Yes you read that right; Napster is back (or at least almost). After several years of silence, Napster is making a comeback to music streaming devices near you. (And this time, they’re keeping it legal.) It was almost easy to forget Napster with the rise of Spotify and iTunes entering the market, even though it was really one of the first big names in digital music.
With over 700,000 subscribers as loyal listeners, Napster took a hard crash and disappeared into memory… until now.
The Old Napster
For those of you that remember, the headphones-wearing bad cat was the coolest dog on the street providing a peer-to-peer focused network of music sharing. Launched in 1999 by Shawn and John Fanning, Napster was the “it” way to download and share MP3s. It was the Makah of music, until it’s premature downfall.
Due to a string of copyright infringements, Napster was completely shut down by 2001 due to compliancy with a pending injunction.
Lawsuit or not – the Napster supporters were still not willing to go down without a fight. The company passed through many hands in the next several years, with a leading buy of $121 million dollars by Best Buy in 2008. But alas, it wasn’t the end of the journey.
In September 2011, an undisclosed value transaction was made, and Rhapsody was able to call Napster it’s own. And only now, after a long pause of silence, it’s back.
Rhapsody Becomes Napster
On June 14, 2016, Rhapsody announced to the world it’s intentions for Napster in a tantalizing headline, “Rhapsody is becoming Napster” with the nostalgic icon of Napster’s bad cat staring menacingly into the eyes of music enthusiasts. He’s back!
The announcement was short and sweet, providing just a tease to both Rhapsody and Napster fans:
“No changes to your playlists, favorites, albums, and artists. Same music. Same service. Same price. 100% the music you love. Stay tuned!” – Rhapsody
Apparently Napster’s street cred proved to have more of a global pull than Rhapsody’s standing reputation. Rather than absorbing Napster into its existing subscribers, Rhapsody is going under a complete re-branding under the bad cat name.
And frankly – it’s working. With the mischievous marketing scheme, “Napster is coming,” fans wait with baited breath to resurrect the nostalgia of the music god being raised back to life – the Napster.
So what’s new? According to Rhapsody’s announcement, not much. Rhapsody users will be able to continue enjoying music as they always have. Music streaming devices that are currently offering Rhapsody like the HEOS by Denon systems and others will continue offering the same through the re-branded Napster service. Though we can expect to see a streamlined user experience and updated interface with the rebranding incorporating Napster’s iconic logo.
Same music, a whole lot more attitude.
The digital music market has been on the rise with a 6.9% increase in 2014 leading to a total revenue of $6.9 billion in 2014 alone. And breaking it down to subscription services like the Napster, that market grew by 39% in 2014 and continues to skyrocket above competing music service providers.
With the official takeover date unannounced, Napster promises to rejoin the global community of music-enthusiast this summer, “Same app. Same service. 100% legal.” – Napster (Glad they made that clear). At least the team is showing a sense of humor over their allegations, giving the world one more reason to fall back in love with the cheeky devil.
It’s a digital world and the rising demand for convenience and mobile integration for music streaming devices and services has created the ideal re-launching pad for services like Napster. So brace yourself for the new era – Napster is back.