The Shadow Internet

Written late in the afternoon in English • Tags:

Slashdot had a pointer to a very interesting article on Wired about the pirate distribution networks. It included a quote which reflects how I and many of my friends have felt about MP3’s for quite some time: they are the modern version of cassette tapes used for evaluating music, and eventually leading to album sales.

In fact, [Bruce] Forest believes the scene will eventually go legit, and he’s even started a company, called Jun Group, that uses the topsites to promote movies, musicians, and TV shows. “The topsites don’t care where their files come from, as long as no one else has them,” he says. Last summer Jun Group dropped a collection of live videos and MP3s from Steve Winwood on the topsites. “We got 2.9 million downloads,” says Forest, “and album sales took off.”

Source: The Shadow Internet by Jeff Howe, Wired, Issue 13.01, January 2005

The 30 second samples offered by online CD resellers are a very useful feature, but their quality does not compare to the real album. For me the recommendations of friends lending their purchases for some quality listening in my own home are the number one reason for getting into the music of an artist new to me. Imagine if you could just visit the artist’s website to listen to a “best of” collection or other samples.