Rhapsody is part of the old guard of music streaming services, launched way back in 2001 as Listen.com. It never got the traction of it's rival Spotify, and is now competing against titans like Apple and Google as well. So now, in a bizarre move, Rhapsody is relaunching as Napster, the service it acquired in 2011 which is also synonymous with rampant file sharing and music piracy. "No changes to your playlists, favorites, albums, and artists," says a blog post on Rhapsody's website. "Same music. Same service. Same price. 100% the music you love. Stay tuned!"
Apparently the Napster name has better global pull than Rhapsody, and the company was already using that name, and the logo of a cool cat with headphones, in markets like Canada. When I think of Napster, I remember late nights, watching endless progress bars surge toward completion, greedily rubbing my hands together as I pulled in entire discographies. That's actually not a bad memory, so maybe the marketing folks have a point here.
The tagline Rhapsody is going with now is "Napster is coming," which seems a little too similar to a Game of Thrones reference. We get it, you're bringing a zombie brand back to life! In the meantime, amid rumors that its San Francisco office would be shutting down, Rhapsody / Napster CEO Mike Davis confirmed there would be some layoffs. But he emphasized that the service saw 35 percent growth in paid subscribers last year, finishing out 2015 with 3.5 million customers.