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« March 15, 2013

SXSW 2013 Film Reviews: 'Downloaded'

Alex Winter's Napster documentary scratches a nostalgic itch
Review by Dan Solomon

Downloaded

Documentary Spotlight, World Premiere
D: Alex Winter; with Sean Parker, Shawn Fanning, DJ Spooky

If sufficient time has passed for late-Nineties/early-Aughties nostalgia to be in effect, Downloaded may well scratch that itch for those who came of age in the Napster era. The documentary – full of screenshots of Winamp Media Players and old, hilariously amateurish corporate websites – tells the story of Napster founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, and the company that jump-started the decline of the music industry. Unfortunately, it doesn't do a whole lot more than offer a history of something that we've evolved past; a succession of talking-heads explaining how revolutionary Napster was in bringing so much music to people via their computers doesn't really resonate in a world with iTunes, Spotify, and What.CD. Music fans too young to remember Napster are likely to be unimpressed, and those who lived it won't have much to find here besides some memories of how the Internet looked in 1999.

Saturday, March 16, 4:30pm, Vimeo
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