A Documentary About Napster Called “Downloaded” Will Premiere At SXSW
At the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas, a film called “Downloaded” will premiere during the Film Festival in March. The film will be based on the rise and fall of Napster, the P2P file sharing software created by Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. The two battled against music record labels after launching the program. The film was directed by Alex Winters, the actor that played “Bill” in the Bill & Ted franchise. Winters is also known for directing the Cannes Official Selection film FEVER and two Emmy-nominated Ben 10 movies for Cartoon Network.
Winters said this about the film: “It’s about the music and the bands, the fans and the moguls, and the brilliant young minds that ignited the biggest youth revolt since Alan Freed hit the radio.” Napster was popular in the late 1990s and 2000s. It has been blamed for the fall of the CDs and the rise of the online music industry. Napster ended up getting acquired by Best Buy for $218 million and sold to Rhapsody in 2011. Best Buy still has a minority stake in Napster.
Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning have moved on beyond their Napster days. The two partnered on the startup called Airtime, but that company launched and crashed spectacularly. Parker himself is worth billions due to his equity stake in Facebook, Spotify, and other startups. In this documentary, Winters said that it does not make an argument on either side of the debate. It was made to provide context during that period when music-sharing was a confusing time. Check out the trailer below: