Napster, a music streaming service that has been running successfully since the late 90s, has been hit by lawsuits that have led to the cessation of its activities and the suspension of servers by court order.
Despite such an undesirable development of events that occurred back in 2002, the service remained afloat. Napster was merged with another similar service – Rhapsody. Subsequently, the rebranding took place again, and today many fans of streaming music continue to use Napster.
In fact, every time Napster is commemorated in the world, some of the leaders of the music industry probably feel uneasy – it was because of him that a systemic conflict arose between record companies and their target audience, it was Napster that became the same bell that rang through the assembly line approach to music production, and it was from him that the decline of the industry began, which we continue to observe to this day.
The Thing That Should Not Be, as well as Metallica’s entire back catalog, proved to be, if not the reason, the pretext for the unified music industry to launch a war against Napster.
Metallica really didn’t like the fact that their compositions roam uncontrollably and in huge quantities on the peer-to-peer network and that they are not able to influence this in any way. A lawsuit followed, initiated by rock band drummer Lars Ulrich, who was eventually joined by rap producer Dr. Dre.
These claims, however, were settled out of court. But the lawsuit, filed by the music industry through A&M Records, ended with the streaming service being shut down for violating the DMCA. The California court ruled that the Napster administration is obliged to block access to illegal content on demand, but Napster was unable to comply with this requirement. In July 2001, the file-sharing network Napster, to the anger and sadness of its 20 million users, ceases to function, and a year later declares complete bankruptcy and sells all its assets. The company’s servers were stopped by a court order.
The music industry, however, soon came to regret the massacre of Napster. Instead of one hyperpopular and centralized p2p network, several appeared, including decentralized ones.
Attempts to launch a legal and paid service, having secured licenses from the world’s largest labels, did not lead to anything. Being bankrupt, Napster was forced to sell all the property. Moreover, an attempt to buy it by the Bertelsmann label turned out to be a failure: the deal was blocked by the court. Private Media Networks attempted to buy the brand for $2.5 million, but ended up with software company Roxio, which also attempted to make Napster a legal music service.
But many years after the events described, Napster has not only resumed its work, but is also gaining popularity, with up to 70 million subscribers worldwide. Today, it ranks among the world’s leading music streaming services. Of course, it cannot compete with the Swedish Spotify, which is the industry leader, but at the same time it is constantly improving its position in the market.