The expansion of European music service Spotify to the U.S. last year brought considerable hand-wringing over the potential impact on Rhapsody, but the venerable Seattle-based music subscription service instead was able to make deals to expand its subscriber base to more than 1 million users.
Now, Rhapsody is looking to build on that momentum, and its next move is coming on Spotify’s turf. Rhapsody this morning announced that it has acquired Napster International and will become the operator of the Napster service in the UK and Germany.
The deal follows Rhapsody’s previous acquisition of the Napster service in the U.S. from Best Buy.
“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, Rhapsody president, in a news release. “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.”
Rhapsody says it will keep the Napster brand in Germany and the UK, based on its widespread recognition there. (The company shifted Napster users completely to the Rhapsody brand in the U.S.) The company says it will transition Napster subscribers in the UK and Germany to the underlying Rhapsody infrastructure in March, giving them access to new features and better online performance, but letting them keep their existing music libraries.