Thursday

Thursday 5/09/2002And with a final gasp, Napster becomes an ex-pirate. Despite a last-ditch and half-hearted effort by Bertlesmann to save the lifeless corpse from complete extinction, a judge decided that it was not to be.

Thursday 5/09/2002
And with a final gasp, Napster becomes an ex-pirate. Despite a last-ditch and half-hearted effort by Bertlesmann to save the lifeless corpse from complete extinction, a judge decided that it was not to be. Such is the lot of the true innovator. Working at the edge of the possible and demonstrating a whole new way of listening to music, tiny Napster drew the fire of the huge music industry edifice who decided that it was Not Allowed. Of course, there are plenty of neo-Napsters out there now -- and plenty more than the small list always quoted in the press -- and it doesn't really matter what the industry does, we'll be getting our music online from hereon in. We'll pay for it, too, given a chance and a degree of fairness. It's all a bit like pirate radio in the sixties. It didn't matter what the outraged authorities said, millions of people happily listened to Radio Caroline, Radio London and the like. A combination of legal changes and the introduction of Radio 1 and independent local radio, much of which absorbed the talent thrown up by the pirates, meant that in the end the pirate ships had a moral victory even as they puttered back to port under the watchful eye of officialdom. That's not much comfort to the pirates, but they'll be remembered for a long time. As will Napster, in whose honour I shall pause my MP3 player for a minute's silence later on tonight.