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Has Dropbox Become The New Napster?
By: Andy Weiss
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Despite all the best efforts of the recording industry, the simple fact is that we love sharing music with each other. The act of saying “Hey. Listen to this,” imparts meaning and a sense of discovery to music. It’s a human behavior that has been immortalized by Nick Hornby and Rob Sheffield. From a technology standpoint, the cassette player unlocked the mix tape. Then there were CD mixes. But those were mostly one-to-one efforts. With the advent of MP3s, we suddenly had Napster and one-to-many music sharing exploded. The days of unlimited sharing have since gone and the mix tape became the playlist and social listening (e.g. Spotify on Facebook). In terms of pure sharing, neither published playlists nor social listen capture the same mystique as their predecessors. However, cloud computing, specifically Dropbox, has reinvigorated music sharing.
If you’re not familiar with Dropbox (or other cloud storage options), think of it as an extension of your computer’s hard drive that can be synced with other computers, smartphones, and tablets from anywhere that has Internet access. The applications are endless. But focusing on music, you can use it to store your music collection. Once you’ve done that, Dropbox offers the ability to share files and folders with your friends. You can give them access to the entire collection or just the latest release from an artist that you think they’d love. And the best part is that you can control those permissions through Dropbox’s web interface. If you’re interested in using Dropbox to share music, a quick Google search will turn up a number of how-to guides.
While cloud computing is currently a boon to sharing, it’s shelf life is unknown. But history shows that we will continue to find ways to help our friends discover new music. Who knows… Maybe Justin Timberlake will imbed sharing into his revamped MySpace.

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About the Author
Andy Weiss is a digital direct marketer, consumer evangelist, change agent, and cultural anthropologist.
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