The internet also has the added bonus of purchasing digital music through music stores such as iTunes or Napster, services that allow you to download individual songs to play on your PC, burn onto CDs, or put on your digital music player.
Unlike the original Napster that had a centralized network to which all users connected, Gnutella developed a de-centralized system wherein individual users would connect through a series of "nodes", which were really just other users.
After that, the legal troubles just kept on coming with Napster, until finally, in March 2002, they paid the major record labels $26 million in back royalties, $10 million in future royalties, and shut its doors as a P2P trading site.
Napster legal music downloads are a popular way for people to get their favorite songs online without worrying about the Recording Industry Association of America breathing down their necks, but it hasn't always been that way.
They took on the Napster name to market their own music service, but instead of setting up a peer-to-peer network where people actively share their MP3 music, Napster became a pay service for downloading legal music.
With peer-to-peer networks like Napster, Kazaa and Limewire boasting easy downloads of commercial material, some music artists and executives are pulling their hair out trying to slow down the file-sharing craze.
The music industry managed to bring down the original free file sharing program, Napster, and forced them to change their business model so that the labels profited from songs distributed by Napster.
At the ripe old age of 19, Shawn Fanning changed the music industry when he set up Napster, a P2P file sharing service that over 100 million people used to swap free music in its launch year alone.
There is also Free.Napster.com, which is an ad-based online music streaming service, as well as Napster Mobile, which allows users to browse through and play music through a compatible cell phone.
Many other P2P networks, like Napster, have been forced by the recording industry to close down or to change their format so that they sell copyrighted material instead of trading it for free.