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Ashes to ashes, peer to peer: An oral history of Napster - Fortune Tech

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For both Napster and the record industry, the stress of the lawsuit takes its toll.

Brooks: We were really becoming a company of litigation, and not an innovative, disruptive technology company, which is what we wanted to be, and what we were born as. This is the part where I get sad.

At least they had tremendous influence.

Ahead of its time.

Aydar: [Shawn] felt pretty strongly that if he built something really good and really cool, that the artists and record labels would appreciate the distribution mechanism and the amount of data you could pull from it -- understanding who's listening to what, who's engaged with what content. He wasn't focused on the legality. He felt like once he built something really good, any issues would solve themselves.

Those issues did solve themselves. Just not for Napster. They solved themselves for Apple.