Years Active: 1999 – Present
When the original peer-to-peer file sharing service launched in June 1999, few could’ve anticipated it would open a Pandora’s Box of future lawsuits and copyright cases. But the trouble for Napster didn’t really begin until the summer of 2000, when big-name artists like Metallica and Dr. Dre forced the spotlight onto the P2P service, which at its peak saw 26.4 million active users worldwide. But an onslaught of lawsuits by the RIAA caused Napster to eventually shut down, first after an injunction in July 2001, before eventually going bankrupt in 2002 after the company was unable to pay $101 million in liabilities.
Where Are They Now?
In 2008, the rights to the brand were purchased by Best Buy. Napster currently operates as a pay-to-use streaming music service, with new music added every Tuesday.