Thursday, December 17, 2009

YouTube is the new Napster

Back during the days when Napster ruled, an amazing thing happened to the world of music: suddenly, anyone with a net connection could get any song they wanted, anytime. You ran into a sort of strange dilemma: how do you recall or discover music that you have liked or would like? Once you could answer that question, the tunes were yours.

Then, reality (or the law? or the music industry?) set in, and Napster and its brethren were more or less retired.

I do believe, (a version of) those days are back. I consistently find that I can search for just about any song on YouTube and up pops what I was looking for. Even to the point where I can find a particular re-mix, from particular DJ. Sometimes it's a professional music video, or sometimes it's a amature one or sometime it's just audio playing behind a static image. Regardless, it's the song I was looking for.

Again, I'm getting that same odd sensation: all the music in the world is out there at my finger tips, I just need to recall what music I actually like.

Why pay $14.00 for a CD, or even a dollar a song, when I can it for free instantly? One obvious reasons is that harnessing all this music isn't as easy as it was with Napster. Still, there are some interesting possibilities. Consider:

  • You can create a Play List in YouTube and hit Play All
  • A quick Google search turned up, a site which turns YouTube into a music player. I'm not 100% sure about their service, but the web version does appear legit
  • There's the YouTube API, which could be useful for developing a custom solution
  • TuneWiki is another site that appears to mine the heck out of YouTube to offer a free music library

My plan is to go the Play List route. Though, I've just started experimenting and haven't really tried to amass a collection.

So, have any playlists you'd like to share?


  1. Hi Ben,

    I know your post wasn't about "Why pay $14.00 for a CD, or even a dollar a song, when I can it for free instantly?" but I will hijack it a little bit anyway because I like the answer even though it is totally off-topic:

    Everyone needs a philosophy in life. Mine is that everyone provides something of value, and in our current economic system we show appreciation/recognition of the value with money. So combine that with youtube and it is a great combination; I can be sure that my dollars are being very well spent. It is a win win.

  2. Grant -

    That's an excellent point, and it does make me think about paying for music - and why free is so compelling even over a $1.

    Hmm, come to think of it...there's probably a whole post right there.

    Thanks for getting me thinking! Now let's see if my thoughts can congeal into something somewhat solid.


  3. Lucy -

    Thank you so much for the kind feedback. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog!