It's official, Napster is dead
September 4, 2002 9:14 AM   Subscribe

It's official, Napster is dead as the company folds, reading to go Chapter 7. On the upside, this is possibly the best goodbye dotcom message ever.
posted by mathowie (40 comments total)
 
Why don't we all download a Metallica song tonight?
Just for good times' sake?
posted by matteo at 9:17 AM on September 4, 2002


From the article:
Napster's service was simple enough -- users logged on to its site, located music files that they wanted, and downloaded them to their own computers for free.

ARRGH! Even in death the press still can't get it right!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:22 AM on September 4, 2002


I'm glad Matt posted this, because I was afraid to. A fitting end and farewell to the original "killer application".

If we're sharing Napster stories - here's my wife's immediate reaction(s) when I first showed her the application and she understood the possibilities. In order, her responses were (1) "Ohmygod, now I see why the record companies are so scared of this." (2) "We have to get as much as we can before they shut it down." (3) "Go buy a CD burner - NOW!"
posted by yhbc at 9:22 AM on September 4, 2002


*sniff*
posted by adampsyche at 9:25 AM on September 4, 2002


I'm glad Matt posted this, because I was afraid to. A fitting end and farewell to the original "killer application".

Funny, I'd always thought desktop publishing was the original killer app. That just goes to show that us old timers have pretty foggy memories...
posted by shagoth at 9:25 AM on September 4, 2002


I thought one of the greatest achievements of Napster was to throw the doors open on file-sharing for popular programs like Photoshop. Why, why didn't they use photoshop? Perhaps they could have set the text "Napster" on fire with Alien Skin? Drop Shadows? I'm intrigued by the strong emotional mouse strokes that can only be duplicated by MS Paint however. Very retro. Also, I would like to know where I can now download this "ded kitty" band.
posted by Stan Chin at 9:26 AM on September 4, 2002




Yes, let's all shed a tear for Shawn Fanning and all of his fellow co-workers who still most likely have more goddamn money than I'll ever see in my life.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:41 AM on September 4, 2002


No, let's all shed a tear for millions of users losing the use of an innovative app, an app that could have someday compensated artists, charged for use, or something. Instead it died at the hands of the RIAA, before it had a chance to be something really revolutionary (a commerical app to find music by paying members).
posted by mathowie at 9:50 AM on September 4, 2002


I never liked napster that much, good riddence. Audiogalaxy was such a better system, and Direct Connect is now.
posted by corpse at 9:57 AM on September 4, 2002


Tonight I will light a candle as I delete the shortcut from my desktop...

I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever be given the opportunity to pay a reasonable amount of money for a reasonably usable on-line music service.
posted by JoanArkham at 9:59 AM on September 4, 2002


Good job RIAA. If they (RIAA) had have been smart, they could have more or less controlled file sharing on the internet, at least for the non-geeks.
Instead, now everyone gets his or her free music in a variety of more complicated and less reliable ways. It's like sweeping dirt under the rug and pretending the floor is clean.
Idiots.
posted by Fabulon7 at 10:02 AM on September 4, 2002


JoanArkham: 1) Free. 2) IRC. Very reasonable price, not very reasonable usability, but you could get used to it, if you had to...
posted by Fabulon7 at 10:06 AM on September 4, 2002


Oh, and emusic isn't that bad, really, unless you like stuff that isn't in their catalogue... It's price is reasonable and it's site is well organized.
posted by Fabulon7 at 10:07 AM on September 4, 2002


I never liked napster that much, good riddence. Audiogalaxy was such a better system...

Napster came out long before AudioGalaxy, which was and is spyware-riddled crap. My favorite service was Scour Exchange, now buried in the annals of filesharing history among countless others. KaZaA Lite does just fine these days; far better than slow-as-hell Gnutella clients.
posted by Danelope at 10:09 AM on September 4, 2002


Napster's service was simple enough -- users logged on to its site, located music files that they wanted, and downloaded them to their own computers for free.

ARRGH! Even in death the press still can't get it right!


Working backward, Napster didn't charge a fee, allowed users to locate music files and download them to their own computers, and the client required a login and password through Napster's central server. Where's the error?
posted by hilker at 10:34 AM on September 4, 2002


The bad news is that we the public lose out on the chance to pay $5 or $10 a month to download every song from the history of popular music.

The good news is that the RIAA labels aren't going to get back the millions of dollars they have spent in legal fees, neither are they going to get any damages from Napster. And they turned down the $200 million a year offer that Napster made some time back- meanwhile Pressplay and MusicNet are so poor that they lose money hand over fist and barely have any subscribers at all.

A pyrrhic victory!

[Hilker - you know where the error is. Napster users didn't log on to its site but to the network to download files]
posted by skylar at 10:37 AM on September 4, 2002


I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever be given the opportunity to pay a reasonable amount of money for a reasonably usable on-line music service.

If you like music from indie labels, I'm currently enjoying a subscription to emusic. Not the selection you'll find on a p2p service, but very good for jazz and soul (apparently the entire Stax records catalog) and pretty good for indie rock. And the usability is excellent, I'd say on a par with audiogalaxy (we hardly knew her...). I'm surprised there's not more buzz about them, considering they're the only service I know of who's actually charging money.

Nobody will ever match the usability of Audiogalaxy for my money (well, not actual *money* mind you...), but my plug for the best p2p out there right now is winmx. Regrettably win32 only, but an OK app if you can forgive that.
posted by steviehero at 10:47 AM on September 4, 2002


Danelope- yes, Audiogalaxy was chock full of spyware- if you ran their client. If you used one of the alternate clients you were spyware free, much like KaZaA Lite is an alternate client for KaZaA. And KaZaA has nowhere near the variety of songs Audiogalaxy had.
posted by dogwelder at 10:51 AM on September 4, 2002


Problem with emusic...128Kbps
posted by deathofme at 10:52 AM on September 4, 2002


you know where the error is. Napster users didn't log on to its site but to the network to download files

As I said, all Napster sessions were mediated by Napster's servers (unlike decentralized networks such as Gnutella), and Napster required a username and password for access. If the article had claimed that users logged on to Napster's website to find files, it would have been wrong, but "site" is nonspecific enough to be correct. Yes, the files actually came from other users' computers, but the listings of those files' locations did come from Napster.

As an aside, am I the only person who can't stand hearing "log on" as a synonym for "visit" or "view" a website? I "log on" to my bank's website to check my account balance. I "log on" to Metafilter so I can post. I "log on" to nytimes.com because they require it. I don't "log on" to cnn.com, msnbc.com, or any other public, non-password-protected site.
posted by hilker at 10:58 AM on September 4, 2002


.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:11 AM on September 4, 2002


I'm glad Matt posted this, because I was afraid to

Afraid of RIAA goons?
posted by matteo at 11:20 AM on September 4, 2002


Fabulon7 - I'm using KaZaA Lite right now, but I'd rather spend a few bucks for improved quality controls and security.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2002


The funny thing I'm wondering, with all the hoo-hah various organizations make about P2P applications (I never use(d) any of them. Ever. Well, all right, maybe Scour), and how many of them seem to be dying or hamstrung, is why everyone's missing the biggest file sharing service of them all.

Everything you ever wanted and more is available on Usenet. While the RIAA and various movie studios (from San Fernando to Hollywood) make noises and send out the infrequent (relatively speaking) cease and desist order to people posting stuff illegally there, the traffic in binaries over Usenet only continues to increase. Now that DVD-ROM drives are standard in many computers, and it's easier than ever to rip DVDs, it seems like this would be a HUGE piece of Prime Rib for RIAA to be gnawing on. But they don't.

They're know they can't stop it, is my feeling. So they ignore it.
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:46 AM on September 4, 2002


I'm actually afraid of mentioning my favorite p2p network for fear of people actually starting to pay attention to it. The selection is amazing, it has an OpenNap interface, and seems to be going strong.

I don't "log on" to cnn.com, msnbc.com, or any other public, non-password-protected site.

Agreed. In fact, I hear that an awful lot from the pointy-headed management types. Those are the same people that insist on using the term "on line" to describe where they're at when they're waiting at the DMV or Disney World. It's like the Technical Word Shuffle.
posted by thanotopsis at 11:46 AM on September 4, 2002


re: "on line". This is a new york thing that predates the internet, I'm quite sure ("standing on line" rather than "in line"). It sounds stupid to me but what do I know, I live in the Bay Area.
posted by akmonday at 12:20 PM on September 4, 2002


Working backward, Napster didn't charge a fee, allowed users to locate music files and download them to their own computers, and the client required a login and password through Napster's central server. Where's the error?

The error is in not making it clear that the files were located on other people's computers, not napster.com. If people don't have a clear mental picture of the architecture, there's no way they're going to pick up on the legal complexities involved, and no way they're going to be able to participate in the debate over fair use and property rights. This kind of oversimplification is good for the RIAA etc., bad for consumers/citizens.
posted by davidfg at 1:50 PM on September 4, 2002


I'd always thought desktop publishing was the original killer app.

The original microcomputer killer app was the spreadsheet. Sold a boatload of Apple IIs, which was for a long time the only machine on which you could run VisiCalc.
posted by kindall at 2:06 PM on September 4, 2002


They misspelled "dead."
posted by rushmc at 2:11 PM on September 4, 2002


The error is in not making it clear that the files were located on other people's computers, not napster.com.

The article calls Napster a "song-swap service" twice, says that "users flocked to the service to trade" music, and contrasts Napster with Gnutella and other services that "connect music fans directly to each other's computers rather than routing swapping files through centralized servers" (emphasis mine). They could have dumbed it down a little more but they hardly misrepresented Napster.
posted by hilker at 2:25 PM on September 4, 2002


kindall: i thought it was Mac Paint myself but visicalc definatly was a killer app.
posted by nedrichards at 2:53 PM on September 4, 2002


re: "on line". This is a new york thing that predates the internet, I'm quite sure ("standing on line" rather than "in line").

Right -- my Polish grandfather always said "standing on line," along with "close the lights" and "make a party." Hooray for Yinglish.
posted by picopebbles at 4:38 PM on September 4, 2002


Visicalc was out years before any Mac application and, assuming "killer app" is defined as "an application that is so compelling people will buy computers just to run it," it was the first to ever run on a personal computer. To give you some idea of how early it was, the computer it originally ran on didn't even have up and down arrow keys. You had to whack the space bar to change the left and right arrow keys between horizontal and vertical movement. Try to imagine a computer with no mouse... and arrow keys that allowed only one axis of movement. ;)
posted by kindall at 5:06 PM on September 4, 2002


They could have dumbed it down a little more but they hardly misrepresented Napster.
to the average schmuck, the files may as well have been falling out of bill gates ass.
posted by quonsar at 5:36 PM on September 4, 2002


I don't think the sentence lupus_yonderboy quoted is so horribly wrong, but the section of the article hilker referenced is pretty bad:

During its period offline, Napster also saw its star wane among online music fans, many of whom have turned to Gnutella, Aimster, Kazaa and other peer-to-peer music exchange programs that connect music fans directly to each other's computers rather than routing swapping files through centralized servers.

All of these services have some form of centralized server -- the difference is whether the server is used for file discovery (napster) or peer discovery (gnutella and kazaa). In neither case are the swapped files "routed" through centralized servers.

In any case, expecting the press to understand the architecture of these systems is unrealistic and unnecessary. I'd much rather have them understand the inverse relationship between mp3 usage and the economic value of music CD's.

hilker: uni 90?
posted by precipice at 5:42 PM on September 4, 2002


Yes. Hi, Marc. My address is in my profile if you feel like catching up.
posted by hilker at 7:20 PM on September 4, 2002


The first killer app. No really, it was Visicalc.
posted by jedro at 5:08 AM on September 5, 2002


Akmonday: It sounded stupid to me too before I moved to NYC. Now I catch myself saying it. Oy.
posted by languagehat at 8:45 AM on September 5, 2002


It seems that the "goodbye message" has been replaced by a "work in progress" animated image. Maybe something is in the works after all...  (yeah, I know - who cares?)
posted by kchristidis at 4:19 PM on September 7, 2002


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