By Tom Mennecke 9/19/04
The FastTrack network was once a highly regarded P2P community during the earlier days of file-sharing. When Napster's centralized servers were forced off line, the network went down with it. However, a new breed of clients, led by such communities as FastTrack and Gnutella, would make shutting down these decentralized networks an impossibility.
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While FastTrack is safe from a physical RIAA shut down, it is not immune from
their barrage of lawsuits over the last year and a half. Since the RIAA began
suing FastTrack (Kazaa) users, its population started a slow but steady decline.
At its height, over 4.5 million individuals were sharing hordes of 128 bitrate
mp3s. Today, it struggles to reach 2.7 million individuals.
Are people simply no longer sharing files? Not at all. According to a recent
study conducted by ITIC (IT Innovations and Concepts), file sharing has actually
increased by 15% since July of this year. Slowly but surely, the P2P population
is immigrating to various other P2P networks, depending on their taste.
For those looking for a quick mp3 fix, their network of choice has become perhaps
SoulSeek, WinMX or Ares Galaxy. Those looking for movies and images, their choice
have become the growing BitTorrent or eDonkey2000 networks.
eDonkey2000 has slowly risen through the P2P ranks to become one of the premier
file-sharing networks. While it is geared mostly towards video and image files,
a vast array of multimedia exists on this network. In addition, a large network
of hash link sites and verified files has been a major selling point for many
Kazaa users fed up with viruses and fake files that plague FastTrack.
In Slyck's June 11 interview with ITIC, we asked when will eDonkey2000 overtake FastTrack.
ITIC responded, "60 days would be a true false answer. Last year, eDonkey
had a regular activity during summertime which KaZaA did not have. More than
ever, variations of the KaZaA population are tightly bound to lawsuits and anti-P2P
campaigns. Summer should be VERY quiet and then Kazaa population could revive
on Sept. If Sharman Networks is still alive at this time, they may also deploy
a more attractive platform; don't forget they have an invaluable experience
in redeployment and robust P2P."
However we are now well within the school year when P2P activity ramps up and
other than a quick spike after Labor Day, FastTrack has resumed its decline.
In addition, FastTrack has yet to release any "attractive platform"
that would turn things around.
Although the statistics show the eDonkey2000 network slightly ahead of FastTrack
at the time of this writing, it is much too early to declare a new P2P King.
Too many variables currently exist in the way that a client collect their population
numbers to difinatively stay that one network is ahead of another. However,
what is certain is that the eDonkey2000 network is closing in on FastTrack,
and if Sharman does not fall back on their "invaluable experience"
soon, a new P2P King will be crowned.
For more excellent stories on P2P apps and digital music check out Tom's site at www.slyck.com
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