Sunday, March 27, 2005

People still stealing music - just doing it offline now

From CNET: Use of peer-swapping music networks on the web is down, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. But, swapping music from iPod to iPod, or from iPod to outside computer, is way up. I'm just waiting for the following to become the hot new trend on college campuses (and it will, believe me): Mac Minis turned into roving "music pirate ships." The concept is real simple - turn a Mac Mini into one big port and hard drive for iTunes, along with a small screen and mouse, as well as the third-party software that lets you override Apple's anti-piracy tags on their MP3s. Bring it with you to a party, and instruct partygoers to bring their loaded-up iPods as well. At the beginning of the party, each person takes turn plugging their iPod into the Mini and uploading the contents of their player. When that's done, the Mini owner sorts it all in iTunes; then everyone takes turns plugging up again, and picking what new music off the master list they want uploaded back to their device.

For $200 apiece, four or five guys could put such a setup together, along with a kick-ass high-end storage device - and then take it to every party they go to, cumulatively amassing an overwhelming amount of music, distributing it to hundreds (and thousands if you count the second wave of trading among the partygoers), all offline so that neither the RIAA nor their campus gets even a whiff of it. Like I said, this is coming, sooner rather than later; those undergraduates are a smart bunch, and love nothing more than pissing off The Establishment.