The main advantage of a network such as Napster is the easy access provided to users for searching any music. Once connected, all you needed to do was send a search-and a specific one at that to get whatever you want.
Another factor is that unlike Web search results that are not updated from time to time, results obtained from Napster are current and available. One click and the download is on! Moreover, downloads are multi-threaded, so all available parts from sources are to be downloaded first instead of a sequential download. This multithreaded downloading principle is currently implemented in newer P2P software and even in software such as Mass Downloader and Flashget which let you make HTTP downloads faster.
In case of Napster, the system makes available a massive variety of music, because the users provide the files, not Napster. Napster just provides the software and network infrastructure, and users provide the content. This system inherently provides more benefit to the users the more popular it becomes. Popularity in this case is a direct result of improving content.
Napster’s revenue plans included selling advertising space on their Web site and use their brand equity to sell T-shirts. But therevenue generated using such an idea amounted to peanuts and so Napster was considered a free service and users just kept logging on and downloading.
However, there was one slight problem. The music industry in America is one of the biggest worldwide. Napster only dealt with music files and not with any other types such as documents or applications. This kept it out of the legal roadblocks but eventually the music industry’s feathers were ruffled.
Using legal resources, the Napster service was shut down by the American Music Industry that cited several reason including artists not receiving their rightful dues due to the Napster service.
Finally, Napster was shut down and merged with Bertelsmann (BMG Music). In its current avatar, Napster is charging an access fee for all their services and is now selling music online as well. But this was not the end of the world for P2P users. By the time Napster got into a legal tangle with the authorities, networks such as KaZaA and eDonkey had already arrived and users were switching to these networks, fast.