Cornell Student Assembly to vote on funding Mac- and iPod-incompatible Napster for another year

“The Napster campus representatives held Napster Night yesterday evening in the Carl E. Becker House dining hall. The event was designed to promote Napster to Cornell students as the Student Assembly will need to vote on whether to fund the program again next year as part of the student activities fee,” Alex Lebowitz reports for The Cornell Sun. “Students were inundated with free Napster t-shirts, stickers, ringtones, water bottles and hats while songs by musicians from Smash Mouth to Outkast blasted throughout the eatery. Volunteers also had the opportunity to play disc jockey under the guidance of DJ Absolute, an alias for Dia Beshara ’06, one of the Napster campus representatives.”

Lebowitz reports, “The main problem facing the Napster program at Cornell is not the cost as much as how many students will actually use the program. On the surface, 60 dollars a year for unlimited music downloads is unmatched by any other program. For example, using iTunes, Apple Computer’s music download program, a customer would only be able to download 60 songs in a year to match the price of Napster. But Napster’s music can only be played on certain mp3 players. Apple does not allow Napster’s music to be played on iPods because Napster is a direct competitor of iTunes. This presents a problem for the Napster program because, according to a recent study by the NPD group released on the CNET website, iPods account for 92.1 percent of all mp3 players on the market. Cornell students with iPods would be able to listen to Napster songs on their computers, but could not transfer the Napster songs from the computer to the iPod.”

Full article here.

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You know, Cornell’s a great school. You think they’d have figured out by now that since Mac users are better educated and make more money, they’re very likely to be attending Cornell. Hello, Cornell? Napster doesn’t even work on Macs. And since probably 9 out of 10 Cornell students that own a portable music player, own an Apple iPod, why wouldn’t Cornell use an iPod-compatible service? For how long are you going to exclude Mac users, who must make up a significant percentage of your students, Cornell? And what happens when Napster closes up shop, Cornell? Who’s getting paid what and how much are they getting?

What’s next for Cornell? Signing with a food service outfit that only serves dog? As Napster works for your twelve students with a player from the now-defunct Rio, your new food service will appeal to a select few (although probably to a larger number of students than does Napster).

From Cornell’s music FAQ page: The Student Assembly recognizes that Napster isn’t a solution for students who don’t use Windows 2000 or XP (although it will work with Macintosh if Virtual PC for Mac is installed). So the Student Assembly, with help from the Dean of Students and OIT/CIT, is continuing to evaluate other online music services. Cornell students have said they want to download and stream full-length songs, without having to buy every song. Napster is one service that does that; if you know of others that work with more operating systems, please suggest them via the feedback form:

We sent them this:
You state that Cornell students have said they want to download and stream full-length songs, without having to buy every song. Which and how many Cornell students said that exactly? Certainly not your Mac and iPod-using students whom you’ve excluded completely or told to buy a $250 Microsoft Virtual PC program, so they can listen to “free” music? You want to cover your asses legally and include virtually all of your students this year? Apple iTunes on Campus. Give your students easy access to iTunes–the best digital jukebox for Windows and Mac and iPod users. If students want to listen to free streams without buying, they can listen to the Radio stations included in iTunes.

Obviously, Mac users and iPod users are using iTunes at Cornell. The point is that Cornell should not be excluding students and paying for a service that can’t serve a large number of Cornell’s students. To choose a service that is incompatible with Mac and iPod is just plain stupid.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Napster’s dirty little secret: changing subscription services into downloads is easy – February 18, 2005
Cornell University’s Mac users ‘uniformly unhappy’ with Napster – January 19, 2005
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
Napster schools to Mac-using students: bend over and take it – September 04, 2004


  1. so, what’t the big deal? iTunes is free; it has nothing to do with whatever “other service” one uses on his computer. if the precious little darlings can afford their iPods and Macintoshes, the whole idea of which music download service to use is moot. use iTunes, for crying out loud. fat boy’s wannabe “service” evaporates once the fee stops being paid. no amount of free crap can hide that simple fact. i have 9700 tracks on my iPod; they will never vanish, i have no monthly extortion to pay to keep them. get real, get iTunes. (great pun, no?)

  2. Free streams?

    Edit –> Preferences –> Sharing –> Look for shared music, share my music…….

    Free streams!
    On a college campus network? Wow – that would be a pretty impressive collection of free music. Of course, you could listen to it for free, but you couldn’t transfer it to an ipod or burn it to a cd without buying it………..

  3. It seems that this problem is not caused by napster but by apple. It’s apple who doesn’t allow you to use napsters mp3 on an ipod. That’s stupid. If i buy an mp3 player, i want to be able to choose where i buy my music. Apple is screwing their customers here.

  4. And what does $60 get from Napster. Songs that will go away the minute they leave college. At least with iTunes you buy once and keep your songs for life and you can play it on your iPod. It is not Apples fault they have the better software and hardware.

  5. Suggesting people llisten to free internet streaming in iTunes as a replacement for being able to stream any Napster song is just rediculous. Absolutly that is the dumbest thing I have ever seen written on an MDN page. If they want to stream the music, and not have to pay, thats fine, if they’re content not owning their music, whatever, it’s up to them. iTunes does not offer such features, and Napster is willing to because it will get them a ton of cash, and maybe some PR. If they’re streaming for free, then they’re not downloading and putting the music on DAP’s anyways. True iPod users get screwed in that environment, but if you use iTunes to buy your music anyways (a good percentage of iPod owners do), whos to say you have to buy it from your school’s deal with iTMS? They can still buy music on they’re own, just it will cost the normal price – no edu discount or free downloads.

    Anyways, comparing internet radio to free unlimited streaming of an entire music store worth of music is just rediculous. Most internet radio stations (the free ones in iTunes anyways) can’t play major music anyways, which is why there’s no or very few pop stations in the iTunes radio directory, they don’t have the rights to play the music that’s on FM radio. Besides, the whole point of a music store, music player, and/or music streaming is so that you DON’T have to listen to some lousey radio station, with their ads and crap, you just get the music. Now it’s true most internet radio stations that run music have very little commentary – if any at all, from DJ’s and such, which is good, but the user still is not selecting songs to be played for them.

    Personally, I think Cornell should demand Napster to make a Mac compatible version of their software (that DOESN’T work with iPods, remember what happened with Real trying that?) so that Mac users can atleast enjoy the streaming experience. And if Napster uses WMP10 (I’m not sure as I don’t use Napster) for it’s entire store interface, then Cornell should demand something from Microsoft, or no deal for their school, because it excludes a portion of their student body that has every right to a music store/streaming service as everyone else attending the school.

  6. Ako– Napster uses Windows Media Audio (WMA) format for the music it sells. That is why they will not work on the iPod. An mp3 file will play on the iPod. Non-Apple mp3 players cannot play music purchased on iTMS. Are all those manufacturers “screwing their customers” because they are unable to play AAC/Fairplay encoded files? By your logic every manufacturer is screwing their customers. Time to look at the big picture.

  7. Ako: I see your point certainly, it would be great if you could buy any MP3 device you wanted and access ANY music store, burn as many CD’s and copy bought for CD’s from Virgin Records. iTunes being unlike the other stores is cross platform with a Linux version coming soon.

    Napster as mentioned in MDN’s article is Windows only, so when the day comes when Napster once again hits the wall, all their current customers will lose their current music libraries and will have to re-buy without having any refunds allocated to them.

    The problem is you’re being too idealistic. In an ideal world us consumers could do all of that above and in your posting.

    Remember that any company large or small is out ot do one thing and that is to make money, Apple Computer is no exception.

    The difference with Apple is that their products do actually work and are the best that there is bar none. To me this is part of “Think Different”.

  8. If you think about the ignorance of the Cornell program for a moment, you’d ask why they don’t give each student a $60 credit to BUY music from whichever service they want to use.

    After all, the school year is only 9 MONTHS long and $60 is 60 songs. The last I heard, the average iTMS customer spends less than that in 12 MONTHS.

    I doubt seriously that even avid music lovers buy more than 5 songs per month, which tranlates to a net savings of $15 per student. If they are buying more than that, they (the students) aren’t paying attention to their studies.

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