Being a mega-busy media mogul perched in front of a computer at least 12 hours a day, not having the brainpower sufficient to concentrate on writing-editing-logistics-managing-marketing-and the like WHILE also listening to music, AND sitting on top of 25,000 or so CDs that just keep on trickling in day after day, year after year, I haven’t felt much need or incentive to avail myself of digital music via the Internet.
In theory, I can certainly see how cool it is to be able to access most anything from recorded history, effortlessly assemble songs in any manner I see fit, and carrying much of my collection around in a box not much bigger than the average patella: but in practice, I play CDs.
Now, FINALLY, I have stumbled across a very clever and apt use of the technology – this fall Penn State is offering a course called “The Popular Arts in American: Popular Music,” which examines the roots, development and significance of popular music (blues, jazz, gospel, country, pop, rock ‘n roll) in American culture and will utilize Napster’s collegiate subscription offering to streamline the class’ music syllabus and facilitate students learning.
Course professor William Kelly tested and developed the unique concept last year and now has over 1,000 students engaged in the online course which is doubtless greatly enlivened and deepened by the music experience. This would be a great fit for any music survey course. Of course it could have been any music service, but Napster did it and should get credit for that.
“Utilizing Napster to teach Penn State’s Popular Music class provides a library of musical information and a mechanism for discovery that students can access anytime and revisit at will,” said Kelly. “I can’t think of any environment that is less hospitable to experiencing music than a big, cavernous classroom, but the Napster service allows my students to dig into gospel or Gershwin, Elvis, or the blues in exactly the same way they would listen to songs in their everyday lives.”
Elsewhere, the 10 campuses of the University of California, 23 campuses of Cal State University, and the 16 in the University of North Carolina system have each agreed to allow Napster to offer its subscription service across their state-wide systems. Brown University, American University, Bentley College, and Grove City College have also struck agreements with the online music provider.
“Napster offers the digital music environment that most closely resembles that of P2P sites, but also allows collegiate music fans to enjoy on-demand access to over 1.5 million songs, exclusive video interviews with their favorite artists and icons and exclusive features like hand-picked play lists, music blogs and access to albums before they’re released,” said Napster’s Aileen Atkins.
Each school will offer Napster’s subscription service, featuring unlimited streaming and hard drive downloading from the “world’s largest” digital music library, as well as access to interactive, commercial-free radio stations and five decades of Billboard’s historic chart information.