Napster is currently 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 sharing of music files among users. This marked a revolution in the music industry and formed a platform upon which online music services are based. It emerged as a powerful promotion tool for various artists and bands amongst them, Dispatch Band. Dispatch band is an American independent band formed back in 1996. The band previously 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 high heights. As a result, Dispatch band toured and performed in many cities that they had never reached or dreamed off. As of 2007, Dispatch band was the first ever known independent band to perform in New York’s Madison Square Garden three nights in a row (Biagi, 2012).
The one and most significant aspect of Napster file sharing services was active involvement of the audience. In this respect, more users or audiences are rather actively involved in receiving and sharing of information. Napster technology facilitated easy sharing of music files in MP3 format among users. In regards to Dispatch band, display of their music in Napster enabled its music to reach many audiences. This was attributed to Napster’s interface which was user friendly. This allowed easy downloading of music copies that could have been otherwise hard to get including old songs, concert songs and even unreleased recordings. On top of this, majority of users enjoyed downloading and trading music at no extra costs. In addition, Napster enabled users to create their music profiles where they can compile their own albums. However, users choose the music on the basis of their values, beliefs, culture, background, experiences, interest and education. Through this, users develop their social constraints of reality (Croteau, Hoynes, and Milan, 2012).
On the contrary, the active audience influence on media can lead to harm. First and foremost, it can contribute to users narrowing and limiting themselves to specifics dimensions. For example, users may isolate themselves and relate with only those whom they like-minded. 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 common occurrence. This takes shape where a group with views attracting much attention tends to absorb even the minority. Dispatch band 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 transform to various adverse effects. However, this is not common for all online media particularly Napster. As mentioned above, success of Dispatch Band group was attributed to Napster 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 it challenges, Napster ensured diversification of ideologies which promoted social construction. Relative to isolation due to polarization, online media can overcome this challenge as in the case of Dispatch band. 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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