Maybe the Napster kitty has 9 lives, after all. Or, 14: earlier today, Rhapsody announced a bullish expansion of the fabled Napster brand into 14 European countries. That follows an earlier acquisition of the brand by Rhapsody, and puts a long-harbored expansion plan by the company into motion.
The expansion will happen in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands, according to Rhapsody International. The move finally gives Rhapsody an opportunity to broaden its subscriber base, though this is the very tough, home turf of leaders Spotify and Deezer.
Memo received at the Napster imprint. “Music streaming has taken off in Europe,” said Thorsten Schliesche, senior vice president and general manager, Europe, for Napster. “People are open to convenient and legal ways to discover music. We look forward to accompanying our listeners on that journey, offering them a great experience and a deep catalog of music.”
Expect lots of hand-shaking and alliance-building ahead. “As we expand Napster’s global footprint, we’ll continue to emphasize partnerships as the primary strategy to bring Napster to a wider audience on their favorite devices, no matter where they are,” Rhapsody president John Irwin indicated.
Rhapsody last reported a paid subscriber tally of one milion, though there’s some conjecture that this figure has remained flat or is sinking.