Napster schools to Mac-using students: bend over and take it

“The war for college students’ hearts, ears and tuitions has begun, placing Cornell as a central battlefield in the fight to serve digital music and media to over 14 million increasingly tech-savvy pupils,” Michael Morisy writes for The Cornell Daily Sun. “And now, Napster has come — in a big way — to the Cornell campus to claim its share of what is shaping up to be a $270 million dollar online market next year.”

“One major complaint from… students and several technology watchdogs is that, with Napster, students using Macintosh, Linux or even older Windows machines are unable to run the software, yet they are still forced to subsidize the service. Beth Goelzer Lyons ’91, Marketing and News Analyst for Cornell Information Technology, gave the Sun estimates indicating about 20 percent of Cornell students could not run the current Napster technology,” Morisy writes. Full article here.

“The RIAA and its business front Napster signed up six more universities today to their music rental service – a program that could force parents to shell out even more money for higher education costs,” Ashlee Vance reported for The Register back in July. “Cornell University, the George Washington University, Middlebury College, University of Miami, the University of Southern California and the Wright State University (Ohio) have all pledged to have Napster up and running in the near future. The schools join Penn State University and University of Rochester as Napster subscribers. That’s a grand total of eight schools in the last nine months that have agreed to become music vendors and pay an RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) tax to avoid lawsuits against their students.” Full article here.

“Students soon will have a cheap way of downloading music without having to resort to illegal piracy. Vanderbilt teamed up with Napster this semester to introduce VUMix, a program that students may use to obtain and share music. Starting Oct. 1, all undergraduate, graduate and professional students with Windows PC operating systems will have the opportunity to subscribe to VUMix service and download full-length songs, officials said,” Jacqueline Wilde reports for The Vanderbilt Hustler.

“Senior Paige Thompson said she is excited to use VUMix. Thompson, her iPod always by her side, shares a common bond with many college students — a love for all the latest and greatest music,” Wilde reports. Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Too bad Paige won’t be able to use her iPod with Napster without first burning her Napster WMA songs to CDs and ripping them back into iTunes – a tedious and time-consuming process. As for the streaming music, Mac students are shut out, but they’re still paying for Napster. All students at these Napster schools are paying for the service, even Mac-using students who cannot use the service as Napster is PC only and requires Windows XP/2000,Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.1 or higher, and Windows Media Player 7.1 or higher.

Mac-using students at these Napster schools are getting shafted royally. They are paying to subsidize Windows students’ use of Napster. Plain and simple, Mac-using students at these Napster schools are getting ripped off, ignored, and are basically expected to bend over and take it.

Apple, for its part, on September 1, launched iTunes on Campus which is aimed at helping colleges and universities stem the tide of illegal music downloading on campus. Apple offers educational institutions a free institutional site license for the iTunes application and the ability to purchase songs for students at a discount. The iTunes on Campus program enables universities to provide students with a legal option for downloading music from the Internet and managing their digital music collection. Universities can also take advantage of the iTunes Affiliate Program to generate funds for their school. More than 55 colleges and universities have signed up for site licenses through iTunes On Campus to date. More information on the program can be found at [url=][/url] .

Apple’s iTunes runs on both Mac and Windows personal computers. Schools that adopt iTunes do not shut out large portions of the student body that use Macs. They do not force Mac-using students to pay for a service they cannot use.

Students on Napster campuses who choose to use Macs need to decide if they are willing to pay for services they cannot utilize. Are you a student in such a predicament? If so, what are you going to do about it?

Ashlee Vance for The Register recently penned an opinion piece entitled, “Apple faithful’s apathy to blame for Napsterized schools.” Vance wrote, “Apple users have this nasty habit of dishing out vicious assaults when you don’t want to hear them and staying awfully quiet when you’d like them to chirp up. No where is this pattern more evident than at the universities who have signed up for Napster’s music rental service. These schools have run right over the famous Apple faithful, and the Mac addicts seem to enjoy the process.” Full article here.

Mac-using students at these Napster schools should band together and protest being forced to pay for something in which they cannot participate. These schools may not even realize the problem, having been sold a bill of goods by Napster. Do you think Napster mentioned the fact that all Mac-using students would be left out? If Mac-using students do something and do it loud enough, the schools will be forced to listen. If they don’t, they have only themselves to blame.


  1. Keep in mind that iTunes does not run on older (pre 2000) windows versions, nor on linux. That said, it seems that Apple says nothing about administering an ‘everyone has to pay for it’ system – apple just offers a discount rate, and students (presumably) will buy songs as they need. So Apple does not force students into this type of system (Apple leaves that up to the colleges to decide). What pisses me off is that Napster actually NEGOTIATED these deals with each of the universities, playing a big part of screwing over the students.

    Maybe the RIAA should realize that the reason their products aren’t selling well is that their music are losing any perception of value. The promise of lowering CD prices, for instance, was never delivered. It pisses me off to no end that they achieve so much power, too – maybe they should waste less money on fabricating bands that ‘may or may not make it’, bands that are created solely in the interest of making money.

  2. Anyone who thinks that only 20% of their student body is using a Mac or Linux (or some old version of Windows) really needs to put down their bong. The Mac (especially the iMac, eMac, and iBook models) still has a high market-share among students, and Linux is a must-have for CS majors who intend to get more than a MSCE (i.e., all of them).

  3. I wonder how Admissions directors will feel when the parents of Mac-owning students start using their school’s Napster agreement as a reason for not considering their institution. As the parent of a high school student, I will find it hard to send our son and his iMac to a school that has a Napster or similar agreement that we’ll have to pay for even though no Mac support is offered.

  4. Subsidizing other individuals� occupations (i.e. tax breaks), nonproductive occupations (i.e. welfare), and television programs (i.e. bundled programming), as a few examples, is nothing new to the United States.

    How dare anyone criticize Napster for what they are doing? Napster is only emulating standard and long-standing business and governmental practices.

    While I do not support Libertarian ideas 100% I have to say that America�s welfare mentality has promoted the idea in too many persons� minds that subsidization is not only acceptable, but necessary.

  5. The Vanderbilt Hustler is really one of the poorest college student newspapers I have seen. This coming from a student there. We’d probably make fun of its name a bit more, but we don’t want to kick a horse while it’s down. The spelling and grammar mistakes (sometimes within front page headlines) provide plenty of fodder to go around.

  6. The thing NCrapster offered is subscriptions, this is being implemented because most college students are poor.

    So instead of stealing music, they get to rent it.

    But what the stupid RIAA doesn’t realize is, that students are smart. They will rent the music and then use sofware that hijacks the music and makes MP3’s.

    All it takes is one smart geek who needs a few extra bucks and the whole campus is back to illegal music again.

    The same with iTunes, people can download and then convert the music into Mp3.

    The only difference is the RIAA makes money with iTunes and with Napster the university has to force college students to pay.

  7. meat of+moose, that has to be the most contorted logic I have read lately. You need to spend some actual time thinking about the distinctions between forced subsidies in which there is a social policy ordinarily adopted by elected officials to promote some form of income shifting or desired policy objective [e.g., welfare, mortgage tax breaks, etc.], commercial television, which subsidizes programming freely available to anyone with a TV set, and exclusionary subsidies such as the one at issue here. It is the exclusionary nature of this subsidy, over which those excluded have neither voice nor electoral nor economic vote, that is so obnoxious. And you could stand a little comparative governmental analysis. While I agree that we already have too much of this stuff here in the U.S., we have less than many nations.

  8. and what about those who have no interest in music, regardless of platform. it seems to be assumed that everyone wants this music thing. and maybe some people are still happy with getting their stuff on cd from a music store. or listen to it on vinyl. it happens. do they have to pay the riaa music tax too? this is a rank situation – how did america ever let it go so far?

  9. Does anyone know how much money we’re talking about here? Is this something itemized into tuition or is this something like an activity fee? If this is something on the order of $5 a month for 8 months, I don’t think anyone is going to decide against enrolling in a good school because the tech folks decided to go with a platform that only supports 80% of the student body. It’s definitely not something worth protesting over. Just chalk it up to the “mac tax”. They get viruses and rental music, the mac users get to buy and own their music, but have to pay a little extra.

  10. I never use the Napster service and I don’t know anyone who does but no one is complaining because the tuition at USC is so much that its miniscule in comparison. I’d rather have had them strike a deal with iTunes, though, as I and most of the university in general are iPod users.

  11. Much as I love all things Maccy, there are a few problems here. Mac users aren’t excluded – they can run WMA on Windows Media Player (for Mac). Just as PC users can run AAC (etc.) on iTunes. Personally I wouldn’t touch WMP with a barge-pole attached to a shitty stick, but clearly my exclusion would be a matter of choice, not necessity.

    Apple is behaving like Microsoft over their Fairplay licencing, using Monopoly power to limit consumer choice. Obviously it’s unbelievably rich that Real and Microshite should criticise them for this . . . but that doesn’t invalidate the root accusation. Unless there’s some detail we’re not aware of (maybe some deal they cut with the record companies in order to get iTunes website up and running or some-such) their behaviour makes no sense. Anyone who thinks that the iPod will be dominating the market in another 12 months (certainly to the same extent) doesn’t have a clear grasp of history. Even the Walkman only had about 18-24 months as Godzilla. And clearly Apple’s supply problems are going to accelerate this process.

    Getting a lock-down on the format and DRM is where the real power lies: Apple is behaving like the kid who brought the ball to the game. Next year, the other kids will be turning up with their own balls. If Apple hasn’t got a lock-down on the *rules* (as it were) by then, they might find they only have a few people left to play with…

  12. This is computerized discrimination plain and simple. College students always like to fight for a just cause, so I expect to see University protests live on CNN in the near future.

    It’s bad enough that our educational institutions go out of their way to ignore (or coverup) the fact that not everyone is a Windows user.

    On a side note;

    CodeWeavers just announced iTunes support with their solution.

  13. Much as I love all things Maccy, there are a few problems here. Mac users aren’t excluded – they can run WMA on Windows Media Player (for Mac). Just as PC users can run AAC (etc.) on iTunes. Personally I wouldn’t touch WMP with a barge-pole attached to a shitty stick, but clearly my exclusion would be a matter of choice, not necessity.

    YES, they can run WMP, but it doesn’t support the DRM version of the WMA format. So it’s still an issue.

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