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Impact Of Napster

Decent Essays
Tiffany Arvelo
Brian Wheeler
RTV 100
Shawn Fanning and the Lasting Impact of Napster

“Back when I was a teenager, we would have to buy an entire album just to have one song,” Brittni’s father explained, to her utter disbelief. Brittni shook her head, thinking of the thousands of songs in her iTunes library, and she wondered how people could afford to buy dozens of albums just for a handful of favorite singles. Buying music over the internet may seem commonplace today, but in the 1990’s, audio on the internet was merely experimental. In 2000, computer programmer Shawn Fanning introduced an internet site called Napster that irrevocably changed the internet, the music industry, and the complex relationship between the two. Many internet users
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The heavy metal band Metallica and rapper Dr. Dre also filed lawsuits against Napster. The courts ruled against the file sharing site, forcing it to shut down in 2001, which eventually caused the company to file for bankruptcy the following year. In addition, the RIAA went the extra mile and began prosecuting individual users of Napster. Astonishingly, in 2003, “the record industry sued 261 American music fans for sharing songs on peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing networks, kicking off an unprecedented legal campaign” (Electronic Frontier Foundation). These lawsuits scared many music fans out of using P2P networks, but it also cleared the path for the music industry to attract them in a new way: with legal music download…show more content…
Record companies decided to embrace the profitable possibilities of using the internet and began working on legal pay services. These sites attracted customers by offering legal downloads of individual tracks for very low prices. As a result, millions of music lovers today enjoy downloading 99 cent tracks off of online merchants such as iTunes and Amazon. The music industry is also pleased with these legal pay services, because revenue is increasing again due to the ease, cost-effectiveness, and widespread popularity of buying and selling music digitally. While Fanning’s invention caused a lot of financial damage to the music industry, it also forced them to look towards the future and contemplate how it could adapt to the emerging internet age. Unfortunately, while the recording industry does make plenty of money from legal music downloads, Fanning and his legendary website have become the model for the dozens of illegal music file-sharing sites that have emerged over the past 16 years since Napster’s launch. The educational eMagazine, SchoolVideoNews, states that, “Software such as Gnutella, Limewire, Kazaa…and other free, open-source software used to trade any type of file…have been popular networks for pirating music since Napster” (Britt). These types of companies, and their users, are constantly discovered and sued by
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