Created by Shawn Fanning and released in 1999, Napster allowed users to easily share songs with one another in the MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3) file format. From 1999 to 2001 Napster was famously involved in legal proceedings with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which was subsequently successful in forcing the P2P network to shut down.

Gordon (2005) writes:

"The music industry suffered as they had not anticipated or been proactive in the growth of music downloading as a method of distribution and of purchase. ‘Napster’, the software that allowed internet users to share music collections without reference to the music companies, was a severe wake up call."[1]

Napster has since changed ownership and is now run as a legal online music store for Internet users. In it's current incarnation Napster only provides services for Internet users from the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany. Internet users who visit the site from other countries are still able to browse the website, however they are able to listen to 30 second clips of music tracks.

1. Gordon, J. (2005). Summer 2005 Editorial. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. Retrieved from
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License