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Napster is coming back, baby

(Image via Rhapsody)

Ah, Napster. Back before iTunes helped legitimize music downloading and LimeWire decimated an entire generation of computers from people accidentally installing viruses, Napster was the best way to illegally get music over the internet. It popularized the notion that music is too expensive, which hit the recording companies so hard that they sued Napster into oblivion. The brand was bought by Best Buy after that and it transformed into a streaming service, but the Napster name died in 2011 when it merged with streaming service Rhapsody.

Now, with Spotify dominating the music-streaming game and Apple grabbing a huge claim for itself through sheer force of will (and by tricking iTunes users into signing up for Apple Music), Rhapsody has hit some hard times. Its competitors are leaving it behind, and it needs a special boost to get back on track, like the sort of boost that comes from a complete nostalgia-focused rebranding. That’s why, according to Variety, Rhapsody will officially be changing its name to Napster. “Time is a flat circle” references may be played out, but it turns out that time is definitely still a flat circle.


Rhapsody has been operating under the Napster name outside of the United States for a while, but apparently its aversion to confusing American users with a new name has now been outweighed by its desire to do something—anything—to get people to sign up. For people who do already use Rhapsody, a brief blog post from the service explains that there will be “no changes to your playlists, favorites, albums, and artists,” adding, “Same music. Same service. Same price.”

The company also released a slightly foreboding teaser image, which you can see above.

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