Why Was Napster Shut Down?

Napster is a legend in the world of music streaming, it is the service that, in fact, started it all. Today, this brand is a little forgotten by many. What happened to him?

A summary of what happened is something like this: Initially illegal, Napster gained immense popularity by allowing downloads of MP3s and other media files, and revolutionized that online marketplace, paving the way for new tools that came later.

The problem is that Napster suffered several lawsuits and eventually closed its doors (but users were not left orphans and were not deprived of the ability to share MP3 files over the network, since at that time there was a wide variety of such programs). After remaining in the background for several years, it eventually changed its name to Rhapsody when entering the music streaming segment, but the name did not catch on and now the service will continue to operate, but under the established name of Napster.

Created by Sean Fanning and Sean Parker as a P2P file sharing program in 1999, Napster was the first infamous battle between the music industry and the Internet as it allowed illegal MP3 file sharing on the web. Its success came very quickly, it went viral within a few months of its release, and remained the main source of MP3 files until 2002.

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What attracted users to this program, in addition to the ability to download an infinite number of songs (that is, this number varied depending on the connection speed of each), was the ability to search for the desired content in different ways. It was possible to search by the title of a song, or by the word of its title, as well as by the name of an artist, an album, or even a type of music genre, and find folders and folders filled with songs of that style. Another possibility was to find users whose tastes match yours through chats and “flip through” their files. This made discovering new sounds and unknown artists even easier, at a time when the Internet was still taking its first steps towards becoming the “monster” we know today.

In 2000, Napster became a company that released new versions of its software every month. During this period, the number of new users quadrupled every week, and 8 million users connected to the program at the same time, exchanging approximately 20 million files every day. But the huge success caught the attention of the authorities, and in 2001 Napster fell through a series of lawsuits for facilitating piracy, which were dropped in March. Lawsuits were gaining momentum involving record companies and artists offended by disrespect for their copyrights, and it was at this time that Metallica began to be globally condemned by Napster users for filming (and winning) the infamous lawsuit against the company.

Napster’s servers were permanently shut down in December 2002 after the company lost a legal battle between its operators and the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), the body responsible for regulating the US music industry.

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