Canadians now have access to a re-launched version of Napster. But rather than a file-sharing hot spot for pirating music, as the brand was originally known back in the late ‘90s/early ‘00s, the company has rebranded as a a subscription streaming music service.
Canadians can sign up for $10 per month to gain access to the more than 35 million songs, under the leadership of Rhapsody, which acquired Napster back in 2011. A current promotion is offering three months of service for $1. In addition to being able to cross-reference global trends with your favorite artists and genres, another feature within the app called Napster KIDS offers music curated specifically for young ones.
Napster’s CFO Ethan Rudin says it was “important to us that we enter Canada with a personalized music experience that has a complete catalog of local, national, and international artists.” That said, users will see curated playlists that feature popular Canadian artists, like Shawn Mendes and Alessia Cara.
While the Canadian music streaming service scene isn’t quite as plentiful as what’s offered in the U.S., services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music are all available in the country.
The new Napster service will be accessible on all major mobile platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, through a Web browser, as well as through devices like Sonos speakers and the Google Chromecast. Like all major services, Napster subscribers will be able to play tunes online or download them for offline listening.
Napster’s history is a long and storied one. Launching in 1996 as a peer-to-peer file sharing site before P2P was running rampant online, it emerged as a disruptive source where users could upload and share songs as MP3 files with others, essentially illegally. Following a closure due to several legal and copyright infringement cases once record labels started cracking down on online piracy, and acquisitions by Roxio and Best Buy, Napster was last acquired in 2011 by Rhapsody. The brand, however, has been absent from the scene since Rhapsody’s acquisition four years ago.
Napster may be best know by kids today through Justin Timberlake’s portrayal of the company’s co-founder, Sean Parker, in the movie The Social Network. Parker was the first president of Facebook.