The Napster Halt

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You have a few more hours to get free songs on Napster, music fans. This week a federal judge agreed with the record industry’s lawsuit and ordered the controversial online music service to shut down its servers by midnight tonight.

The labels are declaring victory, but they must also wonder if the future belongs to more-or-less anonymous “peer-to-peer” computing from Napster successors like Gnutella and Freenet. “Information wants to be free,” the cyber libertarians like to say.

The labels were caught unprepared for the MP3 revolution, may indeed be fighting a losing battle for the control of the uncontrollable. Maybe they should have just bought Napster, instead of putting it out of business. The free music cat’s out of the bag, and the artists, who still want to get paid but hate the old label system, are left holding it.

We’re measuring the Napster decision’s effect on the music biz, the net, and your intellectual property… Napster unplugged.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Ric Dube, analyst at, an internet entertainment research company

recording artist Aimee Mann.