Online Music Distribution

Essay by neoprufrock19University, Bachelor'sA-, February 2007

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Online Digital Music Distribution Introduction and History

The modern music industry has evolved past traditional medias. Records turned in to tapes, tapes to CDs, now mp3s are taking over. Through inexpensive distribution methods, the music industry can deliver content with a lower overhead cost structure and enhance consumer experience by offering on-demand downloads, satisfying their emerging need for instant gratification. However, this shift in delivery creates channel conflicts and requires change from all parties.

Napster revolutionized the distribution of music

With the development of CD copying software, computer users were able to import their libraries of music onto their computers. The increased popularity in the internet spawned sharing of these files in the form of Napster. Napster was the first widely-used peer-to-peer (or P2P) music sharing service, and it made a major impact on how people used the Internet. The Napster technology allowed music fans to easily share MP3 format song files with each other, which led to the music industry's accusations of copyright violations.

The system was developed for its ability to generate an enormous selection of music to download, but most users simply enjoyed it for the capability of trading and downloading music for free. With the files obtained through Napster, people frequently made their own compilation albums on recordable CDs, without paying any royalties to the copyright holder (which was usually one of the big record labels).

Due to songs being leaked out on to the web and Napster prior to commercial release dates which caused widespread media coverage, various lawsuits were filed against Napster by music artists and record labels. In July 2001, Napster was forced to shut down after declaring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy from settling several lawsuits. A few years later, legal online digital music retailers began to emerge.

iTunes Music Store was one...