Oxford University has decided to ban the music streaming application Spotify because it uses P2P technology. Although Spotify is completely legal, the University has banned the application because the underlying P2P technology allegedly turns it into a bandwidth hog.
Spotify is a music streaming service that allows users to access a huge library of ad-supported music for a small monthly fee. It is in use by hundreds of thousands of users and has even managed to convert some BitTorrent users who otherwise downloaded their music from unauthorized sources.
The application, which has streaming capabilities partly supported by P2P technology, is being developed by a team that includes uTorrent creator Ludvig Strigeus. Unfortunately, the P2P angle is not appreciated by everyone.
Last week the IT-department of Oxford University pulled the plug on the popular application because it relies on P2P technology.
“Spotify is a music streaming service. It relies on a peer-to-peer system for distribution of content, and its use is therefore forbidden on the University network,” was the explanation given.
Students are outraged by the University’s decision to put a ban on their beloved application. One Oxford student describes the drastic measure as “discrimination against music lovers, adding: “I hoped that it was a technical glitch, and that the university would be able to fix it. I never realized it was against the rules.”
The local IT-manager, however, justifies the move by saying that Spotify “cannot be justified as being educational,” which means that it would be a waste of the tax payer’s money. Not everyone agrees with this assessment.
A first-year music student claims that the application is one of his most valuable research assets. “I use it loads. It’s the most comprehensive collection of classical music in one place. Much better than Naxos,” the student said.
Spotify is partly owned by the major record labels who all bought a stake in the music startup. Sony BMG bought 5.8% of Spotify for 2,935 Euros, Universal Music got 4.8% for 2,446 Euros, Warner Music paid 1,957 Euros for 3.8% and EMI pocketed 1.9% for an investment of 980 Euros.
Neither the labels nor Spotify have responded to the ban in Oxford thus far, but we assume that they are not amused since it was hailed by most users as one of the few competitors to downloading music illegally.