionized the music industry. Instead of going to a bricks and mortar music store, users can now download music from the comfort of their home—for free. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is strongly opposed to this because they have asserted that this infringes upon copyright and cuts into the music industry’s profits. The RIAA has forced Napster to suspend operations and the era of getting unlimited free music is dying. The Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) promises to change all of this. SDMI pledges to provide users with unlimited, secure downloads provided the music industry will also be compensated. There will be mechanisms in place to ensure that this “legal” music is not duplicated and sent to others. Also, users will not be able to receive illegal or pirated music from other people. While the initial roll-out plans for SDMI have been completed, there are still some issues that have not been resolved, which is preventing SDMI to materialize. One criticism challenges the security of SDMI. To counter this, SDMI proposed they would reward $10,000 to any individual who could successfully hack into their network. No one was successful. Still, others said that while SDMI while now be hacker-proof, eventually it will be compromised. Also, can SDMI effectively protect other non-MP3 music files? Currently, free music sites still exist, although the number of sites and members has declined from the heydays of the past. Many of the sites now charge users a monthly subscription or pay-per-download rate. Questions now arise regarding the future of the music industry. Is the traditional way of doing business going to cease to exist, and are we witnessing the evolution of a whole new venue of acquiring music? Many people believe MP3

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