I announced the return of MySpace just last week, and now I find that an even more emblematic service is trying to slip back into the public eye. I’m talking about Napster, one of the most widely-discussed P2P filesharing platforms ever.
“What do you mean ‘slip back into the public eye’? Wasn’t the service dead and gone for good?”, I hear you retort. To which I have to reply, “no, it wasn’t”.
You see, although Napster’s days as a filesharing service were over by July 2001 (when the service was forced to close down after a much-publicized legal dispute with the RIAA), the name “Napster” has changed owners a good couple of times. One of these was Roxio, which relaunched Napster as a 100% legal music service shortly after it was originally closed. It was all to no avail, and most people never noticed. To them, Napster sank from sight when it stopped being a place to get music for free. Period.
But Napster’s latest owners are intent on reclaiming some of the fire the service had on its P2P glory days.
Napster has just been acquired by Rhapsody for an undisclosed sum, and it is to be relaunched as an on-demand service letting users listen to all the music they want in exchange for a monthly subscription.
Of course, that’s what companies like Spotify have been doing for quite some time already. And people have really warmed to such a way to consume music by now. They’re nowhere as wary to pay for streaming music as people were before. Experts even claim that the rise of pay subscription services has helped decrease the kind of illegal behavior that Napster was once responsible for instilling. It’s all come full circle, and Napster’s new association with Rhapsody might as well bring the service into direct contact with a more sympathetic (and younger) public.
So, what do you think? Would you moot a successful comeback? Or would you say that Napster has already run its course as a music-related platform?
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