Funny story. Remember waaaaaay back in 2001 when downloading music was still kind of new and weird, and it took hours to download one song from Napster or LimeWire?
Back then, Kazaa was another notable peer-to-peer music sharing network, kings of the dial-up connection, they were. That is, until they and all the other disruptive technology people got the pants sued off them by the music industry – a.k.a. Sony, EMI, UMG, and Warner.
Kazaa’s founders, Janus Friis, and Niklas Zennstrom, settled the case for $100 million just as they sold their next startup – Skype – for $3 billion. Kind of makes the music industry people and their settlement seems kind of puny, doesn’t it?
The Next Big Thing?
Fast-forward to today, and we find Friis and Zennstrom behind Rdio, a new music service that let’s you pay a monthly membership to stream like on Spotify, download like on iTunes, and share playlists, like Last.fm. Friis and Zennstrom are banking on the calculation that people are just about ready to start paying monthly subscriptions for online media, and that the memberships will start to roll in. Of course, up to this point, a similar approach has not worked for Rhapsody.