Sydney Morning Herald, Kazaa will rise from the ashes and begin its second life as a legal subscription download service. For $20 a month, users will be able to download an unlimited number of songs. These songs, however, will be DRMed and in the WMA format, which will probably spell doom for the service in the long run.Not too long ago, after the demise of Napster, Kazaa became synonymous with P2P file sharing. After a number of costly lawsuits and failed attempts to appease the music industry, however, Kazaa shut down its P2P network. Tomorrow, however, according to the
A beta version of this service has been available for a while, but judging from today's reaction, very few users were aware of it. $20 a month wouldn't be a bad deal for unlimited downloads if the music wasn't DRMed and if users were able to play them on their iPods. Given the competition that Kazaa is up against, we don't see a bright future for the service.
Trend: Illegal File Sharing Sites Go Legit
The interesting trend, here, though, is that a lot of companies and services that were previously known for being 'illegal' hubs for file sharing are now trying to go legit. Napster, the grandfather for Kazaa and most of its brethren, is now a respectable paid service, and the Pirate Bay may offer a legal version of its service soon.
As Eric Pfanner pointed out in the New York Times, we are now getting to the point where using legal services like Spotify or Lala are actually so much more convenient than illegally downloading music. Given this trend, it makes sense for centralized services like Kazaa to slowly drift to a legal model. At the same time, decentralized file sharing options like BitTorrent, which don't depend on a single company to work, will still continue to be popular. Chances are, though, that users will probably share less music through torrents over the next year or so, as more cheap and free options allow users to legally access music more conveniently.