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Napster (pay service)

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Napster, LLC
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryOnline music
FoundedMarch 2003; 21 years ago (2003-03)
DefunctNovember 2011 (2011-November)
FateAcquired by Rhapsody International Inc.
HeadquartersLos Angeles, California, United States
Key people
Mike Davis, CEO[1]
Napster to Go
Napster MP3 Store
RevenueIncrease$111.08 million USD (FY 2007)
Decrease$36.83 million USD (FY 2007)
Number of employees
138 (2007)
ParentBest Buy (2008–2011)
Roxio (2003–2008)

Napster, commonly known as “Napster 2.0”,[2][3] was a music streaming service and digital music store, launched by Roxio in 2003 under the purchased name and trademarks of former free peer-to-peer file sharing software Napster in the aftermath of the latter's 2002 bankruptcy and subsequent shut down after a series of legal actions taken by the RIAA.[4] Roxio purchased Napster and a music streaming service called PressPlay in 2003,[3] to create a new legal online music service that lets users access music through a subscription or on a fee-per-song basis. Napster was later acquired by Best Buy. The service was acquired by rival Rhapsody in 2011.


Developer(s)Napster, Inc.
Stable release / August 31, 2010; 13 years ago (2010-08-31)
Preview release
5.0 / 2012; 12 years ago (2012)
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Wii U
TypeMedia player
LicenseDRM-free MP3, WMA

As a Roxio subsidiary[edit]

In 2002, Roxio bought the assets of the original Napster at its bankruptcy auction and acquired PressPlay in May 2003 for $40 million.[5] After integrating the services, Roxio launched a revamped Napster in October 2003, whereby users were able to download songs a-la-carte or pay for a monthly unlimited download and streaming media service.[6][7] Users were also able to share playlists and browse other users' libraries.[8]

Napster MP3 player[edit]

Soon after launching the revamped Napster, Roxio partnered with Korean electronics maker Samsung to create a Napster-branded MP3 player. The player, named Samsung Napster YP-910 came with a 20GB hard disk that ran for ten hours on a lithium-polymer battery. It used a special version of Napster software and drivers to transfer DRM-protected files to the built-in hard disk.[9]

Free Napster[edit]

In May 2006, Napster launched Free Napster, a free, advertising-supported Web-based music player that enabled users to stream full-length versions of all the songs in Napster's catalog of over 8 million tracks three times each, without downloading any software or making any service commitment.[10][11] Visitors could also purchase DRM-free MP3 downloads. It was discontinued in March 2010.[12]

As a Best Buy company[edit]

In September 2008, after introducing its Insignia line of portable media players, Best Buy acquired Napster for $121 million. At that time, Napster was incurring significant losses due to new competition and had approximately 760,000 subscribers.[13][14][15] In January 2010, after losing subscribers, the CEO position, held by Chris Gorog, was eliminated.[16]

Purchase by Rhapsody[edit]

In 2011, the company was acquired by Rhapsody, which rebranded the combined application as Napster (streaming music service).[17][18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Napster: Napster Management.
  2. ^ "Napster Homepage". Napster. Archived from the original on December 25, 2003.
  3. ^ a b Viksnins, Rebecca (October 8, 2004). "Napster 2.0 Review". CNET.
  4. ^ "Porno company offers to buy Napster". CNET. CNET Networks. September 12, 2002.
  5. ^ "Roxio Buys Pressplay, Napster Lives". Wired. May 19, 2003. {{cite magazine}}: Unknown parameter |agency= ignored (help)
  6. ^ "Roxio Sets Date for Napster Launch". The Wall Street Journal. October 9, 2003.
  7. ^ "Roxio Reveals Details Of Retooled Napster". Billboard. October 10, 2003.
  8. ^ Viksnins, Rebecca (October 9, 2003). "Napster 2.0". CNET.
  9. ^ Wiley, M. (October 9, 2003). "Samsung Napster YP-910GS". IGN.
  10. ^ "Napster Available For Download". Forbes. September 19, 2006.
  11. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn (September 19, 2006). "Napster Hires UBS to Explore a Possible Sale". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ Greenfield, Rebecca (December 1, 2011). "Napster's Seven Lives Are Finished". The Atlantic.
  13. ^ "Best Buy To Acquire Napster". TechCrunch. September 15, 2008.
  14. ^ Skillings, Jon (September 15, 2008). "Best Buy nabs Napster for $121 million". CNET.
  15. ^ HANSELL, SAUL (September 15, 2008). "Best Buy Bails Out Failing Napster". The New York Times.
  16. ^ Paczkowski, John (January 6, 2010). "Former Napster CEO's "Dream" More of a Nightmare When You Really Think About It". All Things D.
  17. ^ Popper, Ben (June 14, 2016). "Rhapsody rebrands itself as Napster because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯". The Verge.
  18. ^ BISHOP, TODD (June 14, 2016). "Rhapsody will rebrand as Napster, creating 'one global brand' for longtime music service". GeekWire.

External links[edit]