MUSIC SERVICE Rhapsody is boosting its entry into Europe with the acquisition of Napster's business in the UK and Germany.
The firm will own and operate the business in those countries, according to a statement, and it is rather pleased with itself for buying the first flat-rate music subscription service in Europe.
"The acquisition of Napster and its subscriber base in the UK and Germany gives us an ideal entry to the European market," said Jon Irwin, president of Rhapsody.
"Through the benefit of scale, the strength of our editorial programming and strategic partnerships, we can now bring the Napster service to even more consumers on a variety of platforms."
Since Napster has lost the 'piratical' connotations that it used to have, the music industry is also happy to line up and say that Rhapsody's acquisition of Napster is a good thing.
"Rhapsody has played a pivotal role defining streaming music services, which are essential to the future of the entire industry," said Rob Wells, president of global digital business at Universal Music Group. "I welcome Rhapsody's arrival in Europe, where I am eager to see them duplicate their success attracting paid subscribers in the United States."
The firm will still operate under the Napster brand, and apparently will retain all employees. Rhapsody said that existing users will be migrated over to its service and infrastructure in March. It added that they will gain new features in the transition.
"We have always been and will continue to be committed to offering music fans the most flexible, comfortable way to consume and discover music - wherever and whenever they want," said Thorsten Schliesche, general manager of Napster International.
"The acquisition is another important milestone. Combining Napster International subscribers with Rhapsody's massive base in the U.S. will further strengthen our position as the leading music subscription service." µ