CNET: Free vs. Fee: Underground still thrives

In the last of three articles about the state of online music, CNET explores free (Kazaa) and paid online music services (Apple iTunes Music Store). I absolutely disagree with this statement:

Rather than fear their demise, free music services say the large music companies and e-tailers will have no choice but to work with file-swapping technology instead of against it.

The most successful paid online music service, iTunes, does not “work with file-swapping technology”. The P2P companies want to ensure that they have a part in the future of online music, but I don’t think that’s guaranteed. iTunes is successful because it’s easy and it’s faster than P2P, because you’re not downloading from someone’s home cable connection. Or worse, downloading from someone’s modem.

Michael Robertson, former CEO of MP3.com has it right:

“The majority of people will say, ‘I’ll just steal because then I get to use it the way I want to.”

Exactly. Even iTunes seems a bit restrictive to me, but people are still downloading millions of songs despite the fact that the service only works on Macs.