Earlier today, Rhapsody announced that it had acquired Napster from Best Buy. The purchase was reportedly done to expand Rhapsody’s user base (whether Napster’s deals with labels will cross over is currently unclear). Best Buy will reportedly receive a minority stake in Rhapsody, a small cry from what Best Buy originally bought Napster for in 2008.The acquisition is expected to close on November 30.
However, despite the merge and the name recognition, it’s beginning to sound as if the one final sharing king/currently online music service will seize to exist once the acquisition is finalized. According to inside reports shared with Digital Music News, Rhapsody will likely fold the Napster name. In other words, Rhapsody will be simply taking Napster’s subscriptions and retiring Napster for good. The fact that Napster is currently not one of the services apart of Facebook’s music integration (while Rhapsody is) also isn’t a good sign for its life expectancy.
In a way, this would be a sad end for the service that helped bring the music industry to its knees about a decade ago. Then again, when was the last time anyone actually used Napster? Apparently, Rhapsody has 800,000 subscribers, while Napster reportedly has half of that (though an exact number was not revealed during Rhapsody’s announcement of the merger). No wonder Best Buy never mentioned Napster in their plans to enter the cloud subscription service market (which we’re still waiting for, by the way).
Whatever Napster’s outcome will be, the acquisition is certainly Rhapsody’s attempted at battling new competition in music streaming (or to be more precise, Spotify). While the new subscribers they will get from Napster will help a bit, Rhapsody will need to do a lot more to compete against Spotify and all the buzz it’s been getting. Keeping Napster’s name might attract a little attention for Rhapsody (considering its history), but we’ll ask again: when was the last time you used Napster?
[via Digital Music News, peHUB, and CNET]