UW Strikes Deal with Dell and Napster

Apparently according to The Daily of the University of Washington of Seattle, the University has struck a deal with Dell and Napster to “makes it [UW] the first university to offer a free, legal music downloading service in coordination with a hardware provider.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a novel idea and all, but where’s competition fit into this? The fact that they’re branding it and saying, “All must use this service, we provide it to you so that you can be legal and so that we can’t get our butts sued off because you’re using our networks illegally” seems pretty lame to me.

Am I advocating stealing music? By no means. I use iTunes just like anyone else and buy my music in a legal manner. Sure, being a college student is hard and money typically has to be stretched further (a good test for post-graduate life where you actually are having to pay for your own things), but by having something like this with Napster, you are basically a) trying to get them addicted to the service so that when they graduate they want to buy the service (or feel the urge to) and b) influence them in their selection of computers (buy Dell I tell you, buy Dell) 😉 and c) their selection of MP3 players (sorry kids, Napster and iPods don’t mix).

Bottom line — what’s up UW? Why are you doing this? How many kick backs are you getting besides the free hardware? What happens when you show up with a Powerbook to your graphics art design course or an iPaq is tucked away in your briefcase that has your scheduler in it?

[Listening to: Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day – Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Single (4:22)]

2 thoughts on “UW Strikes Deal with Dell and Napster

  1. That’s kind of like the issue we had at my school trying to decide which kind of pop to put in the pop machines – Coke or Pepsi. Coke ended up paying enough money to not only have Coke machines everywhere, but to also be able to put up Coke ads on campus.

    You could still drink Pepsi if you wanted to. I think it’ll be the same at UW – they have an exclusive deal with Dell/Napster (and everyone ends up paying for it through tuition/fees) so if you want to pay extra for iTunes or a Powerbook, that’s fine, your tuition money is just being wasted.

    What I’m wondering, is are you still charged to burn your Napster tracks to CD? As soon as you leave college, you’ll no doubt lose your subscription and all the music that came with. That sounds pretty crappy to me. I like to actually own my music.

    It’s also interesting (I read another press release, the linked article was down) that they’re touting it as a way to beat viruses, saying that illegally downloading music makes you more prone to getting viruses. How many trojans have you found within MP3 files? Is that how they justified the cost of the subscriptions – that it would ofset the cost of support? Won’t the sudden availability of free, all-you-can-download legal music kill the University’s bandwidth? Or will they have a local Napster mirror/cached proxy?

    Too many questions!

  2. Reading through the article, the feeling that I got was that the service was being provided free to UW, but UW basically just had to let Dell have their way with them. Kind of like a submission thing. So does that mean perhaps that Dell will insert sniffers into their network to search out malicious downloaders? Maybe. Probably not the best publicity for Dell when they turn a group of students in eh? “Dude, you’re gettin a cell.” Yeah that sounds really fun.

    As for the amount of bandwidth, my hope is that Napster and Dell would put together a dedicated circuit that would then be connected to a SAN that would replicate the main Napster servers thereby allowing for quicker downloads and also for less external / longhaul network needs, rather just an occassional push from the mothership to the campus SAN which then would be accessible.

    Your comment pertaining to losing your music collection — that is correct. My cousin in fact had to deal with that. She purchased I want to say the Black Eyed Peas newest album which had a few free tracks but you could only access them through Napster — something that she didn’t find to be that cool.

    And with regard to Coke vs. Pepsi, there was the same battle at UVA while I was there and I’m not quite sure how it ended up because it depended on what portion of the Grounds that you were on as to what was available (I want to say that Coke won the battle though).

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