This history of file sharing was written by Sean McManus while conducting research for the Rock & Pop Timeline book by Johnny Black, which presents a year by year history of the music industry, its stars and fashions. The article doesn’t appear in the book in its original form, so I thought I’d share it with you here.
In 1999, Shawn Fanning launched a new program that was to change how many people used the internet: Napster. The software enabled music fans to swap songs stored on their computers with each other and to find each other through a central directory. Napster users could trade in bootlegs, rare tracks and current releases by major artists.