These days, people accustomed to easily streaming or downloading music — legally or illegally — might not remember all the hubbub over Napster, but the service revolutionized both the Internet and the record industry. Back in 1999, then-teenagers Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker (the latter later co-founder of Facebook) launched one of the first, and largest, file-sharing services online. Those 80 million registered users rocked album sales and turned Metallica's Lars Ulrich (who, among other industry heavyweights, filed suit) into music's biggest miser. The company shut down in 2001 after a court order, later filed for bankruptcy and became Best Buy-owned Rhapsody. Tonight the Grammy Museum screens Downloaded, a VH1 rockDocs documentary by Alex Winter — yep, Bill S. Preston Esq. of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure — which includes both old and current interviews with Noel Gallagher, Beastie Boys' Mike D, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Billy Corrigan and David Bowie airing their gripes. Grammy Foundation and MusicCares president Scott Goldman moderates a panel including the director, this paper's very own Henry Rollins (who is also featured in the film) and Jordan Berliant of the Collective. It's interesting how the discussion has shifted: Today the conversation is less about the issue of stealing versus sharing and more about the countless imitators and sharing alternatives that Napster helped to spawn.
Mon., April 1, 7:30 p.m., 2013
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