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MELODY VR BUYS NAPSTER

Napster has a new owner. Virtual reality streaming company MelodyVR has acquired Rhapsody International, which does business as Napster, for $70m.

For the time being, Napster—which is currently 84% owned by RealNetworks—and MelodyVR will continue to operate as independent businesses. Down the road, they envision a new platform that unites the two tech companies aims to present opportunities for the music industry and offer the only destination where live visual performances and recorded music can be enjoyed.

“Our purchase of Napster, one of the music industry’s original disruptors, is born out of our wish to deliver the world’s foremost music experience, available seamlessly across audio and visual media and in turn presenting a truly next generation music service,” MelodyVR CEO Anthony Matchett said.  

Napster serves more than 3m users across four continents and has more than 90m licensed tracks. It generated 10.8b streams and revenues of $113m in 2019. 

Since launching in 2018, MelodyVR has rapidly grown with the launch of its smartphone app as well as collaborations with ABC’s Good Morning AmericaLive Nation and O2 Telefonica. Its catalog of virtual live music shows includes performances by Liam Payne (pictured), Post Malone and KISS.

“The product, technology and cultural synergies of Napster and MelodyVR will bring tremendous innovation for music lovers, artists and the entire music industry,” Napster CEO Bill Patrizio said. “Good things come from being together, and we look forward to creating a powerful platform that combines our strengths and offers an even wider range of content to consumers, creators and advertisers.” 

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