Napster Is Back as Rhapsody Rebrands Its Streaming Service

Courtesy of Rhapsody

Remember Napster? Music streaming service Rhapsody hopes you do, as the company is getting ready to rebrand its U.S. operations under the Napster name.

The change won’t change anything for existing Rhaspody subscribers, the company promised in a blog post Tuesday, detailing that there will be “no changes to your playlists, favorites, albums, and artists.  Same music. Same service. Same price.”

So why is Rhapsody rebranding, you might ask? One reason is that it can. Rhapsody has owned the Napster brand ever since it acquired it from Best Buy in 2011.

Since then, Rhapsody has already been running its own service under the Napster brand in most countries, but kept the Rhapsody branding in the U.S. to not confuse its local user base.

But in recent months, Rhapsody has been feeling the heat from bigger and faster-growing competitors. Apple announced earlier this week that Apple Music now has 15 million paying customers, and Spotify revealed earlier this spring that it now has over 30 million paying subscribers.

As a result, Rhapsody has been forced to lay off some staffers, and is reportedly also closing its San Francisco office. A spokesperson framed both the rebrand and the layoffs as steps to “better position the company for growth” in a note sent to reporters Tuesday.

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  1. Rick Anzalone says:

    Greed Greed Greed! Rhapsody had one of the best music sites with a great non-complicated interface(matrix in which customers operated the site) to go with it’s simple to use format. Then they unveild their “new and improved” version(more like the new Coke) where you couldn’t download music from CD’s or buy music from them directly to add to your library. Then for good measure they complicated both the beautiful interface as well did away with the once simplistic and smooth way it used to operate. What an improvement.

    Now, they find themselves having to lay-off personnel and switch to Napster. Sounds like the typical “greedy capitalism” at it’s worst that has become all to familar in America. If there was another simpler music site out there….and there’s not, I would just switch and wish that Rhapsody/Napster go bankrupt like they deserve. Rhapsody’s behavior is exactly what’s wrong with this country now. GREED for profit blinds all!

    • Tracey Bell says:

      Hi Rick,
      I believe there was more that was not unveiled which inspired rhapsody to do this. People forget how back in 2011 Apple was pressuring Rhapsody to give them a 30% cut of the profits made from Apple users accessing the Rhapsody App from the Apple store. Hmmmm…. Apple has been trying to come up with strategies to undermine Rhapsody for years now. Beyonce inspired Apple when she agreed to release her album only into the ITUNED store then did it a second time. Also remember Rhapsody was at its peak with their new creation of unlimited music for one small .on they price. Now Apple, like always since Steve Jobs is no longer avaliable to offer great ideas, copies Rhapsody’s creation and names it Apple music; which is much better then simple old ITunes.bon top of that Apple is starting to get a lot of artist on board, with the idea inspired by beyonce only having their music on Apple, and of course these artist are going to do it because look at the amount of Money beyonce made by only releasing music on Apple. So now apple has the same format as rhapsody plus now I can’t find the music I was listening to on rhapsody last week now, but it’s on Apple Music! The sad thing is was Apple scenario with the artist before making this deal? Did apple reveal to them that. The concept that was in place with beyonce’s deal was the old method using only ITunes, or did they revel this and just offer these artist a nice percentage per the amount of fans that listen to their music on a weekly basis? We will never know the internal details, but this does prove Apple is becoming too much of a monoploy!

      So now we have rhapsody that has created an imagine for the name rhapsody, and the parent company knows their creation is going to fail soon due to Apple’s unfairness. What’s does rhapsody do? Well I know what a smart business owner would do…. change the name of your product that you work so hard to create an imagine, so that when you go to file bankruptcy you still have your original name. It makes it even easier for Rhapsody since they already owned napster, and napster does have some sort of significant history that will still pull people in. But when it all boils down which makes more since? Jeopardize tarnishing the name Rhapsody in a future bankruptcy, or take chance with a name people are familiar with but is not as relevant?

      Rhapsody made a good business move with this one, however I am said that Apple is doing this not just to Rhapsody but so many different other competitors.

  2. Roobah says:

    Napster really screwed up with this service. I’ve been a paying customer for ever, since day one on a premium service of $14.95/mo. This month, after the changeover, not only did I not have service I paid for, but Napster charged me three times this month for my subscription when I complained about not getting service. There are other services out there that can will give me more for less. Note for NAPSTER: Note to Napster-self: Don’t rock the boat with your best paying customers, they just might jump ship. (I am so out of here.)

  3. Danielle says:

    I like to think of myself as a conscious and moral being. To here that a service I pay for and people are out of Jobs as result of something as dumb as millions of dollars the company already has anyway. I don’t think I would like to continue with such services. I’ll subscribe to Tidal. I wanted the Beyoncé album anyway.

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