I'm saving this whole thread re-reading it over and over again, thanks to Aloisius chiming in (giving a valuable and rare peek at the back-end), and the insight into what drives music discovery.
I do credit Napster for awakening a love for music. My father had a deep record collection from the 60's, and he had mentioned some very hard to find items he's wanted for decades that I found on Napster in couple of hours of searching. This was what made it awesome for me. The ability to browse someone else's collection was an incredibly effective music discovery system, and introduced me to music I'd never have discovered on my own.
Granted, this happened despite the music industry's efforts, it took a lot of pressure from Apple to get there. But still, I very much prefer the current situation over when Napster reigned. (Does noone remember the amount of garbage on Napster? The malware, the fake files, the low quality files? Not to speak of the terrible speeds -- many peers were still on dial-up...)
With iTunes, you can find new music easily, download high quality files, and get the album art and liner notes. Downloading and purchasing is fast and safe. You get to pay a fair price and know that the rights holders are being compensated.
After that, it was relatively easy for Apple to go DRM-free (though oddly, they still refused to do it for some time after).
* Note: Shawn Fanning and I founded SNOCAP after Napster blew up.