Napster, From Freeware To Business Model

2725 words - 11 pages

Thesis

        Founded in 1999, by an eighteen year old college freshman Shawn Funning. Napster has quickly become the fastest growing piece of software in computer history. (media metrix).

        Napster is a computer software application that enables it's users to share compressed music files called mp3's freely over the internet. This practice has been deemed illegal by numerous industry leading corporations, claiming Napster is abetting the free exchange of copyrighted songs over the internet. Is Napster hurting the music industry? Does Napster affect CD sales? should Napster be shutdown for good? These are the types of questions put forth before three federal judges in California who will ultimately determine Napster's fate.

        I believe that Napster has nothing to gain and everything to lose if they continue to support piracy. Its clear to me that Napster needs a more business orientated approach to the situation. The first major step has been reached with the partnership with Bertelsmann (formally against Napster) to supply Napster with a large sum of capital to begin work on the "Napster network". Turning an enemy into a partner will surely aid in Napsters chance of survival. Let the "Napster network" begin.

The Pre-Business Day's

        Shawn Fanning attended northeastern college in Boston hoping to major in computer science. He was living in Kennedy hall, which is the honors hall on campus for freshman and was taking industry CS classes. Fanning describes his life as being just the average "Joe". "I spend my time doing school work, attending class and in my spare time I would work on other software, play basketball, go to the gym to workout, party, just hang out with friends" says 18 year old Fanning. It was here where Fanning came up with the idea for a computer program that Napster is today.

        Napster was created with the intent of simply helping one of Shawn's roommates, Matt, who was having difficulties downloading music off traditional web based search engines such as Lycos an yahoo. Seeing this problem Shawn decided to take on the project. Napster was originally a small project Fanning had worked on during his spare time, or when he as bored he would sit down and play around with it. He never really imagined it would be anything close to what it is today.

        Overtime Shawn eventually became engrossed in the Napster world and had to make a difficult decision between Napster or continuing his college degree at northeastern, ultimately he made the decision to leave northeastern to pursue something he felt at this point was going to be huge.

        Once Fanning left all his possessions and friends behind, he immediately went to his uncles office and began working on Napster vigorously. Shawn felt as thought completing Napster was a race against time for that he believed he felt similar to Microsoft's Bill Gates when making the windows operating system. He had...

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