In a bid to reach the college crowd and other young fans of alternative rock, Napster Inc. — the maker of the popular, but controversial, file-sharing software — on Wednesday committed $1.8 million to sponsor a concert tour featuring Limp Bizkit.
The tour, featuring bands Limp Bizkit and Cypress Hill, is set to begin on July 4 in Chicago. It will visit 24 venues, seating 3,000 to 5,000 people, in 10 cities over four weeks.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to work with great bands that have such passionate music fans, like Limp Bizkit,” said Shawn Fanning, the 19-year-old founder of Napster.
Napster has been very controversial in the music industry, because it enables the easy sharing of MP3 files, which is often done without regard to copyright violations. The company has also raised the ire of network administrators on college campuses, because the popular program was expending a significant amount of Internet bandwidth.
Moreover, it has seriously angered some well-known artists, such as Metallica and rap artist Dr. Dre. Last week, Metallica sued Napster and some schools for copyright infringement.
This week, Dr. Dre raised the bar by going after both the company and university students who are using them. In response, the artist is asking that the court shut down Napster and award damages of $100,000 per illegally copied work, or as much as $10 million.