Over the course of music history there have been a number of different people who have changed the face of music. There have been so many different artists who have altered the way people thought to market their music. As well as artists who created new avenues of music for people to follow. Moments in time like the commercial success of the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, and Nirvana redirected the path of the industry. Yet out of all the great artists who have changed music, I think the person who has transformed the industry the most isn’t a musician at all. No one has made a bigger impact on the music world than Sean Parker.
It only lasted around 3 years, but what Napster did will have forever changed the music industry. Sean Parker along with two others created the first file sharing platform specializing in the sharing of MP3’s. Napster was born in the summer of 1999. In two years it grew to 80 million users worldwide. The industry saw the dramatic changes that were coming and tried to fight back, shutting Napster down in 2001, but it was too late. There were hundreds of copycat applications all over the internet. Music had been set free.
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[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Sean Parker and his partners just wanted to create an easy way for people to share these MP3’s. I don’t think they could have seen the colossal impact they would have all over the world. Records stores closed down all over the country. Even franchises that seemed untouchable like Towers Records closed their doors. No longer were consumers slaves to the purchase of an entire album for the pursuit of one song. You could find anything on Napster: old albums, unreleased music, live shows, and popular singles. Creating your own mixes and burning them onto a CD, building a collection of your favorite hits.[/ezcol_2third_end]
Artists were no longer bringing in the same amount of money for releasing albums and the labels suffered. This little piece of the explosion probably left the most damage. The Beatles proved a long time ago that being Pop and being commercial for the teens was where the money was. The labels were no longer willing to risk working with artists who didn’t carry that same appeal. So genres like pop, hip-hop and country, which were all commercially successful, thrived while others have suffered. I’m not sure I can think of the last great rock band to come out post the creation of Napster.
Sean Parker wasn’t done with the music industry after Napster either. After being involved in a number of groundbreaking startups including being the first president of Facebook, Parker wanted to get back to his first mission. Finding a way to give people infinite music at their fingertips but this time legally. He discovered Spotify. After investing 15 million dollars in the company, Parker negotiated the music rights with Warner and Universal. He brought the app to the US and created the partnership between Spotify and Facebook.
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[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]The reason Spotify is so successful is because it gives people a bit of everything. Users can listen to radio like Pandora, as well as search endless artists on their own. And once they find artists they like, they can research and find similar artists to follow. Users are able to build playlists, and because of the connection with Facebook, you can follow your friends’ playlists or they can follow yours. It wasn’t too long into Spotify’s popularity that they began to offer a premium package. For just ten dollars a month you can now have commercial free, endless songs on your computer and phone. While apps like Napster crushed the careers of the small bands at the time, outlets like Spotify and Youtube have revived the artists. It’s a huge avenue for musicians to release their music and be found by the masses.[/ezcol_2third_end]
Artist come and go, while most are viewed as just another performer, some impacted the world. Some changed the way we view music and some changed how the industry views artists. Yet I stand by my thought that there isn't a single artist out there who affected or dented music like Sean Parker did. A computer programmer and entrepreneur, not a musician, holds the title in my eyes.