On Monday, MIT debuted a system that lets students listen to 3,500 CDs over the school’s cable television network. Since this is analogous to broadcasting songs over the radio, the license is relatively inexpensive (the cost of the MP3s).
The MIT project is called “Library Access to Music” or “LAMP.” Students can select 80 minutes of music from a playlist; the music is then piped through one of 12 channels into the student’s room. The music can be played through a TV, a laptop with an audio jack, or external speakers.
Rather than negotiate the headaches of digital copyright, the student project (funded by a Microsoft grant) purchased MP3s of 3,500 CDs that their fellow classmates had suggested in a prior survey; the purchase, through Seattle-based Loudeye, was authorized by the National Music Publishers Association’s licensing arm.