Spotify best watch its back! It was announced last week that US-based music service Rhapsody has purchased the international wing of your former favorite dorm room time waster: Napster. The purchase, at an undisclosed sum, effectively injects Rhapsody into the UK and German markets without the hassle of having to introduce themselves to their new neighborhood. Rhapsody previously purchased Napster’s US assets and boasts of being the largest subscription-based music service in the US with over 1 million users. Spotify claimed back in November that it had 2.5 million users internationally, but they’re currently not in the German market.
While it’s unknown what Napster International’s current subscriber base is, Napster is a well-known name in Europe and Rhapsody’s decision to remain under the Napster moniker in the UK and Germany should help them successfully expand into the European market.
Why would a Spotify-loving European want to switch over to Napster? Well, with the power of Rhapsody behind them, Napster subscribers will soon be taking advantage of improved mobile apps and web interfaces, better sound quality, and an expanded library of music. Existing Napster users will also be able to retain their existing libraries even after the infrastructure shift is complete. With the help of Rhapsody, Napster will be an on-par service with Spotify, and could prove to offer better mobile capabilities, as many users claim that Spotify’s existing mobile app is seriously lacking in terms of usability.
Napster’s existing foothold in Germany will also be beneficial to Rhapsody, who don’t currently face direct competition from Spotify in that market (though a roll out of the service in the German market is on the horizon). Regardless of whether Napster blows up or not following the transition to being a Rhapsody-based service, direct competition is always a good thing for users. Bring it!