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SnoCap Signs Warner Music
November 14, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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As much a the four big music labels may wish to simply ignore P2P networks and hope they go away, they simply can't. With P2P activity at an all time high, record labels are realizing the market that thrives beneath this activity, and are anxious to tap into this potential.

Taking advantage of this potential is another matter. P2P and file-sharing networks are akin to a modern day wild west, with little in the way of a governing body to regulate activity. This had lead to an explosion of bandwidth activity that CacheLogic estimates may consume up to 80% of some ISPs traffic.

To counter this unregulated activity, networks have been built on top of existing networks to trade licensed material. Altnet is a prime example of this. Constructed to "piggy back" FastTrack, Altnet provides Kazaa users the choice to buy licensed material. The theory is, content owners would distribute their work via Altnet with the hope that Kazaa users will opt to purchase licensed material.

The success and future of this project can be best described as limited. Altnet, which is owned by Brilliant Digital Entertainment, is also finding itself in equally hot water as Sharman Networks. In September 2005, Judge Murray Wilcox lumped Altnet together with Sharman Networks in his disfavorable ruling. Judge Wilcox found Altnet "authorized users to infringe the applicants’ copyright" because: the relationship with Sharman was considered a 'joint enterprise', and, Altnet helped design Sharman's infringement-encouraging website.

While Alnet's situation is currently marred with litigation, SnoCap has been considerably more successful.

In many ways, SnoCap is virtually identical to Altnet. Both provide license holders a method for distributing files and both provide payment architectures.

However in terms of flexibility, SnoCap shows its advantage. Alnet is currently limited to FastTrack, while SnoCap can be applied to any P2P network (which also avoids guilt by association.) Also, SnoCap is not a P2P network like Altnet. It utilizes existing P2P networks for content holders to distribute their work, which alleviates the dependence on a single network.

By avoiding the instability associated with FastTrack, or any troubled network, SnoCap has quickly amassed a large following of independent and RIAA member music labels. Today, SnoCap announced the addition of Warner Music Group to its growing customer list.

"With WMG as an ally, our vision for expanding the digital music marketplace just got one giant step closer to reality," said Shawn Fanning, SNOCAP's Founder. "With the music of all four majors and our ongoing effort to add indies and individual artists, we can turn our full attention on helping new services reach consumers with the depth and breadth of content that they don't have legitimate access to now."

The most likely avenues for content holders to distribute their work will be industry-approved applications such as iMesh and MashBoxx. One of the major problems with pay P2P was the lack content. With all four major labels on board, this situation may be resolved at least for mainstream customers. Now the major challenge is actually getting people to pay as iTunes and other similar services are reporting stagnant download purchases.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Authorized Music Store :: Other

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