Best Buy confirmed plans earlier to sell off Napster. The music service, which was notorious for offering illegal content in its earlier history, cleaned up its act, and was purchased by American retailer Best Buy. According to Best Buy, the Napster name will be phased out and replaced by the Rhapsody brand. Any subscribers to Napster will be transferred to Rhapsody, or so the PR News Wire article suggests. Rhapsody hopes to expand their operations through the acquisition of Napster and will combine the subscriber bases of the two platforms into one unified base.
Rhapsody launched in 2001 and it was only in 2010 that the company declared its independence from RealNetworks, who are most famous for the RealPlayer software. Napsters launch pre-dates Rhapsody by about two years, having launched in 1999. Napster reached a point of notoriety in the United States for its free downloads and it is referenced during the 2003 film The Italian Job.
The merge between the two may be enough to help rid Napster of its previous image. While the company did straighten its act and move away from piracy, the name has always remained synonymous with illicit downloading. By slowly eliminating the Napster brand, Rhapsody will now boast access to any music that was not previously offered in its thirteen million track-strong library.