Ten years ago in October, Shawn Fanning, co-founder of Napster, was on the cover of Time Magazine. Today, Sean Parker, the other co-founder of Napster, is portrayed in the movie The Social Network, about his role as president of Facebook. Fanning and Parker changed the music world at 19, and continue to change the online web world today.
Shawn Fanning went on to found several more companies; Snocap, Rupture, and a new company Path, with Dave Morin, formerly with Facebook. Sean Parker left Napster and co-founded Plaxo, and later became president of Facebook. He is now a venture capitalist at Founders Fund.
It is somewhat ironic that the title on the Time Magazine cover is "What's Next For Napster?" because what was next for Time magazine and the music business was not so good. Napster dissolved as a company in 2001, but the name and logo were acquired by another company and live on today. In the 10 years since that Time article was published their magazine distribution is down over 20%. Music sales are down over 50%.
The Internet is a disruptive force for old line businesses and the launch pad for new businesses. Facebook has grown from nothing 5 years ago to a company with 500 million users and a private market value of over $30 Billion. Google was born about 10 years ago and is now the largest search engine in the world with a market cap of more than $160 Billion. If you would like more about the history of Napster read my earlier post "How Napster Changed The World"
After all this Shawn Fanning is just 29, and Sean Parker is 30. They are not done yet.