Cornell University’s Mac users ‘uniformly unhappy’ with Napster

“Cornell students have developed a love-hate relationship with the Napster online music service: A lot of them love it, and a few hate it. Whether the Napster service is continued is very much up in the air, with several other services being considered. But in the meantime, it seems to be saving bandwidth,” Bill Steele writes for The Cornell Chronicle.

“Since early fall, students have had free use of the Napster service. A campus-wide site license, mostly paid for by an anonymous corporate donor, provides students with streaming and downloading access to the company’s library of more than a million songs for the school year that began in September 2004, along with access to interactive, commercial-free radio stations, six decades of Billboard’s chart information and an online magazine,” Steele writes.

MacDailyNews Take: “Mostly paid for by an anonymous corporate donor?” Any guesses?

Steele continues, “The free trial is available only to students, not faculty or staff. As of Dec. 13, 100 days after the start of the service, Cornell Information Technologies (CIT) reported that 8,955 students, or about 60 percent of the eligible student population, had signed up. New registrations continue at the rate of about 13 a day. Over 5.9 million tracks have been played, stored and streamed to date, averaging 5.6 tracks per student per day.”

“Napster uses Microsoft’s digital rights management system, which causes the music files to ‘expire’ when the user ceases to subscribe to the service. To retain a track permanently or burn it on a CD the user must pay the usual 99 cents per track. Napster is available only to computers running the Microsoft Windows XP and 2000 operating systems, and is compatible with about 60 brands of portable digital players that use the Microsoft system. That does not include the popular iPod,” Steele reports. “While many students have said they are very pleased with the system, Dean of Students Kent Hubbell says that in his experience, Mac users are ‘uniformly unhappy.’ He said that whatever system is adopted should be available to all members of the campus community. Also, he said, there are a few students who dislike on principle the idea that access to the music is temporary, expiring at the end of the program.”

Steele reports, “Cornell has been approached by several other vendors, according to Robert J. Bourdeau, assistant director of marketing for CIT. ‘At this time we’re still wide open,’ he said. The university had approached Apple Computer about finding some arrangement to use its iTunes service, but Apple so far has no special program for universities.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “Apple so far has no special program for universities?” Well then, what’s this? Oh yeah, it’s an article we posted on April 28, 2004 entitled, “Apple launches ‘iTunes on Campus’ institutional site license program.” Sounds like a disconnect going on somewhere here. If the university approached Apple, do you think Apple just plain forgot to tell them about the “iTunes on Campus” program? Who’s playing dumb, Apple or Cornell? Links for your enjoyment, which we found quite easily online with three mouse clicks:

Some highlights:
Q: What is the iTunes on Campus program?
A: The iTunes on Campus program helps universities provide students with a way to download music from the Internet, legally. Universities can license the iTunes application from Apple for free and allow students to download the iTunes application directly from the campus network. In addition, universities can purchase songs for their students at volume discounts and provide each student with say, 5 or 10 free songs. Schools can also earn money by sending traffic to iTunes and earning a commission on every sale by participating in the iTunes Affiliates Program.

Q: What is iTunes?
A: iTunes is Apple’s digital music jukebox application with the #1 music download store inside.

Q: What are the benefits to my university?
A: Many higher education institutions are searching for ways to reduce their liability associated with music piracy on campus. The iTunes on Campus site license provides concerned universities with an easy and no cost way to encourage students to use legal music services. In addition, schools can earn money by sending traffic to iTunes and earning a commission on every sale through the iTunes Affiliates Program.

Q: Why is iTunes a good option for students?
A: With iTunes on Campus, you can offer your students the most full-featured digital music jukebox with the market-leading iTunes Music Store inside. iTunes features Apple’s legendary ease of use for both Mac and PC users and provides the most integrated and flexible digital music experience available.

So, how ’bout we cut the crap and demand to know what exactly is going on at Cornell University and why they are denying their many iPod-using students the best online music option, Apple’s iTunes Music Store, and excluding their many Apple Macintosh-using students from having any access at all?

Robert J. Bourdeau, assistant director of marketing:
Kent Hubbell, Dean of Students:

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Cornell University wrestles with Napster’s exclusion of Mac and iPod-using students – September 08, 2004
Why are Cornell’s Mac students being forced to pay for useless Napster? – September 07, 2004


  1. I still don’t see the attraction of music subscription services. Pay ten bucks a month for music I can’t take with me? Why? If I want free music I have any number of Internet radio stations available in iTunes anyway.

  2. the only problem i see with itunes on campus program is that there is no difference between that and just downloading it from except for apple getting free publicity. not that that’s a bad thing… i bet that if apple adopted a subscription model even if it’s just for universities they would gain much ground in that arena.

  3. that’s not a problem. that’s how it works. there is intentionally no difference whatsoever! (but remember, some have negotiated discounts before by buying in bulk or distributing iTunes – just like buying iTunes songs from all the subscribed affiliates like MDN!)

    NO, no subscription model please. if all your music expires when you unsubscribe, there is no platform loyalty and that’s bad for Apple as a company. that’s exactly why Apple has not budged from the purchase model. I think it makes more sense as a business and a consumer. Otherwise, I’ll just listen to radio. I need an incentive to pay for music – I want to own that copy.

  4. Me: there seems to be some difference, depending on the negotiated contract

    ” In addition, universities can purchase songs for their students at volume discounts and provide each student with say, 5 or 10 free songs. Schools can also earn money by sending traffic to iTunes and earning a commission on every sale by participating in the iTunes Affiliates Program.”

    I don’t like subscription, either, but why is it bad to have it available as a service for those who do?

  5. I mean, really, how do they prevent these students from “audio hijacking” hundreds of thousands of songs? At least on the Mac, this would be very easy to do. I assume there is an equivalent program on Windows.

  6. I get MDN’s clever allusion there. Obviously they’re implying that the “anonymous corporate donor” is famous Cornell alumnus and medical hero Dr. Henry Heimlich. Uh, because… well… Cornell is choking on Napster. Or something.

  7. I would love to see a real poll taken of Cornell students and see what the satisfaction rate is with Napster. Methinks it is probably more than Mac Users who are unhappy with the service.

  8. “If the university approached Apple, do you think Apple just plain forgot to tell them about the “iTunes on Campus” program? Who’s playing dumb, Apple or Cornell?”

    So you refuse to consider the possibility that Apple’s own sales reps could be misinformed? Depending on which Apple Store Genius or telephone sales rep you talk to, you either will or will not void your warranty if you open up your Mac and install memory yourself. Apple even had to establish guidelines regarding third party RAM and repair service:

    So why don’t we find out exactly what was said by each party (Apple and Cornell) before you start with the “Apple can do no wrong” attitude?


    First you give iRiver Free Advertising on your site and now your going to have legions of TROLLS emailing the university.

    Why don’t YOU send a nice eMail explaining your position and showing the link to Apple’s University program.

    Also explain that with renting music like Napster does, that university students are clever and have been making their own copies of music regardless of the copy protection.

    So actually with the Napster system the University has been contributing to the theft problem, making it wide spread on campus.

    The best way is to get kids to buy the music they want right away, not rent.

  10. In slightly related news today, the record industry’s international trade association (IFPI – released its annual report for 2004.

    It appears that, during 2004, over 200 million tracks were legally downloaded in Europe and the USA.

    Now we know that Apple’s iTMS started 2004 on around 30 million tracks, and we also know that Apple left 2004 on around 218 million.

    So, it’s entirely feasible that Apple shipped around 188 million tracks out of a global market for 2004 of around 249 million (otherwise, they’d be saying 250 million).

    For those who like percentages, but lack either the time, inclination or skills to work them out, that’s 75% of the market.

    It must be nice being one of the other 229 services available globally fighting over the other 25%; obviously, Germany’s Musicload has its act vaguely together – it shipped a whole one million tracks in December 2004 to be market leader in that country, which must at least make David Hasselhof a happy man.

    In any case, 61 million tracks divided by 229 (or even 261 million tracks divided by 229) does not make for very happy shareholder meetings if that’s your main line of business.

    Amongst my favourite quotes from John Kennedy (CEO & Chairman, IFPI) is [I]”Online music today offers unbelievable value for the consumer: for 99 cents in Europe…you can download a piece of music that will stay with you for life”[/I].

    Of course, staying “with you for life” is not really a likelihood if you decide to “rent” your music from Napster or whatever member of the Microsoft cult you happen to frequent, but it’s interesting that Kennedy chose to phrase his comments in that way.

  11. By the way, you can download the whole report from at the bottom of the page. I read through it; there are glowing quotes from Napster, MSN Music, and Real, but none from Apple (even though Eddy Cue, Apple VP, has given many quotable quotes at various events).

    The writing isn’t really biased and the Apple numbers are exactly as reported by Apple, but the report does try to keep Apple in the same league with everyone else.

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