Think about Facebook, iPods, iTunes — all things you might use every single day. They all have seeds in the “little program that could,” called Napster. Co-created by Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker in the late 1990s, the file-sharing service/social network was not only ahead of its time technologically and socially, it completely changed how the public consumes media. If it wasn’t for Fanning and Parker, who knows how long it would have taken for corporations to allow you to download music on your computer or rent one of their movies without leaving your house.

All this is at the center of Downloaded, a brand-new documentary by Alex Winter. Winter (seen above with Fanning and Parker) is best known as an actor (Lost Boys, Bill and Ted) but has been directing for some time. With Downloaded, he tackles a massive topic with authority and energy, telling the story of Napster from its earliest moments through its culture peak and long term fallout. It world premieres this week at South by Southwest in Austin and will be released by VH1 Rock Docs. After that, you’ll be able to see it on demand and online.

We spoke to Winter about Downloaded and found out it was a project he’d been developing for long time before it evolved into its current state. He talked about trying to focus such a huge topic, culling together a huge wealth of media and, of course, The Lost Boys and Bill and Ted 3. Read the interview below. Read More »

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Many of us think of Alex Winter only as Bill S. Preston, Esq., the most excellent co-star of the Bill and Ted movies. But since those films were released, the actor has found himself behind the camera quite often, directing theatrical and TV movies, and TV shows. Then last year he signed to make a documentary about the cultural milestone Napster, an online music sharing software that not only changed the way we consume music, but changed the internet as well. That project, called Downloaded, seems to be nearing completion and the first trailer has been released. Check it out below. Read More »

Alex Winter Making A Napster Documentary

Alex Winter is making a new movie. Unfortunately, it’s not Bill and Ted 3 just yet. Instead, Winter is getting back behind the camera to make a movie about the rise of fall of the legendary (or infamous, depending on how you look at it) music sharing sharing service Napster. Winter had been developing the story as a narrative screenplay for the better part of a decade but now, with the backing of VH1, he’ll do it as a documentary. Both Shawn Fanning and Shawn Parker will be part of the project. Read more about it after the jump. Read More »

best-buy-shelves

Prepare to see less shelves of DVDs and CDs at your local Best Buy. In a recent piece from the LA Times, we’ve learned that the mega-retailer sees that the tide is turning for physical products down the line, and is beginning to look towards further supporting digital downloads and streaming services. This doesn’t mean Best Buy will be giving up on new DVD, Bluray, and CD releases—but expect to see less room for older and less popular films and music on store shelves.

Ryan Pirozzi, direct of Best Buy digital media, sums up their new outlook:

Digital is developing as an important channel, and our three-point strategy is to drive adoption of Internet-connectable devices, drive connection and drive consumption using our deep consumer relationships.

Read More »

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