I believe Napster was really ahead of its time when it was founded in the early 2000's. Given that the service was entirely illegal, it's the only time it could have possibly existed. I am certainly glad I was able to experience it prior to being changed because it introduced me to a lot of new music during my high school years.
Napster was ahead of its time when it was founded in the early 2000s. This is because they took the idea of private file sharing and took it public. No one else was doing this at the time. YouTube and iTunes were nowhere to be found. Napster laid the map when it came to this technology.
When Napster was founded, there was no such thing as digital music distribution. The record industry was still only distributing music through old-fashioned means such as music CDs and cassette tape. Napster was the first website that realized that music could be distributed digitally online, using the mp3 format. In fact, if it weren't for Napster, there would be no such thing as iTunes or any other type of digital service where consumers can download songs in mp3 format.
Napster was one of the first "free" services to capitalize on advertising rather than charge members for use. Napster existed for long enough to make a fortune off of the lack of Internet laws addressing copy write issues. Once the laws were adapted and precedent set, Napster had already made enough money to buy a country.
When Napster came out, I really could not believe what I was seeing. After so many years of calling the radio to request songs and record them onto a tape, I could just log on to the internet and download any song I wanted for free. It was almost a decade ahead of its time.