Date of Original Version



Working Paper

Abstract or Description

A major criticism of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, such as Napster and Gnutella, is that their main purpose is the pirating of intellectual property. However, a redeeming aspect of P2P networks is that they can perform a valuable promotional function by making users aware of a product that they would not otherwise have considered. Specifically, peers can recommend a song to another peer. Music tends to have a great deal of heterogeneity in tastes, and if peers are connected to peers with similar preferences then the recommendations serve a valuable promotion function. In this research we seek to understand how P2P networks could aid information producers in increasing the user base of their products and their profitability. Traditionally producers have relied upon broadcasting playlists that are targeted towards a homogeneous set of users, which can limit their value. A potential benefit of P2P systems is that they can serve a collaborative filtering function by correlating preferences across users and providing playlists customized to an individual user’s tastes.