The interviewees are no lightweights. Included are former Napster CEO Hank Bank, Imeem founder Dalton Caldwell, Seeqpod founder Kasian Franks, Real Networks founder Rob Glaser, Scour VP & General Counsel Craig Grossman, former Gracenote CEO David Hyman, AudioGalaxy founder Michael Merhej, founder of MP3Tunes Michael Robertson, former RIAA CEO Hilary Rosen, and numerous venture capitalists and label execs.
The result is an unprecedented report on how the shutdown of Napster chilled innovation, discouraged investment, and led to a climate of copyright law-fueled fear that pushed technologists and music further apart.
It started with a drain on cash. Interviewees reported that venture capital funding for digital music “became a wasteland”, a “scorched earth kind of place” housing a “graveyard of music companies.” With the big labels choosing where and when to sue, funding was hard to come by.