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Rhapsody to rebrand as Napster in the US

By | Published on Wednesday 15 June 2016

Napster Is Coming

US streaming music firm Rhapsody has confirmed it is rebranding its American service as Napster, which will mean it will now have just the one brand worldwide.

Rhapsody acquired Napster in 2011. The former was originally the music platform of RealNetworks, while the latter began life as a subscription download service, its owners having acquired the Napster brand during the bankruptcy of the file-sharing network that made it so (in)famous.

Both were very early players in the digital music space that saw new entrants in the market storm ahead of them as subscription streaming really started to gain momentum five years ago. Though they have seen some alright subscriber number increases in the last couple of years.

Rhapsody has only ever operated in the US, so when it acquired the multi-territory Napster business, it continued to use the latter brand outside America. Presumably because all the research showed it enjoyed high brand recognition, even though that recognition was arguably more for the brand’s original file-sharing incarnation rather than the subsequent legitimate music service using the name.

But in the US, the Napster brand was phased out, meaning that whenever you talk about the service on a global basis you have to say Rhapsody/Napster (well, we liked Napsody, but the firm never followed out lead). Rumours that the company would dump the Rhapsody brand and go with Napster worldwide started to circulate last year.

“Rhapsody is becoming Napster”, said the company on its blog yesterday. “No changes to your playlists, favourites, albums, and artists. Same music. Same service. Same price. 100% the music you love. Stay tuned!” We will, don’t you worry, we will.