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All The Rave

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the craziness dept.

Businesses 310

livegoats writes "No self-respecting culture maven can deny their love affair with Napster. If you weren't spending your spare time in the years 99-00 downloading MP3s like a champ, it's likely you were still in diapers or dancing with wolves. Oh, Napster, we loved ye when. Joseph Menn's All The Rave: The Rise and Fall of Shawn Fanning's Napster carefully chronicles the life of the company -- from its age of innocence, though its battle with the powerful music industry, to its slow unraveling in 2001, a foreshadowing event for the rest of the dot-com world." Read on for Livegoats' review.

One thing's certain: Menn, who covered Silicon Valley for the Los Angeles Times, meticulously researched his subject. The book is loaded with facts and figures, but more impressive is the level of National Enquirer-worthy details Menn milked from mountains of transcripts and one-on-one interviews.

Menn's discoveries can be described as nothing less than shocking, at least for anyone who hasn't followed the story blow-by-blow. We learn about Shawn's money-grubbing uncle, John Fanning, whose shady business practices cost the company numerous investors, but also the respect of his own family. Menn writes that at first Shawn Fanning was pleased when his uncle drew up papers incorporating Napster, Inc. Then the elder Fanning told Shawn he would be getting only 30 percent of the company. John Fanning would keep the rest. Shawn was stunned.

Menn also exposes Napster executives' ignorance of copyright laws, the company's pay-off to rapper Chuck D so he would publicly support file sharing and rockstress Courtney Love's flirtations with Shawn, whom she once introduced at an award show as her future husband.

With a boatload of rock stars and other curious characters, you'd think the spectacle of it all would overshadow the book's business patois. Menn attempts, valiantly, to do so, but it's still evident that All the Rave is a long-handed exercise in business reporting rather than a drama-filled account. There is little surprise in the overarching Napster story because most readers will know how the story ends before cracking open the front cover.

If you're still committed to All the Rave, the best reading takes place in two separate sections: the first on the peer-to-peer program's incubation, and the second on Napster's attempt to take on the well-muscled music industry.

In Chapters 1 and 2, Menn introduces Shawn Fanning, an unassuming high school kid who comes from humble beginnings. Though his life doesn't exactly make for a Horatio Alger story, it's interesting to see how Shawn stops pursuing a sports scholarship for college and instead focuses on computer programming.

After his uncle John gives Shawn his first computer, the aw-shucks kid from Massachusetts comes across a brilliant idea, peer-to-peer file sharing, which he develops with the help of friends in several online communities. The story is touching, and it's fascinating to take a behind-the-scenes look at how the program originated, first through Shawn and then as the product of a tight-knit online community.

Techies of all stripes will be amused as Menn attempts to make computer programming jargon edible to the mainstream reader. Just imagine explaining terms like IRC and warez to your grandma, and you'll have a good idea of the language in these beginning chapters. Despite a few cornball explanations, however, it's still refreshing to see past Napster's media hype and to see Napster for what it started as: a labor of love created by a kid who wanted nothing more than to take advantage of the online universe.

Following chapters barrel through the company's beginnings, dedicating much space to vilifying John Fanning, who seems to deserve every bit of consternation the reading public can muster. After the shock of the elder Fanning's behavior wears off, however, you'll find yourself dragging through painfully detailed accounts of acquiring executive and meetings with skeptical venture capitalists. Anyone who isn't utilizing All the Rave as a handbook on how not to run a business can skip to Chapter 7, in which Menn shifts the book's focus to Napster's delicate dance with the music industry. It's a Davey and Goliath tale for the 21st century. To accent the vastness of the undertaking, Menn dishes out a brief history of the music biz, offering such a compelling analysis of the Napster/music industry camps that it could easily be expanded to fill an entirely different book.

If you don't want to read at all, you can simply look at the pretty pictures midway through the book. Talk about a yearbook: there are pictures of Shawn's hacker pals, a photo of a wilting Lars Ullrich from Metallica, Jack Valenti and other corporate clowns, smiling like there was something to be happy about.

And maybe there was. In the end, Menn shows how Napster was, like other dot-coms, "little more than a publicly supported pyramid scheme, built on the long-true presumption that an even dumber investor was just down the road."

If you want a solid study on copyright law and running a business, Menn's read will not disappoint. If you're looking for a fluffy piece of literature that will keep you awake into the wee hours, try the one with the bespectacled boy on the cover. You probably know the one I'm talking about -- Harry something or other...


You can purchase All the Rave from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Theft is Theft (-1)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443539)

That is all...suck my balls.

Re:Theft is Theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443640)

right you are sir. good show.

--sa

Re:Theft is Theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443852)

Fact : x86 is dying

It is official; A Monastery of Brazillian Nuns confirms: x86 is dying One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered x86 community when IDC confirmed that x86 market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent A Monastery of Brazillian Nuns survey which plainly states that x86 has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. x86 is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a The Pope to predict x86's future. The hand writing is on the wall: x86 faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for x86 because x86 is dying. Things are looking very bad for x86. As many of us are already aware, x86 continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

AMD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time AMD developers God, Jesus only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: AMD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Intel leader Santa Claus, Satan, and My mate Jason states that there are 7000 users of Intel. How many users of Transmeta are there? Let's see. The number of Intel versus Transmeta posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 Transmeta users. IBM posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of Transmeta posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of IBM. A recent article put AMD at about 80 percent of the x86 market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 AMD users. This is consistent with the number of AMD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Compaq, abysmal sales and so on, AMD went out of business and was taken over by Dell who sell another troubled OS. Now Dell is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that x86 has steadily declined in market share. x86 is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If x86 is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. x86 continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, x86 is dead.

Fact: x86 is dying

You know what? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443541)

It takes me just about twenty seconds to type this...

Re:You know what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443693)

What would be a good movie for me to pick up at the rental tonight? I'm kind of in the mood for an off the beaten path comedy, such as Twin Town or Suicide Kings.

Re:You know what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443752)

"Jake Speed" -- teh best movie evar! Better than "Pulp Fiction"!

And "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins" if you're up for a double feature.

Re:You know what? (0, Offtopic)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443808)

A couple of suggestions which in my opinion are "off the beaten path" comedy:

Grosse Pointe Blank (the humor in contract killing)
Very Bad Things (who knew dead hookers and amputation could be so funny)

if you like LOTR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443839)

you'll LOVE Meet The Feebles. it's like the Muppets, if Jim Henson huffed butane.

8====D( * )sexxxualasspussy

Re:You know what? (0, Offtopic)

Trigun (685027) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443894)

'Hell comes to Frogtown', starring Rowdy Roddy Piper. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where frogs have mutated into humanoids.

The king frog kidnaps six fertile females, which are worth a fortune due to the fact that radiation has rendered most people infertile, and Sam Hell (Rowdy Roddy Piper) is recruited to go to frogtown, rescue them, and then hump their brains out until they're pregnant.

Some swearing, a little bit of nudity, a whole lot of laughs. All in all, I give it a two thumbs up for camp value. A lighthearted and fun movie. If you like beer and hate frogs, well then sir, you just found your rental!

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443542)

Please?

You are teh suck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443581)

YOU FAIL IT!

Re:fp (0)

fussman (607784) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443583)

one does not ask for an fp

Wha??? (5, Funny)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443548)

No self-respecting culture maven can deny their love affair with Napster. If you weren't spending your spare time in the years 99-00 downloading MP3s like a champ, it's likely you were still in diapers or dancing with wolves. Oh, Napster, we loved ye when.

When the hell did Jon Katz start submitting slashdot articles again?

GMD

Re:Wha??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443586)

You know, I saw Jon Katz on FOXNEWS the other morning pimping some book he wrote about dog lovers. About women who replace ex-boyfriends or husbands with loyal dogs and then when they get a new boyfriend, they ditch the dogs at a shelter like a used vibrator.

But on to the topic at hand -- um... I really never used Napster. I tried once and found that it didn't really have much worth downloading. Napster was good if you only wanted the top-40 of the day and didn't care if you got a song that was mislabeled, corrupted, incomplete or otherwise not worth a normal person's time.

I did all my music sharing via private FTP. Anyone who suggests every self respecting person used Napster is a fucking moron. This is probably the same type of person who brags about having AOL as their ISP.

Re:Wha??? (4, Interesting)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443735)

But on to the topic at hand -- um... I really never used Napster. I tried once and found that it didn't really have much worth downloading. Napster was good if you only wanted the top-40 of the day and didn't care if you got a song that was mislabeled, corrupted, incomplete or otherwise not worth a normal person's time.

Really? I always thought it was pretty good at helping me find obscure stuff I never would have thought of. I remember being bored one time and doing a search for "Star Trek" audio files. It popped up with a song named "Futile (Star Trek mix)" by a band named "Velvet Acid Christ". The Star Trek reference was because the song contained numerous samples from the ST:TNG episode "Best of Both Worlds" dealing with Picard's abduction by the Borg. I listened to the song and thought it was pretty cool. So I started looking around for more info on this band.

Needless to say, I would have never even heard of Velvet Acid Christ if it wasn't for Napster and the ability to search for any keyword whatsoever.

GMD

Re:Wha??? (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443630)

No shit. livegoats [slashdot.org] just made it to my foes list. What a moron.

Re:Wha??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443725)

It puts the lotion in the basket.

Re:Wha??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443787)

It puts the lotion in the basket!

Re:Wha??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443838)

PUT THE LOTION IN THE FUCKING BASKET!!

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!

Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Re:Wha??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443907)

It puts the lotion in the basket or it gets the hose!

Re:Wha??? (4, Interesting)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443782)

No shit. livegoats just made it to my foes list. What a moron.

That opening blurb just reeked of the same amateurish journalistic style as Katz. I don't see why he felt it necessary to make such a sweeping, rediculous and borderline insulting statement to start his review. Is it to try to convince us that Napster was some kind of important historical phenomenon and, therefore, we should read this review of a book about it? And if we didn't use Napster we were infants in diapers? Please. That kind of nonsense is not the way to start off any kind of article. That's pretty much the same kind of statement as Katz' "We can all agree that Columbine has changed the way that every single human being on the planet thinks about public education."

Story submitters: it's not necessary to try to place your articles in a larger context. We can do that for ourselves.

GMD

Re:Wha??? (2, Insightful)

Kai_MH (632216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443703)

That's kind of off-topic, yes? Who cares, anyways? The book review is here, and now I must go out and find this book.
I for one loved Napster, and continue to love Kazaa and IMesh, though they suck compared to Napster. Napster is the one... true... lust... I must have it back!

Re:Wha??? (1, Flamebait)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443941)

Culture? That's not culture. Anything that you have to go to the store to buy, packaged in cellophane on a CD is not culture.

Culture is a part of who we are, and is free for any person to claim, just by being born and living in a society. To think that culture comes in a box or over a DSL line is just stupid.

I didn't spend 99-00 downloading from napster (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443556)

I was stuck on a 56k pay-per-minute modem back then. It was cheaper to buy CDs. I'm making up for it on DC now that I have 10Mbit though.

Me too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443654)

...but I did get one song that I alreadyhad on vinyl: I'm the Urban Spaceman by the Bonzo Dog Do-Dah Band.

savenapster.com hack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443567)

In the book it details the story of the savenapster.com hack. Pretty interesting that one of Napster's own did the hack (this was after savenapster.com gave the finger to napster).

Decent book review (5, Funny)

preric (689159) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443568)

I've already read this, and would say that's a pretty decent review, once you get around the fact that you just PAID for a book about napster

Re:Decent book review (1)

kzadot (249737) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443677)

I will grab a copy once I see it on #bookz on undernet. That way I wont pretend to like it to justify my expense. I will be able to form an objective opinion. Its open source right? Well.. I havent seen a license suggesting otherwise, and it IS about napster.

Re:Decent book review (4, Funny)

reallocate (142797) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443729)

Maybe you oughta shoplift it. After all, that was the napster business plan.

The GNAA is GAY! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443571)

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You are teh SUCK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443633)

YOU FAIL IT!

This post brough to you by a proud member of the GNAA!

Interesting.. (1, Troll)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443573)


Today we glamourize criminal behaviour the way they did for Bonnie & Clyde or Billy the Kid years earlier. Not to say downloading MP3s is tantamount to murder :)

Billy the Kid was a tenderfoot from New York. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443756)

And he backshot his victims.

grub: go home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443829)



You're not funny, not loved, etc.

Re:Interesting.. (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443859)

Yeah, but in this case the criminals write the laws, or live in hollywood.

Re:Interesting.. (3, Insightful)

wzm (644503) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443922)

And that was a similar situation, interesting comparison. Bonnie & Clyde, Dillinger, etc. were all worshiped as heros, because the banks of the period appeared to have screwed over the common man, both through the events of the dust bowl (evicting people from their homes), and at the start of the depression, with the stock market collapse. Gangsters were viewed as fighting back for the common man.

Maybe people doing the same thing for groups such as Napster implies that a similar sentiment exists towards the RIAA/MPAA etc. Obviously the "crime" of those media industries is far less (abuse of artists, homogenization of radio, high costs), but a similar, though smaller, backlash is present.

Culture maven (3, Insightful)

easter1916 (452058) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443585)

A few points:
1) The word maven is very irritating
2) I used Napster only a handful of times because I regard illegal filesharing as theft
3) I don't consider myself a culture "maven" but I am into music
4) Dancing with wolves? What on earth are you talking about?

Re:Culture maven (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443647)

Copyright infringement, yes. Illegal, yes. Theft, no.

Re:Culture maven (3, Insightful)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443702)

2) I used Napster only a handful of times because I regard illegal filesharing as theft

It's not theft, but it is stealing. Theft is removing property, so that every part of the property is removed from it's former position. Steal is to take without right or leave the property of another.

My grassroots campaign to try to get people to acknowledge they are, in fact, stealing when they download music without license to that media. Join my campaign :)

3) I don't consider myself a culture "maven" but I am into music

I consider myself a culture muppet, and I love music.

4) Dancing with wolves? What on earth are you talking about?

Jon Katz, describing hippies.

Re:Culture maven (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443867)

1) agreed
2) I have never used napster(or any other P2P)
3) I like music, but can take it or leave it. Silence is often better.
4) Hehehe

Re:Culture maven (4, Funny)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443917)

So you only stole files a few times? Hey I only beat a few people up so I'm clean like you..

The other sick depraved bastards stealing music from the mouths of those poor music industry blue-collar types. Not us though, me and you are the last of our type.

Re:Culture maven (1)

easter1916 (452058) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443951)

If you're running around the place beating people up, I suggest you get help.

diaper/wolves (1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443587)

""If you weren't spending your spare time in the years 99-00 downloading MP3s like a champ, it's likely you were still in diapers or dancing with wolves. ""

Or maybe I was a practising technology lawyer lawfully earning six figures between salary and bonuses by serving techies who were grown-ups and maybe I was actually buying whatever the hell interested me, including music and movies.

Re:diaper/wolves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443663)

maybe I was a practising technology lawyer lawfully earning six figures between salary and bonuses by serving techies who were grown-ups and maybe I was actually buying whatever the hell interested me, including music and movies.

But you weren't. You were in diapers. Just admit it. Its OK. Really.

What's the appeal (1, Interesting)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443594)

I never understood the appeal of Napster. I tried to use it a few times, but the signal to noise ratio was so pathetic it wasn't worth the effort. Nice try, interesting concept, largely unusable in my experience.

You strike me as.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443850)

one of those people who just make this statement to appear "uber". Was the signal-to-noise ratio really that bad? Only on really bad and/or low encodings have I ever been able to hear the differnce. Then the is there fact that I am willing to accept some quality loss when listening on my computer. I know I can get better (maybe even cheap) speakers, but I don't really want to. When I want to hear a good recording of Muddy Watters I break out the wax. I feel the urge to go on some more and some more facts and figures and details, then I realized I fell for you troll and am so ashamed that I will post this in a cowardly fashion.

Regretfully Yours,

AC

Re:What's the appeal (3, Interesting)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443936)

"I never understood the appeal of Napster. I tried to use it a few times, but the signal to noise ratio was so pathetic it wasn't worth the effort. Nice try, interesting concept, largely unusable in my experience."

This is why I love bittorrent. It's not one large searchable network but the signal to noise ratio is extremely good. I have never gotten anything that was mislabelled and the actual quality of what you download is really high. And if you go to one of the 'torrent sites' you can search a large number of back-archives of old torrents, effectively creating a lot of searchable mini-torrent networks. Different sites specialise in different thigns: Apps, Movies, Music, Anime, Pr0n, etc. And no, I will not overload my favourite sites by providing links here. Go an google for them.

The other great thing about bittorrent is that there is a lot more 'sharing ethics' in the community. People seed files using their own bandwidth just for the heck of it, they don't just download and disconnect. One 2 GB Anime chunk I finished downloading 10 hours ago is still seeding on my machine because I want to help other people get it. I would have have shared something like that on Napster or Kazaa.

Diapers? (2, Insightful)

KillerHamster (645942) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443600)

If you weren't spending your spare time in the years 99-00 downloading MP3s like a champ, it's likely you were still in diapers or dancing with wolves.

Or maybe you hadn't yet convinced your old-fashioned parents to buy a computer...

Re:Diapers? (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443811)

Or maybe you were bright enough to get all the mp3s you ever wanted back in '96...

wolves? (4, Insightful)

sporty (27564) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443604)


If you weren't spending your spare time in the years 99-00 downloading MP3s like a champ, it's likely you were still in diapers or dancing with wolves. Oh, Napster, we loved ye when.


Or using ftp, irc or usenet. Or not using them at all.

I prefer whole albums myself. Napster never made that easy.

Re:wolves? (2, Insightful)

retto (668183) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443896)

What abuot Scour? Or just burning the CD?

In 99-00 I was in college and Napster was blocked there, but Scour and iMesh weren't. I never did try Napster.

Of course, just coping the CD from someone will a helluva lot easier.

Re:wolves? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443947)

I thought the argument was that albums only have one good song on them, so they arent worth having, and thus the need for r337 0-d4y mp3z0rz.

Davey and Goliath? (0)

skidrowe (688747) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443612)

"It's a Davey and Goliath tale for the 21st century. " Wow...while this could be a good comparison, Davey seems to lose in this situation, which doesn't fit with the Bible...maybe a better comparison would be...hmm...the battle between me and the ant on the ground?

"The Italian Job" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443614)

Lyle [imdb.com] can tell you why it's really called "Napster"!!!!

Re:"The Italian Job" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443797)

Did you know that movie was fiction?
Maybe you are trying to be funny.

Napster (0, Flamebait)

kzadot (249737) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443618)

Hi. I would just like to say Napster sucked. The opening paragraph makes it sound like all the legends were using napster.

The legends were getting shit off IRC, and later on bittorrent, and/or trading privately amongst themselves.

Only windows kiddies (like those that use kazaa now) were using napster.

Thanks

Re:Napster (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443795)

Um, Napster was good for getting that 'one song' you heard on the radio - basically, a sample of a band that you heard of or about. I dont think many people used it to download ALBUMS. And "the legends were getting shit off IRC"? Wtf is a legend? Sorry guy, irc is farther down on the pirate food chain then you probably realize. Any monkey can sit in some fucking efnet room, waiting for a XDCC xfer. A "legend" as you put it would getting things off 0day's and using credits, not idling in chatrooms or bittorrent (lol, bittorrent).

Re:Napster (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443893)

The legends were getting shit off IRC, and later on bittorrent, and/or trading privately amongst themselves.

You forgot Usenet...alt.binaries.sounds.mp3* 0wnz j00.

Ahh the good old days... (4, Funny)

mtrupe (156137) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443627)

Its such a shame how we cannot get free music anymore now that Napster is dead. Err, uh. Nevermind.

not me (2, Funny)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443631)

"No self-respecting culture maven can deny their love affair with Napster. If you weren't spending your spare time in the years 99-00 downloading MP3s like a champ, it's likely you were still in diapers or dancing with wolves."

Or on dialup. 28.8 dialup. On a 5 machine home LAN.

It is painful living in a rural area, there's still no broadband.

Napster will be remembered as brilliant (3, Interesting)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443635)

I can't think of a better way to find out about a new band than on Napster (the way it was). I heard about numerous bands that I would have had no exposure to otherwise. While I think it is wrong to steal people's work, I think it is really important for music to circulate to its audience -- If Napster could sell ads, why couldn't they just use that to pay royalties? Besides, for the 999th time, no one is paying 18 bucks for a CD with one good song on it.

Shawn's computer pals (4, Interesting)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443636)

After his uncle John gives Shawn his first computer, the aw-shucks kid from Massachusetts comes across a brilliant idea, peer-to-peer file sharing, which he develops with the help of friends in several online communities. The story is touching, and it's fascinating to take a behind-the-scenes look at how the program originated, first through Shawn and then as the product of a tight-knit online community.

Did the members of this "tight-knit online community" become employees of Napster Inc. or did Shawn just ditch them once he realized just how big a thing p2p could be? I'm not trolling, I'm asking. I don't recall Shawn giving a lot of public thanks to his computer buddies during Napster's hayday.

GMD

Re:Shawn's computer pals (5, Informative)

dr ttol (674155) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443721)

Yeah. One of them is Jordan Ritter who is also a co-founder. He actually did all the backend server stuff. He's now over at Cloudmark doing the SpamNet thing, which is pretty big. And yes, I did some stuff for Napster. Jordan rules by the way.

then why would I? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443638)

If you don't want to read at all, you can simply look at the pretty pictures midway through the book. Talk about a yearbook: there are pictures of Shawn's hacker pals, a photo of a wilting Lars Ullrich from Metallica, Jack Valenti and other corporate clowns, smiling like there was something to be happy about.

Uh... then why would I buy it?

All the Wha?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443646)


Uhm..isn't the usual idiom "All the rage?"

Unless there's a pun here I'm not aware.

Re:All the Wha?? (1)

easter1916 (452058) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443659)

Maybe rave as in rave music? I didn't get that either.

Re:All the Wha?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443814)

all the rave about napster...

Napster changed my life (2, Interesting)

Jad LaFields (607990) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443655)

I essentially didn't listen to music before napster. The occaisional random CD, but I (for some reason) never listened to the radio, never watched MTV, etc., and was pretty much entirely out of the loop regarding popular music. Actually even unpopular music.

Now I have a 20gig mp3 that I quite literally carry around with me *everywhere* and I have a much more diverse music tastes (can listen to rap-rock, baroque, ska, and big-beat sequentially without batting an eye) than I could ever have gotten through normal music-discovering means (radio, MTV).

Thank you Napster.

MTV has RAPED our musical heritage. (1)

truthhurts1 (689438) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443717)

What a big lie calling themselves music television when they only target their music to 13 year old teen girls. That demographic pays their bills. Just don't call it MTV. Call Clearasel-TV.

Do they ever play classic videos or legendary music ? No . BACKstreet,Nsync, Gaysync.....whatever. Bullshit , if you ask me.

Napster? Feh. (0, Redundant)

RatBastard (949) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443664)

I consider the copying of music and other digital media to which I do not own the copyright or to which I have not been given the express permission by the owner of said copyright to be theft.

Re:Napster? Feh. (5, Insightful)

tuffy (10202) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443731)

I consider the copying of music and other digital media to which I do not own the copyright or to which I have not been given the express permission by the owner of said copyright to be theft.

I consider wandering off with a CD I haven't paid for to be theft. I consider downloading songs I haven't paid for and don't have permission to download copyright infringement, because that's what it is. I don't consider either to be acceptable, but neither to I consider both of them to be identical.

Re:Napster? Feh. (1)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443771)

I consider the copying of music and other digital media to which I do not own the copyright or to which I have not been given the express permission by the owner of said copyright to be theft.

Just waiting for this to get modded -1:Troll, while this [slashdot.org]
and even if you are tired of hearing it, it doesn't make it any less true:

ALL COPYRIGHT = GREED
and copying music is NOT stealing in any sense of the word "stealing"
PERIOD
gets modded +1:Insightful

--

you know it's true (0, Troll)

shoot speed kill lig (670346) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443666)

and even if you are tired of hearing it, it doesn't make it any less true:

ALL COPYRIGHT = GREED

and copying music is NOT stealing in any sense of the word "stealing"

PERIOD

HAHA! (1)

RatBastard (949) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443799)

Sweet Jesus! Let me catch my breath! HAHHAHAH! Oh, crap! I can't stop laughing! HAHAHAHA!

And we all know that the wholesale copying of material you do not have a legal right to, and for which you have not paid for is, at best, rampaging selfishness.

You have the gall to call their actions "greed" when you are committing the exact same sin (for lack of a better word).

Whatever, Beavis.

Re:you know it's true (2, Informative)

egomaniac (105476) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443815)

and copying music is NOT stealing in any sense of the word "stealing"

Excerpt from Merriam Webster:

steal, v:

1 : to take the property of another wrongfully and especially as an habitual or regular practice

...

1 a : to take or appropriate without right or leave and with intent to keep or make use of wrongfully


Sounds like stealing to me. Of course, next you're going to argue that the first definition doesn't apply, because music isn't "property". Thankfully, I've got that covered too.

property, n:

2 c : something to which a person or business has a legal title

Next, you're going to argue that it still doesn't count, because you didn't "take" it, you just "made a copy of it", to which I answer: shut up. You didn't make the music, and you don't have a natural right to listen to it. I don't see what is so wrong about others expecting to be paid for their efforts, despite the fact that the product of those efforts is intangible. If you don't want to pay for it, feel free to not listen to it.

Re:you know it's true (1)

mopslik (688435) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443856)

and even if you are tired of hearing it, it doesn't make it any less true: ALL COPYRIGHT = GREED Copyright has a role in protecting Joe Average as well, not just big corporations. If I invested years of reasearch into developing a specific piece of software, only to have someone monopolistic company copy that code line-for-line and release it under a new moniker, I'd be pretty pissed off that they were taking away my revenue that easily. In this case, there would at least be a need for said company to invest some of their own time and money into developing a functional duplicate.

Re:you know it's true (2, Insightful)

Soko (17987) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443953)

and even if you are tired of hearing it, it doesn't make it any less true:

ALL COPYRIGHT = GREED


Really? So the GPL == GREED too? After all. the power of the GPL comes from Copyright Law, even though it's used to grant freedoms instead of restrict them.

and copying music is NOT stealing in any sense of the word "stealing"

PERIOD


Here nor there - it's still not legal. You're either on a crusade to "stick it to da man" or you yourself are GREEDY.

Kids. Sheesh.

Soko

Migration to Kazaa (1, Interesting)

dicepackage (526497) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443683)

I like how things have turned out. Kazaa is just as good as Napster was at getting music but you can do so much more. When you throw in video to the mix I would prefer Kazaa over Napster anyday.

oh yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443687)

$p->handler(start => \&start, 'attr, attrseq, text' );

Bring on the MPAA / RIAA discussions.. (3, Interesting)

saintjab (668572) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443697)

And the book isn't even about that. It's more of a post-mortem business analysis; and could/would prove very handy to someone looking to get into internet ventures. This is a great idea becaues it may help to broaden the pulic's (Joe Sixpack's) understanding of what is going on with all this online P2P contreversy stuff. It could prove very beneficial to the cause of P2P supporters; while maybe shedding some light on just how corrupt the music industries tactics can be. I think this is great idea for a book and there should be more like them.

Obligatory Towelie reference: (-1, Offtopic)

anakin357 (69114) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443699)

Commander: Don't you see what genetically enhanced smart towels like these are capable of? You get out of the shower and dry yourself off. But even after you're dry, the towel makes you more dry. It keeps getting you drier and drier. [his voice begins to deepen] Can you imagine it? What it would feel like to be way, way too dry? I'll tell you something: You don't want to know. And I don't know.
Kyle: And we don't care.

On a secondary note, Masters of Doom was the best biographical-ish type of geek book I've read in the past 21 years of my life.

Booooring. Read why... (0, Flamebait)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443700)

Whoptee doo. Napster was where you got songs for free. Guess they never shared music/movies with friends. Sharing like that was DECENTRALIZED, as was Usenet binary postings. All he did was make a library of all user content and then be a lookup agent.

Wow!. He created a search engine. And centralized at that so the whim of Mr. Judge could pull the plug.

Sounds like the book's a "WASTE". Wonder when you can get it on kazaa?

Probably redundant... (1)

Flabby Boohoo (606425) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443704)

But I avoided Napster like the plague. I stuck to my guns and continued to use IRC.

A buddy of mine told me about it back then, "Hey you gotta check this out! All the songs you could ever want!"

I found out that he registered the software and created the account using his real name. Makes it easy for the RIAA and the FBI... I wonder how many other knuckleheads have done that?

WinMX anyone? (1)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443723)

I use WinMX now [http://www.winmx.com]. It's so Napster-like, it's almost funny. The selection seems to be quite good and it has some nice feautres like multi-point downloads. But mostly, it's just like Napster. Woohoo.

Imagine... (0, Offtopic)

trevorrowe (689310) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443727)

a beowulf cluster of ... ouch! Haven't there been over a half-dozen Napster books written. Do we really need another?

All the rave... (1, Funny)

ihatesco (682485) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443737)

are belong to us.

99-00 ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6443744)

Do you possibly mean 1999 to 2000?
Let's please learn from Y2K.

I really hate it when ... (2, Interesting)

Chromodromic (668389) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443757)

... people refer to events that happened two years ago as something akin to "back in the days of yore" or as in this case "when loved ye when". Jesus. It was two fuckin' years ago.

Otherwise Napster Shnapster. Somehow, all the people I know are *still* getting buttloads of free music, and, somehow, I think they will continue to ...

Spare time waste (1)

ehiris (214677) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443763)

If you weren't spending your spare time in the years 99-00 downloading MP3s like a champ, it's likely you were still in diapers or dancing with wolves.

If you were spending your spare time downloading MP3s from Napster you were in total need of a situation which we humans refer to as a live.

Nerds will be nerds (1)

Koyaanisqatsi (581196) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443784)

it's interesting to see how Shawn stops pursuing a sports scholarship for college and instead focuses on computer programming.

Sounds familiar?

fschk Napster... (1)

jstn (672633) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443794)

Real h4x0rs user IRC to get their MP3s... because IRC ain't goin no where! Eh? - j

Napster is long dead, Opennap lives on. (4, Interesting)

Wally_bear (146080) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443826)

Sure, it's not as big as Napster in its heyday, or even Music City (running Opennap) before the traitors went to other things, but Opennap is still alive and kicking, I exclusively do my downloading from Opennap and Slavanap (ugh) servers.

As someone already mentioned (fairly cluelessly however) that WinMX is "napster like", it's connecting to Opennap servers and they likely don't even realize it.

Lopster [sf.net] and Lopster for windows [sf.net] are two clients I suggest, given your preferred OS (not sure what to suggest for Mac honestly..)

Sure, irc trading has gone on for years, BitTorrent recently, but at least on Opennap you can also chat and have some sort of knit community outside of a Forum.

Well... (1, Insightful)

Pinguu (677142) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443831)

I think I'll just download it on KaZaA ;)

Actually, I never liked Napster. (4, Insightful)

mcc (14761) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443901)

Except for a very very small block of time RIGHT before they shut down (during which time they were quite enjoyable to use and featured a wide variety of music) Napster always struck me as having shitty, uber-mainstream selection, annoying users, download speeds that seemed to almost always drop to 0.2k/s or just drop altogether once the file was half-downloaded, a total of zero users who were correctly reporting their (modem or cable?) download type, and an absolutely horrid (at least at first) macintosh implementation. Moreover, finding a full album on napster was absolutely impossible, badly encoded mp3s were everywhere, and WELL, WELL over half of all mp3s available on napster were incompletes-- but NONE were labelled as such.

I hated napster.

I spent the entire Napster period downloading mp3s, just as i had for a very very long time before Napster was ever invented-- from search.oth.net and other FTP-search based sources. Yeah, Ratio was a bitch, but at least you KNEW the server was going to stay up for a few hours at least, and you knew nobody was going to put an mp3 in their main collection if it was an incomplete.

Also, there was this convenient thing in that basically, the majority of ftp servers had a 1:5 U/D ratio set; the vast majority of ftp servers had exactly one file that i wanted to download of about 6 or 7 megabytes; and i had an mp3 of cookie monster singing "C is for Cookie, that's good enough for me" that was 1.5 megabytes. So i could zap up cookie monster, grab what i wanted, and get out quick. What was wierd, though, was that i think i started something; once i started doing this, the cookie monster mp3 started spreading quite a bit. I would sign onto mp3 servers i'd never been on before and find my cookie monster mp3 already there-- and not in the upload folder either, in the actual sorted mp3 collection. Hmmmm.. ^_^

Uh, and since i see to be admitting to illegal acts above: i downloaded mp3s solely to sample music which i was considering buying or which was not available in america, i was too young to be legally tried as an adult when the events described above happened, i never downloaded mp3s, this post is fiction posted for humorous purposes, i don't even know what an "mp3" is, and i don't own or know how to use a computer.

Oh, and slashdot claims that this is my 700th post posted with my account, though i notice a lot of my earlier ones aren't in the archive.

Foreshadowing? (1)

Ominous Armed Cow (547063) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443904)

Foreshadowing comes before, not during or after.

The tech market began it's implosion in April of 2000, about the same time that Judge Jackson laid the smackdown on MS. The twits on wall street fled in terror at the thought of chopping up MS, even though they should have been running for entirely different reasons. (i.e., a ridiculous amount of investment in crappy business 'ideas'.)

It's a Davey and Goliath tale for the 21st century (5, Funny)

haa...jesus christ (576980) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443914)

Uh, you should probably say 'David and Goliath'. 'Davey and Goliath' connotes Napster users as button-down Christians and the music industry as a big dumb dog.

Okay, it's half right.

I never liked Napster (1)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443930)

No self-respecting culture maven can deny their love affair with Napster. If you weren't spending your spare time in the years 99-00 downloading MP3s like a champ, it's likely you were still in diapers or dancing with wolves. Oh, Napster, we loved ye when.

I saw Napster (and the rest of them) as being for lamers. The fun was the hunt of the file...like a big game hunter in Africa. It was all about anonymous FTP for me. And when Napster was shut down, there were people moaning about not getting their MP3 fixes...whereas I still hunted the anony FTP sitez and found my prey (usually.) As P2P becomes more of a target and RIAA keeps shutting them down (perhaps bittorrent will be next?) the FTP keeps on a chuggin'. Kinda hard to shut down that which isn't as public as the P2P stuff. And IP addresses can change oh so easily.

question about typesetting (-1)

donald knuth troll (682408) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443937)

I don't care how good the content of a book may be. If it's poorly typeset, uses ragged margins, and has eye hurting fonts, I'm not going to touch it.


For example, material typeset with TeX is beautiful and readable. All books should be typeset with TeX for maximum aesthetics.

puh-lease (5, Insightful)

j4ck50n (548439) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443965)

"If you weren't spending your spare time in the years 99-00 downloading MP3s like a champ, it's likely you were still in diapers or dancing with wolves. Oh, Napster, we loved ye when."

No self respecting geek would use Napster EVER, no one I know ever touched it, and we all downloaded MP3's *like a champ*.

It's called usenet...premium servers please. All of us *in the know* knew that once Napster went under, and it most definitely would, that all the kids hyped up on *free* would be flocking to usenet, flooding the groups with crap posts, begging for instructions and calling everyone *fag*. Sure enough, they did.

Napster single handedly brought piracy to the masses, made it a household word and brought the ire of RIAA etc. upon us all.

I cant believe that this story was intro'd like this. Napster is, was and always will be a blight and a bad bad period in mine and others opinions.

"...in diapers..." man, gimma a freekin break.

Humbug (2, Funny)

Jahf (21968) | more than 11 years ago | (#6443971)

If you weren't spending your spare time in the years 99-00 downloading MP3s like a champ, it's likely you were still in diapers or dancing with wolves.



Or maybe you were just a conscientious person who instead of ripping off your favorite artists (yes, they do get SOME of that money, just not much) were buying their discs and ripping them from legitimately purchased media and thereby also helping make sure that the labels saw how much they were selling.


Now porn on the other hand ...

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