Today the Napster service was absorbed by Rhapsody in the United States. I’ve been a long time user of Napster, and am really sad to see it go.
For those of you unaware, the original Napster program was basically a way to get free music. You would connect to others and share MP3′s. The MP3 format basically made it easy for anyone to rip a CD and make it available to the world. So you could try any music you liked, but it also lead to rampant piracy.
Now instead of trying to embrace and extend the MP3 concept, record companies sued Napster into oblivion. It took a long time for music companies to come around. And a lot of it had to do with Steve Jobs and Apple requesting that copy protection be removed from songs. Once that happened, many services started to emerge.
Napster itself rose from the dead as a pay service for music subscriptions. It had a better library than others as well as higher quality music files. It also had the ability to download tracks for offline listening. So I jumped back in, and got a subscription and have been a happy customer ever since.
But, alas, Napster sold its US assets to Rhapsody, so now as of today, I’m a Rhapsody customer whether I like it or not. I’ll give it a fair shake as it’s been a couple years, but Napster has historically been a much better service. We’ll see if Rhapsody has finally caught up.
If not, many other services have emerged. Spotify, MOG, Rdio, Slacker and others are just waiting to fill my ear hole with tunes. We’ll see which way I go.