Rhapsody Acquires Napster Operations in UK, Germany

Rhapsody has acquired the Napster service in the U.K. and Germany, following up on its acquisition last year of Napster's U.S. operations from Best Buy.

The Napster brand will be retained in Europe, unlike in the U.S., where Rhapsody decided to fold up the streaming music service under its own brand.

The digital music service provider said Thursday it was acquiring Napster International to enter the European market. It is retaining the Napster brand in Europe because an independent study showed the brand is widely recognized in the U.K. and Germany.

A spokeswoman said the company is not providing information on how much Rhapsody is paying for Napster International, which it acquired from Best Buy.

Rhapsody said that it will retain all employees of Napster International.

Napster subscribers will be migrated to Rhapsody's infrastructure in March, and will benefit from new features, including a new Web experience and improved speed and performance, while keeping the music libraries they have built, Rhapsody said.

For Rhapsody the addition of members of Napster's European sites will add the benefits of scale, as the company competes with a large number of music service providers including European music streaming service Spotify which entered the U.S. market in July last year.

Rhapsody did not disclose how many new subscribers it would get by this acquisition. The company has 1 million paid subscribers in the U.S., and will update once it has migrated the Napster International subscribers to Rhapsody's infrastructure, the spokeswoman said. Spotify in contrast claimed over 2.5 million paying subscribers in November.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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