Napster is making a comeback of sorts. Current owner Rhapsody, a music streaming service, is rebranding itself using the file sharing service’s name. Meaning that Napster has returned, but in name only.
Rhapsody launched back in 2001 as Listen.com; long before the current generation of music streaming companies came about. Unfortunately, it failed to gain any traction and has since been overtaken by just about everyone else.
This recent rebranding exercise – with the tagline “Napster is coming” – seems rather unusual. Napster is not exactly what a legitimate music service would want to associate itself with. The name is more related to music piracy and copyright infringement than having actual paying customers – unless that’s the kind of business that Rhapsody thinks it should be getting into.
Napster is not the only piracy outfit gone legit. BitTorrent has also been working to release a content streaming service fueled by its P2P technology. Although, to be fair, BitTorrent never intended to facilitate piracy and the file sharing system it developed has been adopted by several technology companies to help push out patches.
Whether this rebranding exercise will work for Rhapsody is uncertain – but it will definitely be able to grab more attention while being called Napster. It might not be good attention, but attention nonetheless.