Monday, April 27, 2009

Satellite of love

Thanks for the responses. Nice to feel loved on demand.

So yeah, AudioGalaxy, it's not just us who experienced it, and this is just a fairly basic tribute to pre-broadband times past that's been playing on our mind. For the uninitiated, which there will be as it shut down nearly seven years ago, Audiogalaxy was one of the first proper peer to peer mp3 exchanges, except whereas Napster established the field in its use of little or no centralised output, Audiogalaxy thought that sort of thing was too much like hard work.

The difference between the standalone software of Napster, and indeed pretty much all other p2p programs (Kazaa? Does anyone in the world still use that, notorious adware issues notwithstanding?), and Audiogalaxy's was that the shared files were reachable only via browser searching and put in a queue, but whereas you can queue on other clients AG ran via a Web based 'satellite', which meant you could go onto the site first, run up a pile of as many tracks as you wanted even if there were no sharers at the time, only then stick the satellite on and leave it to its own devices. Not until Spotify playlists have you since been able to create always-on lists, meaning you ideally didn't have to keep going back just in case it was there that time as the searcher would find it for you if so. There was plenty else of specific interest too - auto-resume, ease of installation (we were able to run it briefly from our work computer) and an attempt at a sense of community - chat rooms, artist specific message boards and commissioned pieces promoting favourite artists and records (here's Will Sheff, supplementing a tyro Okkervil River, on In The Aeroplane Over The Sea) Eventually the RIAA struck, rather too easily, and overnight the satellite was closed down with the basic structure folded into legal site Rhapsody.

(Disclaimer: obviously, everything we downloaded from AudioGalaxy we later bought legally. OK.)

AudioGalaxy was an example of something which lurked away in the background of the higher profile systems, the Limewires and Groksters, knowing for content and reach it had a business plan, borne of a basic love of music and desire not to let people be swayed by the nu-metal hordes of 2001, few could match. And as the downloading carousel rolls round again post-Pirate Bay verdict, it's interesting to note that those still at large, whether fairly soulless torrent sites or straight up and down p2ps, don't offer that any more. We wonder... where did Spotify's creators get their inspiration from?


The Daily Growl said...

Guess who's back
Back again

Simon said...

Does that mean in three years' time I'll be posting a rubbish rehash that's immediately out of date?

Simon said...

*chorus: "That long?"*

gooblefrump said...

your pre-penultimate sentence is discernibly unintelligible