Say goodbye to the free music revolution. With courts across the country cracking down on illegal file-sharing, even former download rebel Napster requires a nominal fee.
Everyone, including the down-on-his-luck college student, needs to cough up cash if he wants to be lawful when downloading. Temple is certainly no exception.
The university selected Cdigix, the leading college provider of digital media downloads, to offer its students an economical and lawful way to enjoy their favorite tunes.
Vice President of Temple’s Computer and Information Services, Timothy O’Rourke, recognized a need to offer students such a service.
He sees the program as a means to obtain music easily without resorting to unacceptable methods.
“Students love to listen to music on their computers,” O’Rourke said. “We felt we needed to provide students an alternative to get music for a reasonable price as opposed to illegally.”
Available to Temple students, faculty and staff, Cdigix’s service Ctrax offers legal music downloading free of charge until March 1.
Once the demo runs out, students have an option of subscribing to the service for $3.49 a month – a fee that will allow them to listen to their new tunes on up to three computers.
“We wanted to give students a break in prices,” O’Rourke said.
Boasting a library of more than 2.2 million songs, Ctrax has already attracted attention from music lovers in search of their favorite tracks.
Sophomore Elyssa Glezerman chose to check out Ctrax based on the buzz surrounding the extensive song list.
“I decided to download it because one of my friends was raving about all of the songs that she had already found,” said Glezerman, a psychology and education double major. “I like that I can find almost any song that I’m looking for, regardless of its age or obscurity.”
But convenience always comes with a price and the music doesn’t last forever. Once the subscription runs out, the tunes do too.
So if rocking out on the way to class with an iPod is the plan, an extra 89 cents per track allows students to upload songs to a device or burn them to a CD, making them a permanent component of their personal music collection.
The extra charge took some students by surprise. Sophomore Rebecca Rotkowski said she didn’t expect burning her tracks to a CD would be so costly.
“When I realized this, I just had to laugh out loud because it’s making the program pointless,” said Rotkowski, a broadcast journalism major.
“I might as well go back to my illegal downloading where I can burn my own CDs. Just when you think that Temple is doing something good for you, you figure out there are strings attached.”
Those aren’t the only strings, Pinocchio. The service runs through an Internet Explorer-based application, which means a recent version of Microsoft IE is required before the program can download.
No other browsers are compatible with the system. Windows XP operating system is required as well, alienating all Macintosh users as well as students with earlier versions of Windows.
These technical restraints, combined with what some say is confusing installation, can leave students frustrated.
J. Alex Miller found the program to be poorly designed and technologically perplexing.
“As I began to download a CD, only two of the tracks were downloaded. The other 10 quit responding and did not start downloading no matter how long I waited,” said Miller, a freshman liberal arts major.
“To further matters, the two songs that did download wouldn’t play. Overall, it was very unimpressive. That’s a few hours of my life that I will never get back.”
Despite any technological setbacks, more than 4,500 students have already registered for the service, according to Computer Services.
Registering for the program is free for another week. To sign up, visit https://cs.temple.edu//ctrax/ for more information.
Kate Bolesta can be reached at email@example.com.