Re: The Future of Music (was: Re: e-book pricing)

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Thu Jul 27 2000 - 22:39:42 MDT

Michael S. Lorrey wrote:

> Brian D Williams wrote:
> >
> > From: "Michael S. Lorrey" <>
> >
> > >Ross's idea is sound, where people have legally purchased copies
> > >of their music downloaded to their system. If they want to make it
> > >available to all (and make some money off of late return fees),
> > >they need to use an app that not only uploads the single copy of
> > >the music to the library server, but maintains some sort of
> > >'overlord' log of all activity using that music file on the
> > >persons system, so they could not upload it to the library if
> > >there is a record of them retaining a copy on a backup tape, CDR,
> > >floppy, etc. The app would allow them to 'check out' music files
> > >that are properly licensed, and the library server can only allow
> > >as many downloads as it has legal licenses for. Users that don't
> > >return the files they downloaded on time pay late fees, which are
> > >split between the library server company and whoever purchased the
> > >original file and made it available to the public on the server
> > >(which could be the server company, a music listener, or even the
> > >artist or his recording company). In this case, an artist or
> > >recording company could presumably make 1000 licenses available to
> > >the server library, and make money off of late fees. Users that
> > >incur late fees are given the option by email to either return the
> > >music, pay the late fees to hold onto the music for x amount of
> > >time, or buy the music license outright.
> >
> > >THIS could potentially be a money making dot com idea, although I
> > >am concerned about news that Napster has distributed its server
> > >source code over the net and others are now setting up their own
> > >servers elsewhere to run independent of Napster and US Courts.
> >
> > This is all related to some ideas I had several years ago.
> >
> > Everybody was entranced with the idea of video-on-demand, and I
> > thought they had overlooked a much easier and possibly more
> > profitable idea, music-on-demand.
> I have a buddy right now who is interested in backing initial development of
> such a project to the tune of about $50,000.00. Anyone interested in doing
> development work on this???

I'll tell you how I would go about it.

First, find the media format you want to use. A good choice would be MPEG I
Audio Layer III, the intellectual property assignment of which is of FHG,

The next issue is client and server software. Basically, a client has to be
somehow uniquely identified, if anonymously so. The server software is a
database and interface to high performance disk I/O, and some glue logic.

So, the client software is an ASPI or other CD-ROM reader, which reads Redbook
audio off of CD-ROMs and writes it to raw audio on the client, where it is
converted to MP3 (in lieu of any compressed format) and encrypted with the
client's anonymous key. Then, the client makes affidavit that it is there only
digital copy of the CD track, this can be affirmed with a digital signature. At
that point, the compressed, encrypted track is uploaded to the server.

The server checks in tracks by their owner. As tracks come in, they are
catalogued by artist, genre, album, anonymous owner, etcetera. They are
decrypted or not for storage on the server.

The client then checks out some tracks, by searching for those it would and
selecting them, or putting holds on ones that are checked out already. The
server encrypts the selected files and sends them to the client, they are
encrypted thus that play only on one client's client software, which would
unfortunately have to be a black box in that sense.

At issue is whether the server would have to delete the track on checkout, or if
it could keep a backup copy. They key is that only one may play the ripped
track at a time.

There are various legalities involved. Also, there are various options. It
could be a free community lending library. Also, it could be a rental store
online, where essentially people could contribute the songs from their purchased
albums and users would pay a nominal playback fee, the key feature being that
anyone could put their purcahsed tracks on the shelves. Thus, like libraries or
used music stores, people could browse and either use the free community library


Ross Andrew Finlayson
Finlayson Consulting
Ross at Tiki-Lounge:

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