All the rave, the Rise and Fall of Shawn Fanning’s Napster

Crown Business, ISBN 0-609-61093-7

Certainly, Napster is one of the most important phenomena ever expressed by the Net, not only for the earthquake which caused in the ultra-conservative musical industry, but especially for allowing a very large number of users (as many as 70 million) to share their own musical property. This essay of investigative journalism, written by a reporter of the Los Angeles Times, tells the detailed story of Shawn Fanning’s enterprise from the beginning, peeking behind the scenes. Even if centered on the human and business vicissitudes of the young protagonist, it’s a good cross-section of the vacuous dot com boom and of the beginning of the crusade against the free file sharing by the recording industry. The many ‘revelations’ in the text, such as the occult role played by Shawn’s uncle, have spurred a lot of debate, but what remains is a version of the economic and historical context where the troubled adventure of Napster played out. This text reinforces its emblematic aura, for the radical and decisive bifurcation the recording industry and the Internet users have taken, changing forever the distribution of music and its enjoyment.