Napster, the website that was once considered to be the flagship service for illegal filesharing, has relaunched in the UK and Europe as a legal, streaming service.
The service, which was set up in 1999 by Shawn Fanning, was bought by online music subscription service Rhapsody last year, who opted to retire the name and fold it into their own operations in the US, but have now said they want to keep the name Napster in the UK and Europe.
Napster originally closed in 2001 after a series of lawsuits from music industry and artists were launched against it.
It re-emerged two years later and attempted to reposition itself as a legal download service, going through a series of owners and relaunches. It has now once again rebranded itself and now promises paying subscribers access to over 15 million tracks.
Rhapsody president, Jon Irwin told the Daily Telegraph: “The acquisition of Napster and its subscriber base in the UK and Germany gives us an ideal entry to the European market. 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.”
Napster currently offers two services, one where users can stream unlimited music on their home computers for a fee of £5 per month and another, which allows users to operate Napster on mobile devices for £10 per month.