November 1, 2005

Napster Night Rocks Carl E. Becker House

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The Napster campus representatives held Napster Night yesterday evening in the Carl E. Becker House dining hall. The event was designed to promote Napster to Cornell students as the Student Assembly will need to vote on whether to fund the program again next year as part of the student activities fee.

Students were inundated with free Napster t-shirts, stickers, ringtones, water bottles and hats while songs by musicians from Smash Mouth to Outkast blasted throughout the eatery. Volunteers also had the opportunity to play disc jockey under the guidance of DJ Absolute, an alias for Dia Beshara ’06, one of the Napster campus representatives.

All Cornell students have the ability to register for Napster and choose from over 70,000 artists and over 1.5 million songs to download for free. For 5 dollars monthly, Napster To Go is offered so that students can download their Napster music onto a mp3 player.

“Last year alone 10,000 Cornell students registered for Napster,” said Joseph Rudnick ’08, the other Napster Campus Representative. “This was the most successful first year for the Napster project out of any of the universities involved.”

Rudnick’s best guess as to the price necessary to extend the Napster program would be between 6 and 8 dollars per person, but the definitive price will not be determined until the Student Assembly meetings.

The main problem facing the Napster program at Cornell is not the cost as much as how many students will actually use the program. On the surface, 60 dollars a year for unlimited music downloads is unmatched by any other program. For example, using iTunes, Apple Computer’s music download program, a customer would only be able to download 60 songs in a year to match the price of Napster.

But Napster’s music can only be played on certain mp3 players. Apple does not allow Napster’s music to be played on iPods because Napster is a direct competitor of iTunes. This presents a problem for the Napster program because, according to a recent study by the NPD group released on the CNET website, iPods account for 92.1 percent of all mp3 players on the market. Cornell students with iPods would be able to listen to Napster songs on their computers, but could not transfer the Napster songs from the computer to the iPod.

The future success of Napster does have one more important factor on its side: legality. Just last week, four students at the University of Pennsylvania were sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for illegal downloads. Since March of 2004, over 1,000 college students have been the target of litigation by the RIAA. Using Napster ensures that Cornell students will not be the targets of such legal attacks.

Any students interested in registering for the Napster program are able to through the Cornell Information Technologies website at the internet address

Archived article by Alex Lebowitz
Sun Conributor