Coda.FM: Not Your Average Pirates
Kyle Bylin, Associate Editor
This week Coda.FM celebrates a birthday turing two months old. They’ve successfully differentiated themselves from the cluster of other sites by simply looking beautiful and choosing to only host music related torrents.
For those unfamiliar with torrent site functionality, typically they are bare bones work spaces, full of junk, and look like search engines that are hidden in the dark corner of the Internet. This and other various features fuel much of my curiosity. "Is this what the future of piracy looks like?”
Coda.FM is arguably indistinguishable from the interface of most online music stores and to some extent is less cluttered and easier to use. On December 19th of last year, one of Music Ally’s predictions for digital music in 2009 was "The Torrent tipping point." In many ways, Coda.FM democratizes music torrents for their audience and since it ‘runs like an iPod'. Watch out.
They’re not your average pirates, primarily, because on every torrent page there is an option to purchase the album from Amazon. Wait a second here, I thought pirates don’t purchase music? Apparently, we were wrong. The feature is a community-based request that stemmed from their Feedback Forum, which is a whole other animal.
The purchase button is one that I don’t believe is a scratching and clawing attempt to further legitimatize a currently illegal operation. I think it nudges the idea that those who download certain albums are doing so on the account that they would have never considered purchasing the music anyways. Some are doing it and nothing else.Then, there is a percentage of the community that still legitimately buys the music or at least the songs they want even if they don’t actually have to once the download is completed.
Perhaps, that may be a pipe dream, but there are many scenarios where the established idea of what being a music pirate constitutes doesn’t match its platonic notion. Other accommodations of the torrent pages include album review, album artwork, recommended albums, biography, track list, and the ever so sleight mention that of course the sites content isn’t illegal to do because they don’t actually host copyrighted material of any kind. The site also runs its own blog and Twitter.
Their Feedback Forum might as well be an eight-foot tall digital grizzly bear as far as the RIAA and the opposition is concerned, because it houses the community’s imaginative, practical, and sometimes devious ideas. Sitting on the top of the page reads, “I suggest you… (Enter your idea (new feature, fix bug, ect).” In addition, get this, these pirates run a democracy with a voting system. Visitors may use 10 votes towards the idea that interests them and if you are a registered member, they will notify you when a verdict has been reached. For each idea, you may use from 1-3 votes towards your topic of interest. As follows is a list of the most interesting things that they are up to now.
The Idea Bank:
• Integrate last.fm in coda.fm
• Allow multiple formats for every album: 192, 256, 320, V2, V0, and FLAC
• Recommendations based on download history
• RSS for Each Album Genre
• Make user profile LIKE a MySpace or Facebook
• Add a friends section.
• Get a great lawyer
• Add OpenID support as an authentication mechanism