Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Get Yer Free Britney Spears Here. Or on iMeem

Give the music industry credit–a decade after the original Napster, it’s now standard practice to let fans listen to an entire disc worth of new music, for free, before it ever gets to stores. The latest example: Britney Spears’s new album, “Circus,” which you can listen to at Or at the bottom of this post, via a groovy embeddable player.

This move should temporarily boost traffic at iMeem, which finds itself competing for the ability to premier new releases with rival music services like iLike, MySpace, Rhapsody, et al. Last week, for instance, MySpace got bragging rights over “Chinese Democracy,” the sort-of-long-awaited album from Guns N’ Roses.

But it’s unclear whether these premieres actually help Britney or her label, Sony’s (SNE) Jive: Few of the visitors to MySpace’s GNR page stuck around to listen to the whole album, and hordes of GNR fans don’t seem to have flooded Best Buy (BBY) stores, which have an exclusive on the disc.

But who cares? That’s tomorrow’s problem. For now: Free Britney Spears!

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work