Music streaming has existed as far back as the early 2000s. As the internet gained popularity all over the world, so did access to various entertainment channels and music providers. Many of these websites in the early days did not have the rights or the licensing to provide various artist’ music and had to be shut down due to copyright infringements acts and other factors.
Most of us have heard of the biggest names in the music streaming industry and these websites/ companies caused major ripples in the music scene with their presence, and when some of these companies shut down – it caused a halt in music streaming – which is saying quite a lot in a world connecting globally. You may have heard of some of these mentioned websites:
- Napster: This was originally created to be a peer–to–peer file sharing internet service that allowed users to exchange audio files which were mostly in mp3 format. This exploded on the music scene with users having access to otherwise unavailable music which ranged from old music to the latest tracks. It ran into trouble when they faced copyright infringement issues especially when Metallica discovered a demo of their song already circulating in Napster and eventually on radio stations before it was officially released. Similarly, Madonna’s 2000 single “Music” was leaked before it was released which threw more fat into the fire for Napster who were then sued by various recording companies which made them bankrupt.
- Lime Wire: This was a free peer-to-peer sharing client program gained popularity from its release in 2000 to when it shut down in 2010. However, they also faced copyright issues and as controlling or preventing illegal data from being used was not easy, they had to cease operations. If any user was searching, downloading, uploading, file sharing and other functions pertaining to the illegal exchange of music, Lime Wire would be held accountable. They had to pay compensation damages caused to the record companies.
- Megaupload: This Hong Kong based online company was established in 2005 and ran online services that were related to file sharing and storage. Due to copyright infringement, the owners were arrested and assets were frozen. When Megaupload was shut down by the US Department of Justice, retaliation by the Hacktivist group Anonymous was led on various websites belonging to the US Govt. It was the 13th most visited website on the internet and accounted for 1% of total traffic on fixed access networks in North America.
- Kazaa: Another peer-to-peer file sharing online application, this site was commonly used to download music files and other formats like videos, documents etc over the net. They too faced issues over copyright over the content distributed in Kazaa and had to be shut down.
- Sharebeast: One of America’s most popular music file sharing sites was shut down last year by the FBI which was the most significant move against file sharing websites since Megaupload shut down in 2012.
- Grooveshark: This website formed a huge following due to the easy availability to access restricted tracks via its on demand catalogue that allowed users to stream music for free. Unfortunately, as with the tale of copyright issues like the other sites, Grooveshark closed its doors last April.
- The Pirate Bay: Probably the most notorious and most defiant in the eyes of the law, the Pirate Bay has been repeatedly shut down in its various forms but another version of the website springs up within a short while. This is the most popular site for accessing music, videos and other data for free on the internet.