There has been some discussion on this blog about digital downloads, both legal and otherwise. So I thought I’d link to this story on cnet.com. Apparently a number of third party companies are developing peer-2-peer plugins for the popular browser, Firefox. The company AllPeers seems to be getting the most attention with their forthcoming extention.
AllPeers, a company based in the U.K., is in the midst of developing a peer-to-peer tool for the open-source browser, which it claims is “the best thing to happen to Firefox…since Firefox.” The software has yet to be released, but the company says it will allow Web surfers to browse each other’s hard drives and download files.
Of course they claim it is a way to distribute open source software, which is a legitimate use. The fear, or expectation, that exists is that people will use it for file swapping of illegal digital song/movie files. I don’t have any expectation that it will affect the bluegrass industry in any way. I know there is some file trading going on, but by and large it seems that most fans are willing to pay for the music of the bands they love. I know many people who wait to buy a new CD until they can purchase it directly from the band themselves, at a show or festival. That way they know the band got some money for the sale. Some do this because they don’t trust the labels, or more precisely the entire retail chain from label to distributor to retailer and back again, to actually get any money to the artists. Others do it because they understand that the band makes more if they sell a product directly, than if someone else does. So buying directly from the bands doesn’t necessarily mean a distrust of the system so much as a preference for the artist. And that’s as it should be. Either way, it reflects well on the character of bluegrass fans.
On a technical note, checking the stats for Bluegrass Today reveals that 6% of our readers are using Firefox. 9% are using Apple’s Safari browser, 38% are using IE, and everyone else is using something else. Rather more diversified than I had expected.
What are you using to surf the web? And how do you purchase your music? Let us know.