By Tom 8/11/02
SoulSeek is a file-sharing network that's managed to generate a large following while staying beneath the P2P community's radar. Since AudioGalaxy's demise, many have migrated to various communities. Some have found refuge on WinMX or Blubster, while others have found SoulSeek to be an excellent alternative. Although there are numerous flaws with this up-and-coming network, it seems the right ingredients are in place to make this a successful P2P community.
We were pleasantly surprised by the simple navigation through this client. The toolbar is placed logically across the top of the screen with all the functions one could want from a P2P client. The layout is very similar to Blubster, allowing anyone from newbies to veterans to enjoy this network. If you haven't been on a file-sharing network since Naspter, you should feel right at home with SoulSeek .
SoulSeek currently doesn't support multi-source downloading, so you'll have to use their "average download speed" option as a guide. This feature tells you what speed you can expect the file to download at (similar to ping). Like WinMX, SoulSeek has numerous queues, which can be a bit frustrating. Not to worry though, like WinMX, these queues don't last all that long and you'll be downloading in no time.
This is definitely one of SoulSeeks greatest strengths. If you're a fan of electronic, dance or trance music, SoulSeek delivers an amazing quantity and quality of this music genre. Unlike Gnutalla or KaZaA, a wide variety of high bitrate mp3s are available. Although many were on queue, a vast amount we came across are not available on other networks. SoulSeek also has something called a "wish list" feature. If there's a rare song that you want, this feature will continually seek out this song until someone on the network makes this song available.
Like most serious P2P networks, SoulSeek utilizes a decentralized network. It still requires a centralized start off point, or host cache to get you started. From the SoulSeek forums, the creator had displayed some concern that the RIAA would shut his network down, although due to its small size (2000-4000 users max) this was of little danger. However, with the recent media attention this network is getting, we may see these numbers start to rise.
SoulSeek may pride itself in being a small and resourceful network, however the mp3 hungry P2P community may wind up pushing this client into the mainstream. With an already solid userbase and wide selection of mp3s, it may be only a matter of time before network administrators find themselves in the P2P spotlight. SoulSeek needs to resolve the following problems to make it big in the file-sharing world: fix its memory hungry client, support file-hashing, incorporate multi-source downloading, and decentralize their host cache. We look forward to the continued development of this client. Check out SoulSeek at http://www.slsk.org/.
Tom from Slyck.com is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Tom's insights on other digital music issues can be read on his site and we encourage you to check it out.
Soulseek Press Release on why they are down - Feb 8 2003
SoulSeek Down! - Feb 4 2003
Soulseek down? How to get back online - Sept 8 2003
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