Image: @linkinpark/Billy Markus/Instagram/Unsplash
Dogecoin co-creator Billy Markus left netizens in splits with a tweet that brought back memories of many music lovers from his time. On Tuesday, he shared a tweet reminiscing about the time when music was not as freely available for listening as it is today, and people used to download music albums and pirated copies from the internet illegally.
In the tweet, he wrote, “I remember back when I used to download songs from Napster, whenever I would hear police sirens outside I assumed they were coming to get me for downloading “in the end” by Linkin park. (sic)”
i remember back when i used to download songs from napster, whenever i would hear police sirens outside i assumed they were coming to get me for downloading “in the end” by linkin park— Shibetoshi Nakamoto (@BillyM2k) December 7, 2021
Markus, who goes by the name, Shibetoshi Nakamoto on Twitter, invited a flurry of reactions through his tweet. While some related to the fact that they were scared of being caught after illegally downloading pirated albums using websites like ‘Napster,’ others related with the tech giant’s choice of song- ‘In the end’ by Linkin Park.
It’s a fantastic song I don’t care what anyone says— Shibetoshi Nakamoto (@BillyM2k) December 7, 2021
A user shared a similar experience, and wrote, “I had my internet turned off and was told all files needed to be deleted that were illegally downloaded or it wouldn’t get turned back on. They knew exactly if said files were deleted or not and there would be a fine for lying about it. I was 11 years old.”
I had my internet turned off and was told all files needed to be deleted that were illegally downloaded or it wouldn’t get turned back on. They knew exactly if said files were deleted or not and there would be a fine for lying about it. I was 11 years old.— ⇵ (@TickleMikeHunt) December 7, 2021
Another user commented on the tweet that got Tesla founder & CEO Elon Musk to crack up as well and wrote about the time when it used to take 2-3 days to download songs on a CD. He wrote, “I remember when downloads took two to three days for a CD and you were risking your life to listen to that album.”
I remember when downloads took two to three days for a CD and you were risking your life to listen to that album. 😂 pic.twitter.com/rmk29VnarO— J03 (@Joseph001_0) December 7, 2021
Before the age of streaming services such as Spotify and high-speed internet that can download entire albums in a matter of minutes, peer-to-peer file sharing websites like Napster & Limewire ruled over music-loving netizens, albeit illegally.
While LimeWire was shut down in 2010 after a legal battle with the Recording Industry Association of America, Napster had to shut down in 2001 after a US court ruled that the company encouraged “wholesale infringement” of music industry copyrights.
Both the websites had through the years become a source of music piracy and copyright infringement as it allowed peer-to-peer sharing - much like how torrents work - and led to some substantial losses for musicians worldwide. Napster, is particularly remembered for being sued by American heavy metal band, Metallica.
The short answer is, yes, Napster is legal and in competition with other music streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube Music. However, the journey for the erstwhile peer-to-peer file sharing platform wasn't the easiest.
Besides Metallica, several lawsuits were filed against Napster by music companies and artists, including rapper and producer Dr Dre, all of which the company lost. It was finally forced to shut down. From mid-2000, however, Napster was in talks with German media firm Bertelsmann which finally materialised in 2002. Notably, Bertelsmann was among labels that had sued Napster. It dropped the case in 2002.