How Did We Listen to Music?

By: Aniyah Peterson

2000s Post

Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music did not always exist. These streaming services became available during the 2010s. Prior to streaming services most of the population listened to music via downloading “illegally”.  Digital music piracy was rampant around the world. In the early 2000s, most music was commonly found in stores on CD’s or disk tapes. Some tunes were available via MP3 which made its way in 1993. From CD’s, users were able to “rip” the songs onto their computers and listen to them in other places. With digital piracy streaming rates declined. 

Napster was one of the few music streaming services that allowed users to copy and use free files from one another. It only lasted two years, however, over 50 million people used the service. 

The way Napster worked: 

1. Search for a song/album/artist

2. You’d find a list of users who were online at the time. 

3. Click download, and you’d initiate a transfer between computers .

4. It was now on your computer. 

More Peer-to-Peer streaming sites were also on the rise. The most common Limewire , powered by Gnuttella , the first large scale peer-to-peer streaming site. Limewire also allowed users to instant message. While you waited for your music to download, you could chat with friends or strangers. 

Futhermore, most songs were downloaded onto computers and then transferred to MP3 players such as Ipods and Ipod touches by Apple Inc. 

Although Apple products came with Itunes most people were not buying each song. Downloading music “illegally” seemed a bit easier and saved money. 

Other websites users used included: zShare, MegaUpload, Demonoid, and RapidShare.

It wasn’t long before Napster would come to an end. Many record labels such as Warner Brothers, Sony, and Universal Studios sued for infringement and rampant theft. In which they weren’t wrong and even won the appeal for the same case. Individual artist also sued Napster. Artist such as Dr.Dre and Metallica also won their cases. Napster had been out sold all around. 

Before Napster and Limewire could end, there were a number of artist and songs that had been downloaded.

See below:

A picture of the way Limewire looked to all users downloading from their computers.

Top Songs Downloaded from Limewire:

More Artist streamed From Limewire: 

Crank that – Soulja Boy 

Locked Up – Akon 

Sk8r Boi – Avril Lavigne 

Hate That I Love You – Rihanna & Neyo

Only You – Ashanti

Hips Don’t Lie – Shakira 

Milkshake – Kelis 

No air – Chris Brown & Jordin Sparks 

Just Dance – Lady Gaga


In Relation to Today:

Because of infringement/copyright concerns free streaming websites like Limewire and Napster no longer exist. The only “free” streaming website that users still use is Soundcloud, though some features of Soundcloud require purchase. The majority of music listeners pay a monthly subscription of $10 to use services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal. By using these services artists are receiving the credit they worked for and compensation, something Limewire did not allow. In the 2000s most people did not realize the “harm” downloading illegally caused. By subscribing to streaming services it protects the consumer and producer

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