Napster founder readies new P2P venture
C|Net is reporting that Napster founder Shawn Fanning is ready to unveil Snocap, a new peer-to-peer venture that aims to legitimize song swapping.
At the core of Snocap's offering is audio "fingerprinting" technology licensed from Philips Royal Labs and used to identify songs being traded on a network by their unique audio characteristics. Labels then provide Snocap with a set of rules to be associated with each fingerprint--for example, a song might only be allowed to be traded if it is wrapped in Windows Media digital rights management, which can be unlocked with a 99-cent payment.
Fanning hopes that Snocap users will seed the network with rarer content, including live performances, bootlegs, and out-of-print material. However, even with unique content, Snocap will have a hard time competing with unrestricted P2P networks like Kazaa and eDonkey, and the free song swapping culture that Napster inspired.