Shawn Fanning announces plans for Snocap technology…

NAPSTER creator SHAWN FANNING has revealed his plans for a new licensed file-sharing service with an almost unlimited selection of tracks.

Users will be allowed greater access to licensed downloads with the new technology, while record labels will also have some degree of control over the file-sharing.

Fanning said: “We’re trying to basically open the market up.”

Now the head of Snocap Inc., Fanning says that the biggest drawback of the licensed digital music services – including iTunes and the new Napster – is the limited amount of tracks available when compared with the unlicensed file-sharing networks such as Kazaa.

He said yesterday (December 2): “There’s nothing out there offering a content experience with the breadth and content on peer-to-peer thus far.”

Fanning founded Napster in 1999 aged 19, allowing Internet users to share music and other files. However, the service was taken offline in 2001 following a series of court actions over copyright issues.

Napster’s name and logo has now been relaunched for a separate, legal downloading service.

According to BBC News, Fanning’s new system will enable record labels to block unauthorised versions of their music – providing those tracks have been registered with Snocap. Meanwhile, users will be able to legally exchange songs.

Using ‘acoustic fingerprinting’ technology, Snocap will be able to identify and filter out unlicensed or spoof versions of songs

Record companies will be able to place restrictions on songs, specifying how many times a track can be played before the user is required to buy it and whether it can be burned to CD or shared.

Universal Music Group has already reached a deal to distribute its catalogue online using Snocap’s technology.

File-sharing services however may find the idea costly as they would have to pay record companies a licensing fee as well as equipping their software with Snocap technology.