From director Alex Winter and VH1 Docs with Trouper Productions is the story behind a music revolution with DOWNLOADED.

This film tells the story of Napster, created by Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, it is an idea that changed the way people shared music one to another. As with most ideas born out of technology, Fanning banded together with other like-minded individuals to put together an online music sharing community.

Of course it doesn’t take long before someone wants to crash the party and it came in the form of the artists of the music industry that felt they weren’t getting proper due. It would be Lars Ulrich from the band Metallica who would make a spectacle of it all to the point where Napster and its creators ended up in a courtroom defending themselves against the heavyweights.

What some saw as a evil perpetrated to kill albums, record stores and CD’s was a few guys with a great idea who freely (literally) shared it with the rest of us. When was the last time anyone saw that happen and we will not likely ever see it again!

FINAL WORD: Listening to Shawn Fanning talk about his original idea he seemed so full of creativity and genuinely in it for the consumer. One thing the new technology age didn’t prepare him for was how out of control things could get – how could he know? As the documentary goes along it is easy to see this slow deflation as his ‘child’ is taken and given to greedy foster parents who are only in it for the money.

Sean Parker, depicted as a rather self-absorbed individual in the film THE SOCIAL NETWORK, has either grown up or the film took license. Either way, jumping aboard the FACEBOOK train has to be some consolation (of course financially as well) in giving the finger to the same people who thought he was down and out.

In my very personal opinion, and take it for what it may be worth to the reader, what was done by in heavy metal group Metallica and Dr. Dre reinforced to me what I already believed. Pretty much that I don’t feel to sorry if a band loses a few bucks when ticket prices for concerts and the price of a CD is outrageous (yea, give me the “we only get 5 cents on the dollar” speech while wearing a gold chain that ran about $5,000. I don’t own anything worth that much and you want more money from me? Frakk off…seriously.) Excuse me, I digress.

Director Alex Winter is the very same Alex Winter most of us 80’s die hards will remember as Bill S. Preston of BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE. Taking his hand at DOWNLOADED he is behind the camera getting the story no one knew. Well done Mr. Winter!

Including: Henry Rollins, Mike D, Noel Gallagher, Billy Corgan, Chris Blackwell, Lawrence Lessig, John Perry Barlow, Seymour Stein, Don Lenner and Hillary Rosen.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give DOWNLOADED four tubs of popcorn out of five. What an in-your-face look at an idea whose time came – and then got polluted. I appreciate the honesty of every person interviewed and was awed by the perseverance to continue exploring what technology can offer everyone.

I was probably on Lars Ulrich’s (just because you say “it isn’t personal” only means it wasn’t personal to you) list of down loaders because I believed Napster was awesome and made music I loved accessible. Of course my tastes were not geared to the Top 40 or the popular music so I never felt like a threat to da man!

The day Napster went down I heard a collective defiant cry from music lovers who went into high gear to continue the original idea of sharing music that is engrained into listeners globally.

Plus, nothing better than a 30-something listening to Nina Simone and I asked, “when did you first experience Nina?’ he replied, “my first time was on Napster” – priceless. I applaud Fanning, Park and all those at Napster who made my music cool again to an audience that otherwise would have gone through life missing someone as life changing and amazing as Nina Simone.

In the end – Napster, the music, the battle, the revolution!



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