The Napster Music Community (originally published in November 2001)

Kacper Poblocki

Abstract


This paper deals with "Napster Music Community," a program that between June 2000 and June 2001 connected nearly 60 million of music fans and enables them to exchange music files. The main hypothesis is that Napster is an imagined network community. The first section of the paper gives a theoretical background to the problems addressed: the notions of community and network, the concepts of imagined and network community, as well as the debate on virtual communities are discussed there. Pundits such as Ferdinand Tönnies, Emile Durkheim, Benedict Anderson, Barry Wellman, Morris Janowitz, Robert Putnam and others are consulted. The third part of this paper consist firstly of an analysis of the Napster software that aims at demonstrating the structure for the actors to interact within, and secondly addresses 12 variables that have been distinguished as descriptive of an imagined and network community. In conclusion several implications from the research are drawn.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v0i0.1458



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