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Kazaa to Go Legit July 27, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.

Big deal. It’s not about “file-sharing,” or “peer to peer.” It’s about free music. The illegal networks have already moved offshore.

The release. The news. Colleague Mark Mulligan obsesses analyzes here. (The labels invested in Pressplay and MusicNet, too; look how well that worked out for them.)

It won’t be easy to turn a file-sharing network into a viable business. The competition is brutal and file-sharing networks’ assets really boil down to their user base (at least 14 million in the US across the various services) and their catalog. There are possibly as many as 25 million songs on those networks, as compared with the 3 million cleared digitally, and 4 to 5 million on CDs available from online retail.

Converting the free users will be tough. So will making a business out of the catalog. In theory, songs that the rights holders want to be shared for free could be made available, along with unclaimed songs labels and publishers can track down with a network’s help.

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