In the last few years of Kazaa the numbers are stronger than ever but the light was dimming

Technology leaders can feel it when the platform they know so well begins to die and it is usually years before the outside world can see it.

As CTO of Kazaa, I knew it was dead 2 years before everyone else.

2001 was the beginning of the two-way, rich media internet

Kazaa first shipped in 2001. This is 4 years before YouTube was founded. The internet was a one-way platform that most people connected to with a dialup modem.

It was bursting with life.

Each download was a new user from a new IP address. Files were being shared that we had never seen on the internet. Not just music files and movies which the platform became (in)famous for but also novels people had written, recipes, home made movies and how to videos. Young artists had a platform to share their indie tracks and find new audiences.

It was the beginning of the two-way internet we know today.

As the CTO of the company, I got a ‘feel’ for it.

There was very little instrumentation like we see in modern web apps because Kazaa was 100% peer to peer so there was no centralised hook to capture the information.

So it was all ‘feel’.

But it felt alive. The users were growing, exploring, creating.

Bursting wth potential.

At the height of Kazaa there were 5–6 million users online at any one time and climbing

But it was already dead.

The legal case against the company had done the job it had set out to do. Users were being directly sued for copyright infringement and huge server farms paid for by the media industry were sharing millions of broken files named to appear as a movie or a song.

The bots and the businesses were joining the network to exploit the huge user base they could see from the outside.

But the heart of the platform had stopped beating. The creators had left and the ‘takers’ were all that remained.

And I could feel it.

But the numbers still went up. Like a rocket that has stopped burning but momentum propels the vehicle upwards.

For now.

More Kazaa stories

If this was interesting, I’ve been sharing a few stories from my time at Kazaa.

This post was created with Typeshare



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Phil Morle

Phil Morle

Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.