The company's name and logo originated from bankruptcy liquidation of the Napster peer-to-peer file trading service, which was shut down after a series of legal actions taken by the RIAA. The brand name was later purchased by Roxio, to capitalize on the popularity of the former service. Napster was later acquired by Best Buy. The service merged with Rhapsody in 2011.
As a Roxio subsidiary
Roxio bought the assets of the original Napster company at its bankruptcy auction in 2002 and the online music service called pressplay in 2003, with the intention of using these assets as the basis of a new legal online music service which would let users access music through a subscription or on a fee-per-song basis. Roxio spent years revamping the company as a non-free online music service. This involved a great deal of management re-organization and the start of a new business model. Roxio spent years developing a network of business partners and relationships to ensure success for their new enterprise.
In May 2006, Napster launched Free Napster (via the URL http://free.napster.com/) but this service was discontinued in March 2010. It was a free, advertising-supported Web experience which enabled music fans in the USA to stream full-length versions of all the songs in Napster's catalog of over 8 million tracks three times each, without downloading any software or making any service commitment. Visitors could also purchase DRM-free MP3 downloads.
As a Best Buy company
Napster was formerly headed by Chris Gorog who served as Chairman and CEO, Bradford D. Duea who served as President and Christopher Allen who served as Chief Operating Officer. On January 6, 2010, Gorog and Duea stepped down from their positions. In an interview, Gorog stated that "After we understood the approach Best Buy was taking with Napster, it became clear the company didn't need a CEO, a president and a COO going forward". Allen assumed the position of "General Manager," reporting to Chris Homeister, Best Buy's senior vice president of merchandising entertainment.
Purchase by Rhapsody
The company was acquired by Rhapsody, another streaming and download service, in 2011. On July 14, 2016, Rhapsody formally changed its name to Napster, joining the 33 countries where it already operated as Napster to form one global brand.