Monday, May 15, 2006


As a recent convert to digital music (digital in the sense of storing it on the computer or streaming it across a network connection) you'll understand that I didn't take a lot of notice of Napster back in the day. Didn't much notice Kazaa either unless you count the hours wasted ridding the kids computer of the viruses and spyware that seemed to accompany that software.

iMesh was no better and you'll understand that living in the land of the RIAA and infringement notices sent to grannies who've never owned computers I have considerable incentive in discouraging the kids from downloading pirated music. We both know who they're going to target if they decide to target our IP address don't we!

Want to know one thing that really annoys me about Windows Media Player? They call a 'track' a 'song'. You have no idea how silly it is to see WMP refer to the fourth movement of Mahlers 6th symphony as a 'song'. I'm not sure I know what word I'd have used but it surely wouldn't have been 'song'.

So lately Napster have changed their site a trifle; we can listen to 2 million 'tracks' 5 times each for free. For a trifle under ten bucks a month (though who knows what they'll add as tax) one can get unlimited listening in non stored form and for a further 5 bucks a month you get the option to store to portable devices. I'm still waiting for MY portable device! :-)

Sounds good so I gave it a try. Without considering the question of breadth of coverage I checked first for what would be 'popular'. Of course my idea of popular isn't really. But Pink Floyd should be a safe choice as indeed it proved to be. Gave it a listen for tracks that I'm very very familiar with. Sounded good.

No Beatles but then again no one has Beatles; they haven't yet allowed internet usage of their catalogue. Reaching back into ancient memories of the 60's I tried 'The Small Faces'. Yup, but they don't have Itchykoo Park? You're kidding right?

Whenever Andrew does the 'you're kidding right' thang I say, yep, we're testing your credulity. He still doesn't understand that comment but it'll come with time!

Tried Richard Harris[^] next. They have his 1968 album 'A Tramp Shining' which does include the magnificent 'MacArthur Park'. I don't much care if he'll never have the recipe again; he needed it only the once to record such a wonderful song!

But these are albums I have and on the PC no less. How about the stuff I once had on vinyl? I tried a search for Scriabin[^]; Prometheus, the Poem of Fire. Yup, they had it but it sounded like a mono recording of the premiere performance from 1910. Somehow I could never get it to play more than about 3 minutes before something interrupted the music. This on a 5 Mbits/S downward connection!

So whilst I think Napster at ten bucks or so a month could be a good idea I'm not yet prepared to shell out; heck, I have more than enough music to last a lifetime and their classical music side has to sound a whole lot better and be more reliable before I'll become a subscriber!

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