Napster (pay service)

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Napster, LLC
IndustryOnline music
FoundedMarch 2003; 19 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.


Napster preview version 5.0 beta
Napster 5.0 beta
Developer(s)Napster, Inc.
Stable release / August 31, 2010; 11 years ago (2010-08-31)
Preview release
5.0 / 2012; 10 years ago (2012)
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Wii U
TypeMedia player
LicenseDRM-free MP3, WMA

As a Roxio subsidiary[edit]

Roxio bought the assets of the original Napster company at its bankruptcy auction in 2002 and the online music service called pressplay in 2003, with the intention of using these assets as the basis of a new legal online music service which would let users access music through a subscription or on a fee-per-song basis. Roxio spent years revamping the company as a non-free online music service. This involved a great deal of management re-organization and the start of a new business model. Roxio spent years developing a network of business partners and relationships to ensure success for their new enterprise.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]

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.[18]

Free Napster[edit]

In May 2006, Napster launched Free Napster. (via the URL It was a free, advertising-supported Web-based music player that enabled U.S. Napster 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. Visitors could also purchase DRM-free MP3 downloads. It was discontinued in March 2010.

As a Best Buy company[edit]

In 2008 Best Buy decided to enter the digital music market after introducing its Insignia line of MP3 players in the hopes of leveraging Napster's network to reach new consumers.[19] Stiff competition with iTunes, Amazon MP3 and MySpace Music seriously threatened Napster's relevance and by 2008 the company was recording millions of dollars in losses for the second year in a row.[20] Napster was formerly headed by Chris Gorog who served as Chairman and CEO, Bradford D. Duea who served as President and Christopher Allen who served as Chief Operating Officer.  On January 6, 2010, Gorog and Duea stepped down from their positions.  In an interview, Gorog stated that "After we understood the approach Best Buy was taking with Napster, it became clear the company didn't need a CEO, a president and a COO going forward".[21] Allen assumed the position of "General Manager," reporting to Chris Homeister, Best Buy's senior vice president of merchandising entertainment.[22][23]

Purchase by Rhapsody[edit]

The company was acquired by Rhapsody, another streaming and download service, in 2011. On July 14, 2016, Rhapsody formally changed its name to Napster, joining the 33 countries where it already operated as Napster to form one global brand.[24][25]


Napster, the basic subscription tier, offers unlimited listening for $5–7 per month (£10 per month in the UK).  US members may also purchase DRM-free MP3 downloads at a discount. Napster also offers an MP3 store, a pay-per-track store which does not require a monthly subscription fee.

Napster To Go, the company's portable subscription tier, allowed unlimited transfer of music for $8–10 per month (£8 per month in the UK) This service was discontinued after the takeover by Rhapsody.

Napster's mobile music service Napster Mobile enables users to search and browse Napster’s music catalog and preview, purchase and play songs on their mobile handset through an integrated music player.

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. ^ ^ Penn State and Napster team up to make legal tunes available to students Archived 2006-04-09 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ ^ FairUse4WM strips Windows Media DRM!
  7. ^ ^ /How To Steal Music..... Sort Of
  8. ^ ^ Audio extravaganza!
  9. ^ ^ Do the Math advertisement
  10. ^ ^ TMO reports
  11. ^ ^ As of January 18, 2006. See press release
  12. ^ ^ As of the 2006 fiscal year, the last year Real broke out dedicated Rhapsody subscriber numbers.
  13. ^ ^ Vance, Ashlee (November 7, 2003). "Penn State students revolt against Napster, DRM invasion". The Register.
  14. ^ ^ Napster, Inc (July 19, 2004). Global Napster Expands University Program with the Addition of Six Schools. Press Release.
  15. ^ ^ Viega, Alex (January 25, 2006). "Napster denies rumors of trouble amid layoffs". San Jose Mercury News.
  16. ^ ^ White, Michael (September 18, 2006). "Napster Hires UBS to Evaluate Possible Company Sale". Bloomberg.
  17. ^ ^ Hessaldahl, Arik (September 19, 2006). "A Needy Napster Searches for Takers". Business Week.
  18. ^ Wiley, M. (October 9, 2003). "Samsung Napster YP-910GS". IGN.
  19. ^ "Best Buy To Acquire Napster". TechCrunch. September 15, 2008.
  20. ^ Skilling's, Jon (September 15, 2008). "Best Buy nabs Napster for $121 million". CNET.
  21. ^ Q&A: Napster ex-CEO Chris Gorog by Antony Bruno, January 19, 2010
  22. ^ Former Napster CEO’s “Dream” More of a Nightmare When You Really Think About It by John Paczkowski, January 6, 2010
  23. ^ ^ Dignan, Larry (September 15, 2008). "Best Buy acquires Napster; Eyes digital music distribution".
  24. ^ "Rhapsody rebrands itself as Napster because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯". The Verge. 2016-06-14. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-11-13. Retrieved 2017-01-15.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]