The most influential person in music over the last 25 years
The advent of digital music and the MP3 digital music format has changed music in ways its inventors could never have forseen. Strangely, the inventors of the new medium aren’t nearly as important as the man who brought the MP3 into our lives.
The MP3 took many years and people to develop. I once heard one of the project leaders say they thought they were done, but the A Capella intro to the song Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega gave them a lot of trouble. Yet I can’t name a single member of the team or anyone else that contributed to the MP3, but Shawn Fanning’s Napster dropped the technology right into our laps.
I decided I wanted to write something about Napster after WNYC’s Sound Check gave their own The most influential person in music over the last 25 years award to Steve Jobs for the iPod. I don’t think I was aware of compressed digital music before Napster and the idea that the means of making the MP3 portable is more important than the format itself is hard for me to swallow. The guy who brought me the format is more important than the guy who made it easier to haul around.