Rather than downloading music illegally, Internet users can now use services such as Spotify, iTunes Match cloud, Google Music and the Amazon Cloud.
Through these services, users can stream music through a mobile device or computer to create a playlist that is saved in the “cloud.”
The cloud, Brandon Adams said, is a term used for a location on the Web where data, such as digital music, is stored. Users add to their playlists from the digital library, or the cloud.
Adams, a graduate of Pittsburgh Technical Institute and a Youngstown State University undergraduate, added that users can access saved data from the cloud using their mobile device.
“Programs like these can exist because every device is connected to the Internet now,” Adams said.
The changes in digital music have introduced new ideas of music ownership, which are split into two categories: digital lockers and subscription.
Spotify and Rhapsody allow users the ability to stream an unlimited amount of songs.
Digital lockers allow users to store their iTunes music collection, for example, online and stream it to any computer or mobile device connected to the Internet.
“The music no longer is loaded onto the user’s device as a file,” Adams said. “Songs are streamed from the cloud via Internet connection.”
Subscriptions typically range from $5 to $10 a month, while some charge annual rates of around $25. Most services provide a free version of their program that includes commercials and storage limits.
Mark Welton, data security supervisor at YSU, said though music can be listened to from a cloud service, it can’t be downloaded from computers connected to YSU’s network.
“Illegal services like BitTorrent are blocked by university computers for liability reasons, but cloud services like Spotify or Google Music are operated through a Web browser, so they are allowed,” Welton said.
PacketLogic, a policy enforcement software by Procera, is the application used to block certain protocols that programs such as BitTorrent use to download music.
“The PacketLogic software is installed on computers university-wide because YSU is responsible for anything downloaded on its computers,” Welton said.
Though there are ways to get around the software through encryption, or making information unreadable, Walton said the university has to make an attempt to stop what it can.
“YSU is liable on copyright laws if no action is taken to stop illegal downloading on campus computers,” Welton said. “Our software prioritizes what is allowed and what is not.”
Though the university doesn’t actively try to catch downloaders, data security will receive a notice from the copyright holder, and the downloader will be notified.
Michal Fraczek, a former resident of Kilcawley House, said the policy enforcement software does not pick up certain websites, such as Mp3Raid.com.
Fraczek said he has used Spotify, but still prefers illegal programs like LimeWire.
“My problem with Spotify is that I can’t transfer the songs on to my iPod once I download them,” Fraczek said.
Lyden House resident Brennan Haynes also said he prefers having music of his own, even if it’s obtained illegally.
“I’ve used the cloud services,” Haynes said. “It just isn’t as easy as searching for a song, downloading it and having it permanently.”
John Baker, a Kilcawley House resident, said he uses iTunes and Pandora Radio to listen to music when he is in his dorm.
“I haven’t tried downloading anything illegal because it’s not going to work consistently,” Baker said.
Baker said he has never had any issues obtaining music legally while on campus.