The Morpheus Audio Future

The music industry and the file-sharing community have been waiting nervously for the impending Supreme Court decision in MGM vs Grokster, which is expected any day. At stake is not only peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, but the development of future forms of music distribution.

The music industry is hoping that a ruling in its favor will hold software developers responsible for the ways their creations might be used, and by extension, stifle "unauthorized" forms of file sharing by allowing software developers, not just the users, to be sued.

It's hard to tell whether the move is brave or suicidal, but peer-to-peer application developer StreamCast Networks sees this as an opportunity to release an even more evolved version of its popular Morpheus file-sharing software. The new beta version of Morpheus 5.0 joins other popular file-sharing applications such as Bearshare, KaZaa, Limewire, Grokster, XoloX, and Shareaza. According to CNET, over 134 million copies of previous versions of Morpheus have been downloaded.

StreamCast Networks' Michael Weiss explains, "While some in the entertainment industry may view our powerful new technology as an even greater threat, we believe that Morpheus can prove to be one of the shining stars for their digital future if only they would be open-minded to work with us. Together, we can find solutions a lot quicker than their attorneys ever will."

As are other P2P applications, Morpheus 5.0 is a free download. Weiss says that to make money, his company's strategy is "search monetization—think of it as Google-izing P2P. However instead of links, you will get downloads. Some downloads could be free—ad-supported or promotional —and some could be paid offers. Very non-intrusive."

StreamCast says that new features in Morpheus 5.0 will include iPod compatibility, podcast searches, Mobile Morpheus, and a custom Morpheus eWallet that will enable users to "easily purchase in excess of one million authorized music, video, and game files through Morpheus." Weiss adds, "We can provide a great distribution channel to content providers and a mechanism to get artists paid and a way for buyers to meet sellers."

If the music industry loses in the latest Supreme Court struggle, will it make nice with StreamCast? In a recent interview on Zeropaid, Weiss stated, "We are not holding our breath waiting for the major labels or Hollywood to come knocking on our door. We can do this with the 98% of artists that don't have a major record label deal."

And if the RIAA prevails, Weiss wants it known that "we never ran away to an off-shore island to hide—we stood our ground here in the US and fought a tough and expensive battle to not let pop music forces or Hollywood control the technological future of our country."