Music services: Kazaa vs. the paid services

Paid music services are multiplying like rabbits. There’s y! music, napster to go, rhapsody, Apple iTunes, etc. Wireless carriers are also joining in the game.

Question is, how do they compare with Kazaa and similar P2P services?

Pros for Kazaa

  • Free
  • Widest selection
    • Availability of music is not limited by composer, performer, and record label restrictions. e.g. The copyright holder of the Beatles catalog still refuses to make their songs available on legal services, but the songs ARE available on Kazaa for free. Funny how the world works.
    • Bootlegs and rarities
    • Pre-release CDs. This is huge; often times, a CD’s tracks become available a month before the official release. One artist did a free concert at his CD release party; he noticed that most of the fans already knew all the words to his songs!
  • Users can do whatever they want with the music. They can put the songs on any PC or portable music player or car MP3 player. Music is fully owned.

Cons for Kazaa

  • Searching for music is still cumbersome.
    • You often get a ton of duplicates.
    • The RIAA has contracted with several companies to flood the P2P networks with fake MP3s. When these are downloaded, you often hear part of the song and then noise or silence.
    • If you want a full album, you have to figure out the individual tracks & get them.
    • Even though Kazaa generally has a wider selection, from time to time it’s hard to find a particular track on Kazaa that’s readily available on a paid service.
  • Downloading is usually faster from a paid service.
  • No way to compensate the artists. Though you can try to buy the T-shirts & go to the concerts.

2 thoughts on “Music services: Kazaa vs. the paid services

  1. Tony Beeman

    I actually stopped buying music, for the most part, because:a) I don’t really want to obtain illegal crappy copies of musicb) I don’t want to pay for music that I can’t transfer on to new devices for the next ten years.c) I don’t want to pay for CDs.Now I mostly listen to the radio or older music *shrug*. Reason (b) is mostly psychological, but it’s enough of a barrier to entry that I gave up. I’ll buy music when DRM is painless enough to pretty much be transparent.

  2. Ray

    Interesting. Yep, I face the same problem. Kazaa is illegal & most artists aren’t getting compensated properly (that said, a minority are getting compensated better because some customers download music that they wouldn’t have paid for, but then they like the music & go to the concert + buy a t-shirt). DRM’d music doesn’t work on my Archos player. Paying for CDs means buying physical media that’s basically useless once you rip the CD.But I can’t just listen to the radio.


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