Why Hackers Can’t Overthrow the Music Industry

Why Hackers Can’t Overthrow the Music Industry

Hacker group Anonymous is setting its sights on the music industry, promising a major shakeup in the works — but will its efforts yield real changes?

Anonymous announced “Anontune,” a new, illegal social media platform aggregating music from across the Web, created to liberate users from corporate regulation. Anontune gathers songs from YouTube, SoundCloud, users’ iTunes and other music sources and organizes them into shareable, anonymous playlists.

Almost every song imaginable is available to listen to on the Internet, and Anontune’s main selling point is its ability to organize songs, not produce them. In this way, it will act more as a blog aggregator than a content-generating system.

Online music lovers who have the wherewithal to hunt out songs themselves will have no real use for Anontune, and people who are not savvy enough to find their jams online probably won’t seek out an illegal fringe sharing service, so the project may not accrue as many loyal users as Anonymous expects. Still, the proposed creation of such a site stands as another example for how Anonymous counteracts policies it sees as curbing Internet freedom.

The announcement comes as the Recording Industry Association of America’s, or RIAA, case against Megaupload heats up, sparking speculation Anonymous is using Anontune as a retaliatory measure. The hacking group already attacked the RIAA and the Department of Justice websites in response to the Megaupload shutdown, demonstrating the scope of Anonymous’ reach and its level of disdain for regulators’ actions.

Wired spoke to one of the Anonymous coders working on the project, who explained, “The project is not so much a response to Megaupload but a response to the tycoons from the RIAA shutting down music services.”

Anonymous lashed out at the RIAA for shutting down music sharing services like Limewire. The hacker group believes file sharing should be legal, and finds the RIAA’s practices immoral.

Anontune is only 20 percent complete, and although Anonymous’ description of the service sounds appealing, users may want to exercise caution. Some members of Anonymous are less ideologically pure than others, and the group’s last foray into providing a service, the Anonymous OS Live, ended up riddled with viruses.

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