Seven months after relaunching in Canada, Napster will return to the U.S. this summer.
Rhapsody, the company that merged with Sean Parker’s infamous media service in 2011, is officially rebranding itself as Napster, following suit with its other markets. The company likely hopes this move will draw awareness to its brand as it struggles to compete with big players like Apple Music and Spotify.
Currently, the U.S. is the only place where Rhapsody operates under its own name. It functions as Napster in 33 other countries, including Canada.
Napster relaunched in Canada in November 2015, offering 35 million songs for online streaming and offline playback for $9.99 per month. Napster had left this market in 2011, after its merge with Rhapsody.
The brand has a tumultuous history that has its roots in illegal peer-to-peer file sharing in the late nineties. After lawsuits crippled the service, it announced bankruptcy in 2002 and was bought at auction by Roxio, which rebranded it as a legal music streaming service and sold it to Best Buy in 2008. From Best Buy it headed to Rhapsody in 2011.