First Downloaded Song
Ok, I’ll admit it. I was an early user of Napster. Oh, c’mon. Don’t look down your nose at me as if you’ve never copped a freebie, especially back when sharing was a cool new opportunity to explore bands you hadn’t heard. Really.
I still download songs at blogs, and sometimes I even check out new things on torrent sites. I don’t do it often, and I usually listen and delete. I use these sites to preview new music, or to make decisions about which songs to purchase from an album. Makes no sense to me to buy an entire album when I know I’m only going to skip over most of the songs, and it really pisses me off to spend 15 bucks on a cd that’s mostly filler. I’m so done with that. My collection is already out of hand and is getting too difficult to organize.
Anyway, I heard about Napster in an online chat room. I think it was late 1999, just before Napster was the hottest thing on the net. I had to learn how to use it by trial and error, and it took some time to figure it all out. At first, I must have been sharing my entire computer. It’s outright scary to think about it. I was just lucky that this was before people starting writing viruses and inserting them in shared files. I did get burned a few times, though, when a song had a gotcha in it. One Barenaked Ladies song began normally, then halfway through, they just started talking about this being their new song!
When I first took a look at what was being shared by people, it was like strolling through the gates at Disney World for the first time. I hastily made up a short list of bands/songs I wanted to hear and began scrolling through Napster searches. I meandered through the long lists of files, and I was sometimes overwhelmed. I wanted it all and I wanted it right away, damn it.
My first grab was a rather low-quality (124k) rip of William Topley‘s Delta Rain. I’d read about Topley’s deep voice somewhere, but I’d never heard any of his stuff, and it was never on listening stations in record stores. (Go figure. He wasn’t The Red Hot Chili Peppers or Snoop Dogg.) My first success was the Topley song.
I still have that file. Though I bought the CD and could rip a higher-quality mp3 anytime, I feel a little nostalgic about the file, since that first shot at Napster opened up a new world for me, and I have never looked back in regret or felt guilty for “stealing.”
This led me to the adventures in ripping songs, but that’s another story for another day.
William Topley – Delta Rain
William Topley’s site (where you can register for free VIP downloads)