Peer-to-peer file sharing programs – Since Napster, a slew of different file sharing clients have emerged. Some have followed in Napster’s footsteps and shut down, but below are some popular ones that are still active.
eMule – Starting off in 2002 as an alternative to eDonkey (a network and peer-to-peer client that ceased operations after an RIAA settlement) the program offers a reward system for frequent uploaders, among other features. [PC]
Kazaa – Once a popular program for getting music (and also infamous for the malware and viruses that it disseminated), the company stopped allowing illegal downloading after a settlement with the recording industry. Some users still use unauthorized versions of the program (like Kazaa Lite), but the amount of shared content is very low. [PC]
Soulseek – Created by a former Napster programmer, this peer-to-peer program first emerged around 2001 and is known for its rich selection of electronic, underground and avant-garde music. [PC]
Shareaza – This peer-to-peer client can connect to a number of different file sharing networks. [PC]
Cabos – A file sharing program similar to LimeWire. [Mac and PC]
Acquisition – Also similar to LimeWire, this program also supports BitTorrent sharing. [Mac]
Mp3 Blogs – Web logs where one posts a few mp3s for readers to download, usually with a short description of the song or artist. Sometimes artists and labels authorize distribution of these files, but often bloggers post them without permission. New mp3 blogs pop up every day, but here are some of the longest-running and most popular ones.
Said The Gramophone – Another early mp3 blog.
Stereogum – One of the most popular mp3 blogs, Stereogum also provides music news, gossip and video.
Torrents – A newer form of peer-to-peer file sharing that allows a user to download different parts of a file from different users. This reduces the bandwidth-usage for any individual file sharer.
Disclaimer: Click at your own risk! Sharing or downloading copyrighted files is, after all, illegal, and many file sharing programs and networks are plagued with adware, malware, computer viruses and spam.