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Review: Napster Documentary 'Downloaded'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 4, 2013 12:50 PM
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If you were lucky enough to have regular access to a computer and a reliable internet connection in the late '90s/early '00s, you were undoubtedly asked by those also online, "Are you on Napster?" In today's world where music can be streamed and downloaded through an endless array of legal options, it's easy to forget what a monumental groundshift Napster represented. The common shorthand narrative is that Napster arrived and the music industry imploded, but the service was essentially around for two years and in that time, its influence on how audiences obtained, shared and enjoyed music was perhaps even more profound. And it's that element that director Alex Winter (yes, Bill from "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure") gets right in his documentary "Downloaded," a comprehensive look at the rise and fall of the music service, that unfortunately may be a bit too cozy with the men who started it.

Exclusive: Shawn Fanning Talks The Rise Of Napster & File Sharing In Clip From 'Downloaded'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 18, 2013 10:02 AM
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For anyone in their 30s (or beyond), they've lived through a tremendous change in how music is consumed and shared in a third of a lifetime. From vinyl to cassettes to CDs to mp3s, from mixed tapes to mixed CDs to Spotify playlists, everything about how we engage with music has been profoundly pushed forward, and part of that most recent shift is thanks to Napster. The file sharing service that essentially brought the once mighty record industry to its knees connected listeners in ways that no one had ever thought of. It's a story with more twists and turns than your average Hollywood thriller. And it's now being told.
More: Downloaded

SXSW Doc Review Recap: Snoop Lion In 'Reincarnated,' Alex Winter's 'Downloaded' & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • March 18, 2013 7:48 PM
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If the South by Southwest Film Festival was burdened by anything this year, it was an abundance of quality documentaries. It seemed that, while the narrative side of things was surprisingly sparse (where was the "21 Jump Street" or "The Raid" of this year?), the documentary selection was stronger than ever – there were more buzzed-about entries than we had time for, quite frankly (sorry "Medora!"), and almost everything we saw impressed us to one degree or another. Here is a quick rundown of a handful of key SXSW documentaries – "Lunarcy!," about people obsessed with the moon; "Downloaded," which aims to be the definitive documentary about file sharing program Napster; "Twenty Feet from Stardom," which charts the history of pop music from the backup singers' point of view; "Reincarnated," about Snoop Dogg's transformation into reggae titan Snoop Lion; and "I Am Divine," about director John Waters' corpulent muse, cross-dressing sensation Divine.

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