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“Downloaded ” – The Story Behind Napster

July 2nd, 2013 · No Comments

Downloaded Key art               by Alicia Hollinger Los Angeles, CA (Hollywood Today) July 2, 2013 — Remember the days when you had to buy external hard drives just to hold all your mp3 music and you could spend hours geeking out in front of a computer downloading unlimited free music from Napster and that secret thrill of knowing that this was probably wrong, but everyone is doing it, so it’s actually OK, right? And, even then, it might have crossed your mind that this couldn’t possibly last forever, I better get all the music I can NOW. And if you thought that, you were right. The VH1 rockDoc “Downloaded,” takes you down the rabbit hole following the adventure of a couple of geek teens, Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, as they meet through an IRC chat group and brainstorm together in marathons of code writing and experiments to create something the world had never seen before and would change the world of music distribution as we know it. The doc presents a very sympathetic view of the two well-meaning teens who get drawn into legal battles, squashing their dreams and aging them far beyond their years. Although the mainstream media is strongly against piracy and copyright infringement and views Napster as practically a demonic force with the evil intent of destroying the music industry, here we see a few wide-eyed teens hoping to make the world a better place by exposing new and cool music to all. The doc interviews span from their beginning teenage years, up to their young adulthood. At times, you could see them holding back tears as they told their stories. Clearly not the monsters they were made out to be, just a few vulnerable teen geniuses who had no idea of the implication of what they were doing.
Henry Rollins courtesy VH1 rockDocs

Henry Rollins courtesy VH1 rockDocs

Throughout the doc, we see different perspectives along the spectrum–from the admiration of musician Henry Rollins to the wrath of Metallica. Although crushed by the courts and the media, the Shawn/Sean team’s innate genius prevailed and both were able to move on to lucrative careers as adults. Sean Parker made a fortune partnering up with Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook. In 2010, he joined Airtime, a social video company backed by Founders Fund, as a co-founder, and reunited with Fanning. According to the doc, the only money they ever made from Napster was through T-shirts sales. “Downloaded” premiered at SXSW and Toronto’s Hot Docs, and VH1 will be presenting a summer theatrical release of the film and VOD. “This project has been important to me for many years and it’s been great to see it realized with the team at VH1 rockDocs,” said director Alex Winter “We’ve had a very strong festival run so far and I look forward to getting it out to a wider audience.” DOWNLOADED is written, directed and executive produced by Alex Winter and executive produced by Maggie Malina. Consulting producer is Thom Zimny; music is composed by DJ Spooky; editor is Jacob Craycroft and the director of photography is Anghel Decca. Executive Producers for VH1 are Brad Abramson, Warren Cohen, Rick Krim, Bill Flanagan, Shelly Tatro, and Jeff Olde. Downloaded trailer HERE
Fanning & Parker Courtesy VH1 rockDocs

Fanning & Parker Courtesy VH1 rockDocs


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Tags: FILMophile · Music Scene · New Media · Pop Culture