Friday, December 21, 2001

Napster, and the Brand Online It's funny hearing execs at MusicNet and PressPlay talk about online "brands" (including Napster's). It's clear they don't know what they're talking about.

Online, customer experience is the brand. The Napster customer experience involved:
1) Going online
2) Finding any song you wanted
3) Easily downloading that to your computer
4) Listening to it as many or few times as you wanted
5) Putting it on different media

This experience is now owned by Morpheus and other file-sharing networks. The horrible, crippled experience MusicNet and PressPlay offer don't come close to this, and the post-Napster Napster won't either. The name "Napster" holds no value to the customer, only the experience matters.

Everyone knows MusicNet and PressPlay will fail. Better alternatives exist, namely 1)Morpheus and 2)CDs. I'm pretty sure the Recording Industry cartel is wise to this too, but they're not worried. They reckon the courts and Congress will help stamp out online file-sharing and are quite comfortable with the status quo CD sales represent. So MusicNet and PressPlay don't need to succeed, they just need to make the Recording Industry look like something other than a cartel colluding to restrict quantity until they digital rights management is built into all hardware, courtesy of a Congressional edict.

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