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Downloaded (Movie) Review


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An in-depth look at the rise and fall of napster.

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Assumes that the viewers are somewhat familiar with napster, which isn't always the case.

Final Fiendish Findings?

Downloaded pieces together the story from every angle, giving viewers a true look inside napster, the company that changed music forever.

Posted June 11, 2013 by

Full Fiendish Findings?

“We’re all hackers. This is what we do.”

Downloaded is a documentary that looks at “Napster: The Music, The Battle, The Revolution”. For young people in the late ’90’s and the turn of the century, the epic battle between the corporate music studios and napster, a decided underdog, was a symbol of a generation. From the humble beginnings of the company, to their rise to fame, to their subsequent (some say inevitable) downfall, Downloaded takes a look inside napster, from nearly every side.

At the outset, napster was just a great idea from a young guy who actually had the skills and determination to carry it out. But once launched, it really sparked a revolution. This was music on our terms – not corporate terms – and internet savvy young people could not get enough. Soon, literally millions of people were hooked, and the corporate music world could not ignore it any longer. According to founder Shawn Fanning, napster was originally created as a “way to meet people through music”, but it soon was interpreted as a way to pirate music on an almost unheard of scale.

Downloaded really covers every aspect of napster, and its repercussions, from how it was created, to how it worked, to how the people involved in it were affected. It even goes into a brief history of the music recording industry itself, as well as the rise in popularity of the internet, which left many older people behind – unfortunately, it was just those internet innocent people who were in charge, and it is that led to the downfall of napster, rather than its adoption as a distribution method.

Whether you followed the saga with baited breath more than a decade ago, or have no familiarity with it at all, Downloaded is a film that gets right to the heart of what napster was all about. There are tons of interviews with just about anybody who had any sort of connection to it. Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker are near constant commenters on the events covered in the film (which takes a mostly chronological approach), and the other main employees are there as well. But there are also a lot of people you maybe wouldn’t expect, from Shawn Fanning’s mother and brother, to Hilary Rosen (the CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America – RIAA).

There are also plenty of interviews with musicians – surprisingly enough, many of them were actually supportive of napster and the exposure it could bring to them. Henry Rollins and the members of Dispatch may be staunch supporters, but as many may remember, Metallica was less than impressed. Using a mixture of modern day interviews and clips from when it was happening, Downloaded pieces together the story from every angle, giving viewers a true look inside napster, the company that changed music forever.


*Downloaded is being released theatrically on June 21, and will be available on VOD on July 1st*


U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)