New site builds Record Exchange on campus

Yalies dissatisfied with music-sharing forums such as Kazaa and iTunes may find the Yale Record Exchange to be the answer to their prayers.

Coordinated through a Web site maintained by Matt Morello ’04, the Yale Record Exchange, or YRX, lets users borrow from each others’ music collections — giving people an opportunity to expand their musical tastes without having to spend “an arm and a leg” to buy new albums, Morello said.

Morello said he favors more open access to music.

“Instead of looking at music as a luxury, it should be like a library where people have access to all kinds of recordings,” Morello said.

On YRX Web site, users can view each other’s music collections, contact each other about swapping albums or simply meet other people with similar musical interests. Morello set up the site in mid-November of last year.

Morello said YRX is intended for people who are looking for whole albums and good sound quality, two attributes that can be difficult to find on file-sharing software applications such as Kazaa and Limewire. Downloading free music from such sites has been made more difficult by ITS’s policy of restricting the amount of bandwidth used by these programs, which can slow downloading times. The increasing risk of legal prosecution for transferring files through such services may also lead students to seek alternatives such as YRX.

Morello also said YRX has the advantage of being more personal than the increasingly popular software iTunes, which allows users to view and listen to the music libraries of people connected to the Yale network, but not actually copy the music.

“You don’t know whose music your listening to,” Morello said. “With YRX there’s a sense of people who are excited about finding other people who like the same music as them. It creates a community, a network.”

Morello said he feels fairly secure legally. The Web site lists the collections and contact information of its members, but is not in itself a file server. It also bears a disclaimer stating that any copyright infringements violated are the responsibility of YRX members.

Morello said he has seen a positive response to the site in the Yale community.

One member, Adam Stack ’04, said he found the site easy to use and rewarding.

“It’s a cool way to learn about other people and what kind of music they listen to,” said Stack. “People’s collections are very diverse, often eclectic and musically adventurous.”

Erin Lafler ’04, another member, said she likes the format of the site.

“It has very easy access,” Lafler said. “It’s easy to search for songs and artists on the site.”

But Lafler said she might not feel comfortable e-mailing and meeting with someone she did not know to swap albums.

Rick Bennet ’07, the owner of one of the largest iTunes music libraries on Old Campus, said although he was completely satisfied with iTunes, he viewed music sharing programs like YRX as inherently beneficial.

“Anything that gets people to listen to more music and to share their music is good, as long as it doesn’t grossly violate any copyright laws,” Bennet said.

To date, YRX has 25 members. Morello said that he encourages people of all musical backgrounds and tastes to join, whether or not they consider themselves a part of the “music scene.”

The Web site is available at www.geocities.com/yalerecex/.

The Yale Record Exchange, created in November of last year, shies from the current trend of digital music, allowing students to swap actual discs.
Phillip Rucker
The Yale Record Exchange, created in November of last year, shies from the current trend of digital music, allowing students to swap actual discs.

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