Cornell University wrestles with Napster’s exclusion of Mac and iPod-using students

“Several issues about Napster’s long-term viability at Cornell have emerged, and these must be considered carefully before the Student Assembly decides to fund another year of the program. It’s free for now, but beyond 2005 funding would come from the student activity fee — of which an estimated $20 per student would go to the online music service,” reads The Cornell Daily Sun.

“The major problem brought up by many students is that Napster is currently incompatible with Macs, meaning that 6 to 7 percent of the Cornell population is unable to take advantage of a service that they will be forced to pay for if it is extended beyond May 2005. Perhaps even more troubling is that the most popular portable MP3 player, Apple’s iPod, also does not work with Napster. An estimated 50-70 percent of Cornell students with such players have iPods, according to Cornell Information Technologies,” reads The Cornell Daily Sun.

“It is imperative, then, that the S.A. consider all the options seriously when it comes time to decide on renewing the Napster service. S.A. president Erica Kagan ’05 has already voiced concerns about Cornell’s Mac users, which is heartening. Alternative choices do exist: Apple’s iTunes on Campus was just introduced at Duke. In any case, the debate must continue in this year of no-strings-attached access to free music. But when it comes time to pay up, let’s hope the final decision adds up,” reads The Cornell Daily Sun.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Get with the program, Cornell! Why would a first-rate university institute a second-rate service like Napster when upwards of 70% of your students “with such players” have iPods and can’t use Napster-purchased music on them without first tediously burning CDs and importing for the iPod? Where do you think the CD they just burned goes? Probably straight down the hall to another guy or gal in the dorm. So much for quelling piracy! Cornell’s students deserve Apple’s critically-acclaimed, market-leading iTunes, which works for Windows users, Mac users, and iPod users.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Several universities sign with Napster 2.0 – July 20, 2004
Napster schools to Mac-using students: bend over and take it – September 04, 2004
Why are Cornell’s Mac students being forced to pay for useless Napster? – September 07, 2004

[UPDATE: 2:50PM ET – rewrote the MDN Take as per reader feedback below.]


  1. This just amazes me. This is supposed to be an institution of higher learning. It seems to me that Cornell has not learned anything. These are supposed to be administrators with Phd’s: Public Highschool Diplomas–because they are acting like one.

  2. I frankly think that it’s *outrageous* that ANY university spends ANY student money on music. When in the history of this country has this happened before? Not talking about the music department, I’m referring to the RIAA getting shake down money from universities to force students to pay up?

    What if you don’t like mainstream music, you only like alternative music? What if you only like CDs or vinyl? What if you only like live music? Heck, what if you hate all music and only want to listen to talk radio? Or if you are deaf?

    What a load of crap! It’s behavior like this by the RIAA that makes me think that pirating music is as much a protest vote as “stealing.” Heck, artists make most of their money from live shows anyhow, since labels take most of the money (nearly all of the money) from album sales…

    I’m still hopeful that online distribution can eliminate the RIAA but so far it’s only been working to transfer this nasty corrupt organization into a new media…

  3. I want to know how much MDN earns with their iTunes link first week, first month and so on. 5% out of 123 750 000$ makes 6 187 500$ ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

    MDN should also post a link to Apple Store? There is that program also…

  4. Looks to me like Cornell’s got some PR to worry about. Someone wasn’t thinking much about their students when they cut that deal, or, Napster just flat-out lied to Cornell and said something like, “Sure, it’ll work with iPod.” Maybe those in the school administration don’t know what an iPod is. Man, even Letterman is holding a Top 10 List on the iPod.

    More women are buying iPods than men (rather, girls than guys):

    Isn’t Cornell considered one of the great financial schools; accounting, economics, etc.? Someone should give them a clue.

  5. This is always going to be a problem: Napster isn’t iPod compatible and iTunes Music Store isn’t compatible with players other than the iPod. Whatever service is chosen, it will always suck for the persons being left out.

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