This is an interesting story. I want to see how they manage this. This has got to be a really expensive service to offer, is it going to be paid for by advertising and free to the end user? That ad seems to indicate that the user is typically going to play MP3s directly off this service, rather than downloading a file first and then playing it. To download an MP3 you have to shove three megabytes through the Internet once, but if you play your MP3 directly off this service you pump 3 MB every time you want to hear the song. I know AOL/TW has big servers and big pipelines, but that's a lot of bandwidth.
In Winamp you can play an MP3 off a URL, and I just experimented, it seems to works fine over a cable modem or DSL. But MP3s play at about 1 MB per minute, faster than a 56K modem can go. So if this thing gets popular, it might sell a lot of AOL/Time-Warner/RoadRunner cable modem subscriptions. But the bit about "playing your MP3s anywhere in the world" is kinda dubious. Even if you have a cable modem at home, do you have cable or DSL access "anywhere in the world"? I suppose they might offer a "download first" option for users with slower connections.
This Winamp "locker" system requires a ton of server space too. MP3.com's system had one copy of any particular song on line. This "locker" business would have to have a separate directory for every user, right? So if 10,000 people store a 3 MB MP3 of a particular song on line, that's 30 GB just for one song! My MP3 collection (which is, believe it or not, all made by me from CDs I bought at the store - I never even got an account at Napster) is about 1.8 GB, and I've still got lots of CDs and LPs yet to convert. Can Winamp actually afford to give away whole gigabytes of server space to any and all comers? If so, and if you cheat a little, you could get an account there and use it as offsite backup for your server! Just archive all your stuff in zip or tar files about 3-4 MB in size, label them as *.mp3, and upload them to Winamp's server.
Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net
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