College students spurn ‘free’ music from iPod-incompatible iTunes Store also-rans

“To discourage illegal file-sharing and reduce the network clutter that often accompanies it, many colleges and universities have entered into contracts with legal music downloading services such as Napster, Ruckus, and Cdigix in the past few years. But early results of these partnerships suggest that many students aren’t taking advantage of the services, mostly because of the constraints these services place on students’ use of digital music,” eSchool News reports.

“To stop students from pirating music, more than 120 colleges and universities have tried providing free or subsidized access to the legal subscription services over campus networks in the past few years. About 7 percent of all four-year schools and 31 percent of private research universities provided one of the legal downloading services, according to a 2005 survey of 500 schools by the Campus Computing Project, a nonprofit that studies how colleges use information technology,” eSchool News reports.

“Purdue University officials say lower-than-expected demand among its students stems in part from all the frustrating restrictions that accompany legal downloading. Students at the West Lafayette, Ind., school can play songs free on their laptops but have to pay to burn songs onto CDs or load them onto a digital music device,” eSchool News reports. “There’s also the problem of compatibility: The services won’t run on Apple computers, which are owned by 19 percent of college students, according to a 2006 survey of 1,200 students by the research group Student Monitor. In addition, the files won’t play on Apple iPods, which are owned by 42 percent of college students, according to the same survey.”

eSchool News reports, “Both Cornell and Purdue will no longer offer their students free music this year. An anonymous donor had paid for Cornell to offer Napster for two years, but the student government passed on a chance to keep the service by charging students a fee.”

MacDailyNews Take: Why would the “anonymous donor” keep paying for Napster when he’s about to try to push “Zune” down ignorant schools’ throats next?

eSchool News continues, “Colleges started offering the services in part because they were concerned that the recording industry might try to hold them liable for their students’ copyright violations. So far, no schools have been sued by the recording industry. Universities also have another reason for reducing illegal downloading: The large amount of bandwidth used by movie and music downloads chokes their computer networks. The subscription services complement university filtering programs that can identify users who are misusing school networks.”

eSchool News reports, “Some schools that don’t offer free downloads dismiss the subscription services as too costly for the results they achieve, especially because so many students now buy music from Apple’s iTunes Music Store. ‘We were not in a position to offer an alternative to iTunes,’says Lev Gonick, the chief information officer at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. ‘The alternatives looked like they had more sizzle than steak.’ … ‘There isn’t that much we can do,’ acknowledges Aileen Atkins, Napster’s senior vice president for business affairs and general counsel. ‘If [students] have an iPod, they’re going to buy it on iTunes. It’s a fact of life.'”

Full article here.
Buh-bye Napster et al.

Note to colleges and universities: Apple’s iTunes U is the smart choice that doesn’t exclude broad swaths of your student body.

Related articles:
Free, legal and ignored: Mac- and iPod-incompatible beleaguered Napster dying at colleges – July 06, 2006
Survey: Apple iPod bigger than beer among college students – June 08, 2006
NCCU becomes first Apple ‘iTunes U’ school in North Carolina state system – June 06, 2006
Ohio University chooses Apple’s iTunes U for students and faculty – May 11, 2006
University of California puts video lectures on Apple’s ‘iTunes U’ – April 25, 2006
University of Pennsylvania excludes Mac users with Windows-only music service – March 21, 2006
Apple and Stanford University open ‘Stanford on iTunes’ to the public – January 25, 2006
Apple expands free, hosted ‘iTunes U’ service for colleges and universities – January 24, 2006
Cornell Student Assembly to vote on funding Mac- and iPod-incompatible Napster for another year – November 01, 2005
Why are Brown University’s Mac students being forced to pay for useless Napster? – September 06, 2005
College students refuse to buy a single song from Napster – July 10, 2005
Colleges should not exclude Mac and iPod users with Dell, Napster music hardware, software offering – July 06, 2005
Colleges offering students music services that aren’t cross-platform, don’t work with iPod – March 22, 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
Florida State University to sign deal with Apple for iTunes software – August 27, 2004


  1. ©,

    As MDN wrote here:

    Regarding any and all existing and/or potential cracks of Apple’s FairPlay DRM: Apple doesn’t offer a subscription service. Therefore, unlike with the FairUse4WM crack of Windows Media DRM, the threat of people stealing all of the music they can in a month for just $14.99 or during a free trial period is nonexistent for Apple. Besides, you can already do the exact same thing as FairPlay cracks do today legally by burning a CD from iTunes.

  2. The services won’t run on Apple computers, which are owned by 19 percent of college students

    But, but… I thought the Mac had only a 3% market share? How can this be?! (head explodes)

    How long will it be before service-providers finally realize they HAVE to support the Mac?

  3. @Bob – Points well taken. In all reality, it’s *more* arduous to use some kind of stripping software when you can easily burn a CD and then re-rip if desired. Not that I support pirating music, because I don’t.

  4. Apple recently announced they’ve sold over 1.5 billion iTunesMS songs.

    Of that number how many do you think are owned by people that even *know* about FairPlay DRM stripping program, let alone would bother to download it and use it?

    Let’s be real here, Apple has made a large number of customers happy by having relatively liberal DRM policies that allow people to listen to music nearly everywhere they go, and when they introduce iTV there will be nothing left untouched by iTunes.

    Since Apple does not allow unlimited free downloads for a fee, stripping DRM is meaningless.

  5. This is the thing, admittedly there is not a lot these companies can do about getting their music on iPods but if they wanted to they could get it on Macs. Ultimately since they’re incapable of doing it on their own they’ve had to adopt Microsoft’s windows only DRM and music formats. And they’re shit.

  6. “Ignorant moron college administrators!”

    “How long will it be before service-providers finally realize they HAVE to support the Mac?”

    I think this situation reflects the usual IT bigotry toward anything from Apple Computer. And college administrators rely on the advice of their IT as much as business executives do.

    MW: away. Away with this nonsense!

  7. “Why would the ‘anonymous donor’ keep paying for Napster when he’s about to try to push ‘Zune’ down ignorant schools’ throats next?”

    This is a excellent take, MDN. This is why it’s so fun to hate Microsoft — in their case, conspiracy theories are probably true.

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