Napster To Fingerprint Audio Files

Apr 23, 2001 12:00 PM, Editors


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The Internet song-swapping service Napster announced Friday that it signed with a Virginia company to help identify song files by digital fingerprint, not by name.

Napster signed the licensing agreement with Alexandria, Va.-based Relatable to add its TRM digital fingerprinting technology to the already in-service filtering software.

According to Hank Barry, Napster's interim CEO, "We are now working closely with Relatable's engineers to coordinate their technology with our file-filtering systems. We hope they will be a substantial part of our overall filtering solution."

The technology, TRM, identifies audio recordings based on the recording itself by analyzing the acoustical properties of a recording's waveform to identify it precisely, regardless of its audio format, bit rate or minor signal distorition.

Once the fingerprint of the recording is created, it is sent to the TRM server, which matches the fingerprint to an existing song in a customer's music database. According to Relatable, the server can handle over 5,000 fingerprint matches per second, or up to billions of queries each day.

"TRM will help ensure that the millions of music files transferred through the new Napster system will be accurately monitored, and it will enable the appropriate allocation of royalties to artists, music publishers and record companies," said Relatable CEO Pat Breslin.

Napster is currently working with a new court-appointed mediator and representative from the RIAA to comply with a court order to filter out illegally distributed song files. Napster plans on releasing a paid version of the service this summer.

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