Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2002

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A nineteen year old Northeastern U. student was sitting around trying to download an MP3 on to his computer. The server was slow, unreliable, and frustrating. His name was Shawn Fanning, creator of Napster. All Shawn wanted was to be able to find and download his favorite songs quickly and easily, but it wasn't possible with the slow Internet servers. Then it hit him, if he could make some sort of file-sharing application that would allow people to share MP3's directly off their harddrives to each other, it would make every thing quicker and easier. All it took was a laptop, some determination, and 60 hours without sleep in his uncle's office and Napster was born in the summer of 1999. Napster was released in September 1999 and grew faster than any website in history. In February, Napster had over 1 million users and by August it exploded to 6.7

million users. In just one month, July to August, the service grew thirty percent. Napster got off the ground with 2 million dollars in seed funding. In the spring of 2000, Napster's second round funding brought in about 15 million dollars.

        What exactly is Napster? For those people who have no clue what Napster is or what it does, an Internet user visit the Napster website and downloads Napster's Musicshare Software, free of charge to the users computer. Then the user types the name of a favorite song or artist. The user clicks, and Napster provides a list of links to copies off the central Napster computer. Napster then provides a list of links to copies of the requested song on other's harddrives. The Internet user clicks again, and the sound file or MP3 is downloaded from the registered Napster users to his or her computer. What is an MP3?...