As an alternative to illegal downloads, UM recently teamed up with Napster to provide students access to Napster’s music downloading services free of charge for the 2004-2005 school year. Instead of paying a $9.95 monthly fee, the school will be footing the bill at a reduced rate provided by Napster for all full-time undergraduate students.
“It’s kind of like an ‘all you can eat’ access to music without having to worry about it being illegal, or downloading viruses or incomplete songs,” said John Fogarty, associate business director at Napster.
After hearing about the launch of the program at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Rochester last winter, Student Government [SG] made obtaining Napster one of their goals and presented the idea to the school. Polls conducted by The Hurricane, as well as the positive reviews of students at UPenn collected by SG, all lead to the University’s support of Napster on campus.
“I like the idea of getting music without paying for it, so I’ll definitely be using it,” said Kellie Jackson, sophomore, after receiving one of the many Napster flyers and demonstrations at CaneFest.
All students need in order to register for Napster is their UM ID number-so it’s available to both commuter students and those living on-campus. Student benefits are the same as those offered to any other consumer, including access to over 750,000 tracks, members’ playlists, commercial-free radio stations, an online magazine and downloads to up to three PCs.
“Downloading music is something we’ve always been used to, and with the current situation of illegal downloading, copyright and piracy issues, this is a great alternative,” Vance Aloupis, student body president, said.
However, students who used Napster back when it was free will notice a few changes in the service. Downloading music to PC hard drives is still free, but in order to burn the songs to a CD, there’s a 99 cent charge per track, which is not included in the subscription fee covered by the school. Burning an entire album starts at $9.99.
One thing that hasn’t changed though, is that Napster is still unavailable to Macintosh users.
“In order for Napster and other legal music services to be compatible with Macs, we need to license technology from them that hasn’t been made available yet,” Fogarty said. “You can use Napster on a Mac using virtual PC, but it will not work to the same extent.”
Other schools that will be providing Napster to their students this year include Cornell University, George Washington University, Middlebury College, the University of Southern California, and Wright State University.
“UM is really taking a jump forward with this program,” Aloupis said. “Only seven or eight schools have it so far, so we’re one of the first to be doing this.”
For more information on Napster at UM, go to www.miami.edu/napster.
Natalia Maldonado can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org