When Napster burst onto the scene, no one was ready for them. We can say, without hesitation, the service revolutionized the digital music landscape, and many of the music service models providers follow today were prompted by Napster.
The first massively popular peer-to-peer or P2P network, Napster played a huge part is the wide scale and rapid adoption of MP3 as the preferred format for music, since MP3's small file size made it ideal for swapping over the internet even with dial-up connections. At the same time, it contributed to the digitization of music, with more and more music collections finding their way to hard disks from CDs.
But after legal action was taken, Napster had to change its services to comply with the letter of the law. Shorn of its unique selling point, the service lost subscribers and eventually was bought over by Best Buy in 2008. Now the majority of its assets and subscriber lists will be passed along to Rhapsody, one of the internet's oldest music streaming sites, who it seems want to dig in and entrench themselves as they face competition from new-comer Spotify.
Rhapsody has decided that the Napster brand and name will eventually be phased out completely. Which we guess is a good thing, because now we can fondly remember how Napster started P2P-sharing and empowered music lovers, without having to see it still struggle and flounder as a pale imitation of itself.