It Was Fun: Rhapsody Likely to Retire Napster Name

In the long, deep shadow created by Spotify, something’s happening: that is, Rhapsody is buying Napster from Best Buy.

But according to plans shared with Digital Music News, the Napster name will likely be folded.  “Most likely they’re using [the] Rhapsody [name] going forward,” the source shared.

John Irwin, president of Rhapsody, strongly hinted at the possibility. “We’re excited to welcome Napster music fans to the best on-demand music experience anywhere,” Irwin relayed.

That opens the possibility of a trademark asset sale, but how much is the Napster name worth these days?  The iconic Napster name – and its subscriber base – went for a song: Best Buy is merely getting a minority percentage in Rhapsody, despite paying $121 million for the struggling company in 2008.  Suddenly, we know why Best Buy has been busy launching its own, separate music play.

The acquisition is expected to close in November, though sources on the inside are expecting layoffs based on immediate redundancies.  “It’s more subscribers but they already have the platform,” one source said.  “There are HR meetings right now, transitional meetings, that sort of thing.”

The deal should push the Rhapsody subscriber tally past one million, based on a pre-acquisition Rhapsody total of 800,000.  That leads the US market, but lags behind Spotify on the global stage.  Which may be satisfactory for Rhapsody, though the company could be forced to position free content to aggressively grow – just like MOG and Rdio.