September 12, 2002

End the Trend?

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Thank God for Napster. It was beautiful, it was free, it was kind of illegal, and it was nixed a long time ago. Fueled by the bristling speed of college Ethernet and the insatiable hunger of music listeners everywhere, Napster redefined the way we now understand the dissemination of music. Napster created a new paradigm of distribution that realized the dreams of millions of music listeners then freely able to access, share, and download from a music library which spanned the hard drives of the globe, while the program also realized the worst nightmares of the record companies by undermining their ability to extract revenue from the spread of music and left the artists somewhere in the insurmountable area of gray between these two extremes without compensation.