Saturday, June 30, 2012

Napster lives on. In Europe. For now.

Although Rhapsody had announced it was culling the Napster brand, it's decided to keep it alive for the European operation:

Thorsten Schliesche, the general manager of Napster in Europe, said that they decided to retain the Napster brand in Europe rather than use Rhapsody as it still has cache with customers.
I think DigitalSpy meant "cachet" rather than "cache", but it doesn't matter overmuch as it's not really true, anyway.

Sure, people might still remember the name, but Napster peaked in 2001. According to the World Bank, UK internet penetration was just 33% at that time, so it's hard to imagine that there's much of a nostalgic link to work with there.

And there are other choices now. Many, many more choices:
In a dig at one of the firm's key rivals, he added: "Spotify is like Napster used to be, a long list of music. They just give you the music and say, there you go."
Hang about, wasn't Napster's heritage supposed to be a big selling point? But now people are supposed to be associating with a less-than-excellent experience?

Napster has tools to suggest music to you:
Napster differentiates itself by using its user community to help people navigate the massive music library.

Every user creates their own personal profile, giving information on their background, music tastes and so on.

They can create their own playlists based on whatever theme they choose, and then share them with others.
Er... yes, that sounds totally different from Spotify. Has Schliesche ever been on Spotify? Or are things so tight at Napster that they can't afford a sub for him?

Still: the Napster brand, bravely limping on again in the mistaken belief that there's value in the brand. It's like someone pumping cash into making a Star Trek: Enterprise movie.