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The story of how Napster challenged the copyrights and distribution hegemony of the world's ruling music business cartel has become one of the e-boom's most enduring myths: David Vs. Goliath, with an outcome more like Tyson Vs. Lewis. In deconstructing the saga, veteran Los Angeles Times business reporter Joseph Menn patiently chronicles the double-dealing, ego, greed, hubris and remarkable naivete informed by precious little long-term vision that variously characterized both sides of the epic struggle.
Perhaps Menn's most telling revelations here center around the previously under-reported role of Shawn's uncle John Fanning, the shady, entrepreneurial con-man who claimed to be Napster's co-inventor/co-founder (distinctions that actually belonged to Shawn's teen friends, Jordan Ritter and Sean Parker), cutting himself in for a whopping 70% initial stake in the company. The elder Fanning's ability to clutch defeat from the jaws of even the smallest victory is set up as nothing less than Shakespearean parable. If Menn's work has a shortcoming, it's his seeming reticence to consider the larger, long-term implications of peer-to-peer file-swapping and an internet culture that enthusiastically stood centuries-old notions of property rights and demand-and-supply pricing firmly on its head by the tens of millions.
Ironically, the record industry's touted quashing of Napster was ultimately akin to killing a hydra-head monster. A variety of more lawsuit-resistant systems ultimately arose in its wake, leading one executive to ponder whether future record industry battles against file-swapping would simply degenerate into a never-ending game of "Whack-a-Mole". Jerry McCulley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
An amazing Silicon Valley narrative. The funny thing about geeks is, they turn out to have a lot of personality. Read morePublished on May 28, 2011 by Mary Jo Mathew
Among the many vast fortunes and colossal failures written about covering the dot com era, we have the story of Shawn Fanning and Napster. Read morePublished on September 9, 2008 by TW
Tried hard to finish this, but couldn't. This is significant because I hate wasting money - and therefore, usually slough through to the finish on even the most unbearable works. Read morePublished on March 23, 2004 by Peter Orlovsky
Before buying/reading this book ask yourself if you want to invest the time/money reading what the author promises goes below the "surface" on all previous Napster... Read morePublished on March 14, 2004 by Robin Johnson
Just finished Menn's "All The Rave," a.k.a. the Napster chronicles....
for what it's worth, i found very little new material here - most of the scoop is previously... Read more
I really liked this book. I am fascinated by the burst of the bubble more than the actual boom. This was a smooth and interesting read.Published on September 3, 2003
Shawn Fanning and his co-founders devote themselves to perfecting their software; Napster's destruction at the hands of greedy profit-takers is heartbreaking. Read morePublished on July 15, 2003 by "emelyec"
Sean Fanning's Napster is widely regarded as the poster child for the dot-com-bubble's bust. In some ways that description is very apt. Read morePublished on June 22, 2003 by J. Straub