The virtual reality company MelodyVR has recently purchased Rhapsody International, the parent company of Napster, for $70 million. The company hopes to create a unique music platform that can create immersive live performances and streamed music. This new experience will seek to bring immersive visual content, backed by music streaming, recreating a unique experience enhanced by the implementation of virtual reality.
“MelodyVR’s acquisition of Napster will result in the development of the first ever music entertainment platform which combines immersive visual content and music streaming,” a statement from the company reads. “For music fans today, live and recorded music are intrinsically linked.”
Live streamed concerts are becoming more prominent in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as an assortment of paid and free streams make their way across multiple platforms. MelodyVR is also gaining prominence as a result of the pandemic, and reportedly held concerts by the likes of John Legend, Kesha, and Cypress Hill.
Napster originally launched on the scene in 1999 as an original peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing Internet software, that prioritized the sharing and downloading of audio files. This type of service eventually stirred up a lot of controversy in the music industry over allegations of copyright infringement, with Metallica most notably launching a decades’ spanning legal battle with the platform.
The company shut down its P2P service and shut down in 2001, after originally failing as a subscription-based service. It went through multiple owners throughout the subsequent years before it was purchased by Rhapsody International in 2011. Earlier this year it was revealed the company received over $1.7 million in PPP loans.