Before I was became a highbrow, elitist composer, I was a wayward teenager of the late nineties. My clothes were baggier, my hair was highlighted, and my musical tastes were much, much worse. More importantly, I was one of the first teens to get his gawky hands on Napster, the icon of turn-of-the-century music sharing. For those of you who may need a refresher, Napster (as well as its fellows Limewire, Morpheus, Kazaa, etc.) were ways to anonymously and quickly download music files from other Napster users, while sharing your ever-growing collection with them. In the wake of the DMCA, and due largely to a well-funded smear campaign by the RIAA and many independent labels, these file-sharing giants dropped left and right, and most people, save for a dedicated contingent of online subversives, forgot about sharing music illegally.
People didn’t stop being people, though, and the market for software that makes music available free (legally or not) hasn’t gone away. (more…)