Shawn Fanning launches Napster
1st June 1999
Launched on 1st June 1999, Napster was an application that let people share music with each other across the Internet. Created by American college student Shawn Fanning, the application was wildly popular. At its peak, Napster had about 80 million registered users.
Napster popularized a new way of sharing files: peer-to-peer file sharing. Rather than downloading files from a single, centralized server, users downloaded files from each other.
Because the music being swapped using Napster was usually protected by copyright, Napster soon ran into legal difficulties. Metallica, Dr. Dre, and A&M Records launched legal challenges against the company. Napster finally shut down after declaring bancruptcy in June 2002.