Napster may have paved the way for going legit once your piracy hay day has closed.
Everyone from the earlier days of the Internet remembers Kazaa, a semi-great place to share music and everything else in a P2P format that was an evolution from the Napster that came before. Though it was often a great way to support the free sharing of media, it was also a haven for viruses and less than savory content. In an effort to clean up their image, Kazaa has gone straight with a subscription-based service for streaming music and downloads. Now the Kazaa iPhone app has been released that ties directly into this service yet will cost you about ten bucks a month.
The service is similar to Rdio and Spotify, and between those and radio like programming options through Pandora and Last FM there may not be much room left. This is really up to users, as the new Kazaa iPhone app actually gives quite a bit of content and usability to the service and may end up lending it a lot of legitimacy on the market.
With a subscription you are going to be able to download as much music as you want, and this list that there are millions of songs for download. Along with this download you can control the music just as if it was on your iPod, but it will be within your Kazaa account and accessible through the iPhone app and computer’s Internet browser. You will be able to do quite a bit with playlists, as well as syncing them around. Kazaa Radio is a part of the Kazaa subscription service, and this mixes general radio stations based off artist selections similar to Pandora and ones that have been created by other users. They also promise a certain level of audio quality through Kazaa, but this is something that can only really be assessed in time. The app and service, coming from Atrinsi, Inc, is really trying to match what other developers in the same field attempting to cash in on the market shift have already provided.
The overall success of the service and the Kazaa iPhone app is going to be whether people want to actually pay for another subscription service. This has worked surprisingly well for video services like Netflix and Hulu, but it is more difficult for music-based services since free accounts are relatively plentiful and pirating music is still such a standard. There is a trial membership for Kazaa, but that is not really what it is pushing as a long-term goal. Instead, if Kazaa proves to meet what it promises it may have a legitimate claim on the market and people may begin to see it as a viable option for their mobile music needs. Unless iCloud blows it out of the water.