Napster is an online music store that initially developed as an online file sharing service
The most significant aspect of Napster file sharing services was the active involvement of the audience
On the contrary, the influence of the active audience on media can lead to harm
As far as isolation of individual users is concerned, online media play a significant role
Online Media Products and Services
Napster is an online music store that initially developed as an online file sharing service. Originally, Napster concentrated on sharing of music files coded in MP3 format. This service was pioneered by Shawn Fanning, and it was aimed at enabling the sharing of music files among users. This marked a revolution in the music industry thereby forming a platform upon which online music services are based. It emerged as a powerful promotion tool for various artists and bands including the Dispatch band. Dispatch band is an American independent band that was formed in 1996. Previously, the band had neither experienced formal promotion nor radio play. Through Napster’s peer to peer file sharing services, the band was able to promote its music to higher levels. As a result, the Dispatch band toured and performed in many cities, which they had never imagined before. As of 2007, the Dispatch band was the first ever known independent band to perform in New York’s Madison Square Garden for three nights in a row (Biagi, 2012).
The most significant aspect of Napster file sharing services was the active involvement of the audience. In this respect, many users or audiences were actively involved in receiving and sharing of information. Napster technology facilitated easy sharing of music files in MP3 format among the users. In regards to Dispatch band, display of their music in Napster enabled the band’s music to reach many audiences. This was attributed to Napster’s interface that was user friendly. This allowed easy downloading of music copies that could have been hard to get. This included old songs, concert songs, and even the recordings that had not been released. In addition, the majority of users enjoyed downloading and trading music at no extra costs. In addition, Napster enabled users to create their music profiles where they could compile their own albums. However, users chose the music on the basis of their values, beliefs, culture, background, experiences, interest, and education. Through this, users could develop their social constraints of reality (Croteau, Hoynes, and Milan, 2012).
On the contrary, the influence of the active audience on media can lead to harm. First of all, it can lead to the users narrowing and limiting themselves to certain dimensions. For example, users may isolate themselves and relate with only those whom they like. Through Napster, users may isolate themselves in sharing of their music to certain people or groups like the Dispatch band. Secondly, group polarization can be a common occurrence. This takes shape where a group with views attracting much attention tends to absorb even the minority. The Dispatch band’s popularity amongst the majority triggered its influence to the minority (Croteau, Hoynes, and Milan, 2012).
As far as isolation of individual users is concerned, online media play a significant role. This can lead to various adverse effects. However, this is not common for all online media companies. As mentioned, the success of the Dispatch band group was attributed to Napster’s online services. This portrays that Napster did not contribute to isolation of users since the Dispatch band music reached many users prompting widespread tours and concerts. This shows that it contributed to bringing togetherness amongst the users. Despite the challenges, Napster ensured diversification of ideologies that promoted social construction. With respect to isolation, online media can overcome this challenge as in the case of the Dispatch band. The Dispatch band had no prior promotion or radio play that could have influenced polarization. Therefore, no dominant position influenced users towards them. Instead, it was at freewill since the group was not formally known (Biagi, 2012).
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