Sonic Boom: Napster, P2P and the Battle for the Future of Music

John Alderman

The first book to tell the inside story of the battle for control over the future of music and how technology is ripping up the traditional rules of business.

As the internet grew throughout the 90s, software was developed, such as Liquid Audio and MP3, that could deliver music anywhere and most importantly for free. Bands were reaching fans without record company support; entrepreneurs made money distributing digital music files without licensing agreements; the music industry executives complained of piracy and refused to embrace the Information Age.

With the growth of Napster, invented by the nineteen-year-old Shawn Fanning and launched in 1999, the demand for on-line music exploded. Millions of fans exchanged their favourite music with others for free. The response from the music industry was seismic – rocks stars disowned the fans who had downloaded their music while others celebrated the new relationship. Although acquired by Bertelsmann in 2000 and offering a subscription service rather than free music, the music industry is still violently opposed to all Peer-to-Peer transactions and are using any possible method to close down Napster.

‘Sonic Boom’ is immaculately researched and peopled by the musicians, executives, entrepreneurs and programmers behind one of the most vital questions concerning the Information Age: who owns intellectual content on the web?

Reviews of Sonic Boom: Napster, P2P and the Battle for the Future of Music

    • ‘An important book for anyone interested in where our culture is headed.’ Mark Simpson, Independent on Sunday
    • ‘There’s unlikely to be a better tool than this book for understanding what’s been going on.’ Francis Spufford, Evening Standard