Just a few years ago, Napster was acquired by Best Buy for a massive $121 million. Now it seems Best Buy is ready to off-load the music service, as on-demand music provider Rhapsody has just sent out a release informing the press of its intentions to acquire Napster.
Details of the acquisition are thin on the ground but the deal is expected to close at the end of November. When it does, Rhapsody will acquire Napster subscribers and certain other assets while Best Buy will receive a minority stake in Rhapsody.
"This deal will further extend Rhapsody's lead over our competitors in the growing on-demand music market," said Jon Irwin, president, Rhapsody. "There's substantial value in bringing Napster's subscribers and robust IP portfolio to Rhapsody as we execute on our strategy to expand our business via direct acquisition of members and distribution deals."
"Rhapsody has demonstrated that it has what it takes to build a profitable business in the increasingly competitive on-demand music market," said Chris Homeister, senior vice president and general manager of entertainment for Best Buy. "We are confident they are the right partner to provide Napster's existing subscriber base with an immersive digital music experience moving forward."
Originally founded as a peer-to-peer (P2P) music sharing service, Napster ran into substantial legal trouble relating to copyright infringement and was shut down in the early 00s. The service was relaunched by Roxio, which purchased Napster's assets at a bankruptcy auction in 2002, as a pay service, and purchased by Best Buy in September of 2008.