In the beginning, there was Napster.
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Digital compression made music available in packages small enough to be downloaded via dial-up modems by the late 1990's. Music became free, as in "free beer" free.
And that's when some genius nabbed the domain name MP3.com and became at least a millionaire by creating a place online for musicians to upload their dreams. There were 8 million dreams there. Mine were just some of them.
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After trying to get my music out there in the usual (and some not usual) ways, MP3.com seemed great. I could quickly make my music available to anyone in the world who had access to a computer and the internet. Surely the excellence of my songs would now be widely appreciated.
Or not. After a year or so, the most downloaded artist on the site was some guy playing easy-listening pop music on a digital piano. The "charts" could be gamed if you had enough friends with time on their hands, but anyone already famous could camp out at the top as long as they liked.
Then there was this, addressed in a comment I posted in 1999:

Has anyone else had this experience?
A friend says-
"Hey, I went to your site to download some music, but they wanted me to register and give away all this personal information! What's up with that?"
And of course, you say, "well, just lie to 'em- give them phoney information."
And they say, "They won't allow that- it's gotta be real! No way am I giving that out! Too bad, because I wanted to download your music."
Why does mp3.com continue to make it hard to promote ourselves at the same time they encourage us to promote ourselves?
We were so innocent back then! Of course, the guy running mp3.com was harvesting the most important thing, the biggest money-making thing online, user data, even then. Gotta hand it to him, he was ahead of the curve. He had the game to pursue his dreams, whereas I was just having ideas about what would help me achieve mine.
But that was because I wasn't into running a business, I wanted to make music and reach an audience. When it had become apparent that a place like MP3.com or I.U.M.A.
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was not the way to do it, it seemed the solution would be starting a website of my own.
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