Shawn Fanning

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{system, computer, user}
{film, series, show}
{company, market, business}
{work, book, publish}
{law, state, case}
{game, team, player}
{son, year, death}
{album, band, music}
{group, member, jewish}
{school, student, university}

Shawn Fanning (born November 22, 1980) is an American computer programmer, serial entrepreneur, and angel investor. He is famous for developing Napster, one of the first popular peer-to-peer ("P2P") file sharing platforms, in 1998. The popularity of Napster was widespread and Fanning was featured on the cover of Time magazine.[2] The site in its initial free P2P incarnation was shut down in 2001 after the company's unsuccessful appeal of court orders arising from its encouraging the illegal sharing of copyrighted material. A paid subscription version of the site followed, and remains the current format. Following his involvement with Napster, he joined, and invested in, a number of early-stage technology startup companies.



Fanning was born in Brockton, Massachusetts. He worked summers at his uncle, John Fanning's Internet company,, where he spent much of the time sleeping on the couch. "I was just getting into programming, so I spent a lot of my time just fiddling with projects and hanging out." During this work, Fanning spent months writing the code for Napster, a program that could provide an easy way to download music.

After graduating from Harwich High School in 1998, Fanning enrolled at Boston's Northeastern University. Shawn spent Christmas break working at the Hull, Massachusetts offices of with his uncle John, pushing himself to get the Napster system completed. In early 1999, the system was launched. Later he appeared on the cover of Wired Magazine and rose to fame. Soon after, however, Napster was the target of several music industry-backed lawsuits, which ultimately led to the end of the service. Roxio purchased the logo and trademark effectively changing its name to Napster, LLC. Best Buy later purchased the company.


In 2003, Fanning opened a new company, Snocap, along with Jordan Mendelson (Napster's Chief Architect), and Ron Conway. The company aspired to be a legitimate marketplace for digital media. However, their partners and the public did not respond well. Customer support was poor, and technical issues were numerous. One of their primary partners, CD Baby, wrote a scathing account of their relationship.[3][4] In late 2007, Snocap laid off 60% of its workforce. ValleyWag wrote an article that Fanning had long left Snocap and began to work on another venture, Rupture. The Rupture project was announced in late 2006 with seed funding, and CrunchBase notes the date Shawn officially became CEO of Rupture was October 2, 2007. The ValleyWag article stated that the failure was largely due to Snocap's CEO Rusty Rueff and that of former CTO Dave Rowley, who "made a mess of engineering before he was fired".[5] Snocap was looking to sell itself and fast.[6] In 2008, they found a buyer; imeem acquired Snocap in a fire sale.[7][8]

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