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Kazaa and Napster: File sharing strikes fear within the music industry

MP3 files are scaring the music industry during the early 2000s. And with a Swedish piece of software people all over the world can start sharing them.

In 2000 Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis create Kazaa, a piece of software based on P2P (peer to peer) technology. They have bought the file sharing protocol "Fasttrack" from an Estonian company. Kazaa helps users find each other without letting the service touch the files themselves.

Napster is the first service to offer song sharing

In the year before another software, Napster (created by Shawn Fanning), has gotten a lot of attention by offering file sharing of songs and audio files. The service is ordered to close in 2001 after a court decision.

In 2003 Kazaa is the world's most downloaded application

After Napster shuts down, Kazaa takes over the lead and in 2003 it is the most downloaded app on the internet (reaching over one billion downloads). Worth noticing is that the Kazaa founders the same year start an online phone service called Skype, which becomes very successful.

In 2006 Kazaa is sentences in court to pay 100 million dollars in fines, after settling out of court with Universal Music and Warner Music. But by then the software has long changed hands.

Niklas Zennström says that he with Kazaa added to broadband development around the world.

Legally, Kazaa is definitely not a huge success, and the world switches to streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix to deliver music and movies of the future.

Here is how Kazaa, Napster and other P2P networks worked