Napster is Back: Rhapsody Changes Its Name

Napster has risen from the dead yet again, with the news that its old rival, the music service Rhapsody, is changing its name to “Napster.”

Rhapsody, another service from the early days of online music that was formerly part of RealNetworks, announced the move on it website: “No changes to your playlists, favorites, albums, and artists. Same music. Same service. Same price. 100% the music you love. Stay tuned!”

Rhapsody had already been using the Napster name internationally.

Napster, of course, surfaced in 1999, as a peer-to-peer file-sharing service that was the first popular vehicle for illegal music downloading. After years of legal wrangling that involved a high-profile feud between the founders and members of Metallica, the original Napster was shut down in 2001.

In the years after that, the Napster name passed through various hands, and at one point Best Buy acquired it with the intention of turning it into a legal music download service. Rhapsody acquired Napster in 2011.

What do you think? Will you subscribe to the new Napster?

Consumer Expert Stephen Silver

Stephen Silver is a longtime journalist and film critic based in the Philadelphia area. His work has appeared in Philadelphia Magazine, Fox 29 in Philadelphia, New York Press, SB Nation, The Daily Banter,, the Good Men Project, Splice Today, and the Philadelphia area’s Patch websites.