Music Industry

What If the Labels Had Bought Napsters When They Could?

Back when the original Napster was approaching its peak, there was a secret meeting in Sun Valley Idaho between them and high-level representatives from the major record labels. The goal was to try and hammer out a deal whereby the labels and Napster could find some kind of peaceful and mutually profitable co-existence.

Of course, that never happened, thanks to intransigence and some dickheaded-ness on both sides.  Instead, a war was declared, resulting in mutually assured destruction.  Napster was eventually sued out of business and the label chose to protect their business of selling pieces of plastic by fighting the rise of digital distribution of any sort.  We all know how that’s turned out.

I was reminded of that lost Sun Valley opportunity by this article in Billboard wherein music attorney Lee Phillips muses about what might have happened if the labels had bought Napster when they could.  Give it a read.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38529 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “What If the Labels Had Bought Napsters When They Could?

  • A label (Bertellsman) *did* buy Napster. 🙂 The acquisition was eventually blocked by a judge. The article is still a good read, though.


Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.