Downloaded documentary tells Napster’s story

Napster forever changed not only the music industry, but also the Internet. The seminal music sharing service was a revelation when it was released in 1999. Suddenly, anyone with a ‘net connection could trade MP3s easily. And they did.

Napster was subsequently caught up in a legal battle that ultimately forced the firm to go legit. Although the company lives on to this day, it’s a pale shadow of its former self. Now, a new documentary dubbed Downloaded promises to tell the story. The movie premiered at SXSW earlier this year and has been picked up by VH1. You can watch the trailer below.

Yeah, I’ll download watch that. I wasn’t even much of a Napster user—the uneven quality of recordings always used to bug me—but the story is a fascinating one. You might also be familiar with the man behind the movie: Alex Winter. Yes, that Alex Winter, of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure fame. Thanks to Gizmodo for the tip.

Comments closed
    • floodo1
    • 7 years ago

    “VH1 Rock Docs” is the studio that picked this movie up? wow. “well you see this is about trading music, so it’s relevant” /laugh.

    Anyway, I love the guy who said “My response, I couldn’t type it fast enough: DONT TAKE THE MONEY. You DON’T have a business”

    It’s also fascinating to see what the people involved said / say. It’s awesome that you have one good idea and then you get to be heard, no matter how much of a nut job you are “We wanted a way for users to connect over the music” …. REALLY? In what way did Napster let you ‘connect’ to other people (in the sense in which he intends it)

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    Despite having ethernet in my off-campus apartment at the time, I wasn’t a Napster user because sadly I only had an 8GB HDD and couldn’t afford to buy a bigger one. Storage was *expensive* in the late 90s…just imagine if we’d had $0.05/GB hard drives back then! CD writers and discs were expensive too 🙁

    • Johnny5
    • 7 years ago

    ” I should of been on the cover of Wired Magazine. You know what he said? He said he named it “Napster” because it was his nickname because of the nappy hair under the hat. But he, it’s because I was NAPPING when he STOLE it from me! He didn’t even graduate! ”

    Everything I need to know about Napster I learned from The Italian Job, and The Social Network.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    Can’t believe I didn’t think to link this before (equally surprised nobody else has yet, either): [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGM8PT1eAvY<]Don't Download This Song[/url<]

    • tootercomputer
    • 7 years ago

    The other element of that revolution was the CD-R. Suddenly, you could burn a gazillion songs on a disk and pass it to your friends, play it on different computers, create party playlists. That CDs were floating around with free songs on them drove the music companies nuts.

    And then Apple showed up . . .

      • floodo1
      • 7 years ago

      You sure it wasn’t ONLY because of Napster??? hehe 🙂

      Great point. It wouldn’t have meant anything if you couldn’t easily move the songs that you downloaded around and play them in your car and stuff.

    • albundy
    • 7 years ago

    those were the days. once openNap was a must with the original servers taken down, there were so many other sources. audio galaxy thrived, while p2p apps like limewire, kazaa, bearshare, winmx, etc started up in droves! you better believe it was a revolution of sorts.

    • yogibbear
    • 7 years ago

    If google was an app instead of a website it’d basically be 1 peta times more effective than napster at obtaining anything and just as “hoodoo”… luckily that http:// protects it from the iron hand of the MAFIAA.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 7 years ago

      Google negotiates with them, and MAFIAA is stuck in legal hell, demanding much but getting little.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      Http has nothing to do with it, size of company is everything.

      The RIAA/MPAA knows as long as they go after smaller “pirate” organizations, most people won’t give a crap. If they went after google, they ridiculousness of their claims would be plainly evident for all to see.

        • Geistbar
        • 7 years ago

        The RIAA / MPAA don’t go after companies as big as Google because Google & co are big enough to actually provide a top of the line legal defense. Losing any major case would set legal precedent, making it that much more difficult to win cases against anyone, small or big.

        It’s the courtroom equivalent of bullying: they’re picking the targets they know they can beat 100% (or close to) of the time, and leaving alone anyone that could potentially fight back.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        I think he’s saying that Google qualifies as a ‘safe harbor’. So http:// might not mean anything on its own, but it’s not got anything to do with the size of the company. It’s also different from The Pirate Bay which was explicitly linked to copyright infringing files.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    Well if it features Bill S. Preston, Esq. you can sign me up.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 7 years ago

    EXCELLENT!

    ::Bnanaanaanuh::

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