Rhapsody Renaming Itself Napster, Layoffs Expected
June 15, 2016 at 2:11 PM (PT)
RHAPSODY announced on its website yesterday that "NAPSTER Is Coming," indicating that will be its new name, adding, "No changes to your playlists, favorites, albums and artists. Same music. Same service. Same price. 100% the music you love. Stay tuned!"
RHAPSODY was one of the original music streaming services, starting back in 2001 as LISTEN.COM, and will now change its brand a second time. Seventeen years after it debuted and caused a revolution that transformed the music industry, NAPSTER -- and its kitty-cat-with-headphones logo -- is back.
RHAPSODY had already been branding its streaming service as NAPSTER in several countries outside the U.S. With an eye towards '90s nostalgia, the company is hoping to find a way to compete in the increasingly crowded subscription streaming music market.
The new NAPSTER will still charge $1 for the first three months and then $9.99 every month after that to stream music from the company's library.
A little NAPSTER history. After a court order shuttered it in 2002, the company tried a legal, paid business model in 2003, later launching as a Flash-based, single-serve song streaming site in 2006. In 2008, BEST BUY acquired the brand, with RHAPSODY taking it over in 2011.
According to various reports, the company will lay off some of its staff and close its SAN FRANCISCO office.