Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning Reunite to Launch Airtime

Video chat service looks to change strangers into friends.

By Sajid Farooq
|  Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012  |  Updated 11:18 AM PDT
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Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning Launch Airtime

Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning launched a new service Tuesday called Airtime.

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Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning are reunited and the two hope it feels a lot better than the last time.

The two men behind Napster met 15 years ago in an Internet chat room and went on to almost "destroy" the music business with their peer-to-peer file-sharing network.

Tuesday the two men were in New York City introducing the world to their latest venture Airtime, a live video platform that allows users to video chat with anyone based on similar interests.

"There’s something exciting about bringing spontaneity to the Internet," Parker said in a statement. "All of your interactions online are constrained by the people you already know. That wasn’t always the case. If it weren’t for the internet, Fanning and I would have never become friends. As we move from a social graph to an interest graph, there are great possibilities for our world. That’s what we’re trying to tap into with Airtime."

If the press conference was any indication, Airtime's life span may be as short lived as Napster.

There were several technical errors during the presentation that was suppose to showcase Parker live video-chatting with celebrities such as Jim Carey, Alicia Keys, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Joel McHale, according to reports.

But when things did work, there were amusing lines like when Carry jumped on and said "Where do I click to download music...to destroy the music industry."

In truth the duo may never be able to escape the shadow that Napster cast on their careers, despite Parker becoming a billionaire since his teenage days and Fanning has gone on to be featured in movies and to launch other companies.

Airtime is live for users over the age of 13 with an active Facebook account to try out. The company says it requires a Facebook account to help it pair you with people who like similar things.

Something Fanning says should be embraced and not feared.

"We look at Airtime as if it were a smart and engaging host," Fanning said in a statement. "Airtime is a service that does everything it can to help you find the people that you should know, and then guide your conversations further. These are connections that wouldn’t be possible in the real world. If you look at this from an idealistic standpoint, Airtime is something only technology can facilitate."

The company has funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel Partners, Google Ventures, and Social + Capital.

You can see the service in action in the video below.

 

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