WiFi good? WiFi evil?

[ image courtesy of brionv / Flickr ]

The PEW Internet and American Life project just released their report about wireless internet usage [wifi]. It found that 34% of users have logged on to a wifi network of some kind — a full one-third of users.

Bridge Ratings released a report recently about internet radio listening. Listening had increased, from 45 million at the end of 2005 to 72 million when the study was conducted in January 2007.

The percentage of those listening to an internet simulcast of an AM/FM signal increased as well, now standing at 21% of internet radio listening.

The Inside Music Media blog contributor Jerry Del Colliano suggests that the “Listeners of tomorrow are online today.” This is a sound assumption, and he goes on to suggest that universal wifi will be the “killer app” that will drive this, and that stations need to simulcast those signals. This is something that we have looked at before.

Looks simple, right? More people are listening to internet radio, and a greater percentage of them are listening to AM/FM simulcasts [three of the top twenty are public radio stations]. Widespread wifi will make this easy to access. Everyone wins.

Not if the RIAA has anything to say about it. They are currently involved in a lawsuit that would make open wifi providers [be they Starbucks or me or a municipality] liable for illegal activity conducted through them. If a user is swapping songs illegally via the Starbucks’ wifi, the RIAA argues that they should be able to sue them. Such an arrangement would have a cooling effect and it would almost certainly require providers to establish a closed, less convenient system.

In turn, less opportunity to have a station’s signal streamed.

2 thoughts on “WiFi good? WiFi evil?

  1. Er…taking the RIAA’s stance to another odd logical path, wouldn’t this mean that they could sue the ISP providers (e.g. — cable and phone companies) if their users are downloading music illegally via wired methods? Does the RIAA really have that much resoucres to do this?

  2. I think the issue with downloading on free wifi is the anonimity. If you are wired, you can be more easily tracked.

    Seems like the RIAA says “Someone’s gonna pay…”

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