In 1999, a file-sharing program created in a Boston dorm room sent shockwaves across the music industry and served notice that a major cultural shift was underway.
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How Napster Created the 'Culture of Free'

The software was called Napster, so named by its 18-year-old developer, and its usage soon exploded on college campuses across the country. No longer did music lovers have to go to the record store to buy CDs – with the click of a mouse, they could gain free access to their favorite tunes.

Seeing a fundamental threat to its long-profitable business model, the record industry took to the courts to shut down the upstart company. But a generation of consumers had tasted a new way to get what they wanted – today’s music industry, and the musicians themselves, are still grappling with the Culture of Free.


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