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Napster, former music industry nemesis, plans crypto comeback

June 29, 2022 Updated Wed., June 29, 2022 at 7:37 p.m.

By Emily Nicolle Bloomberg

Napster, the brand that became synonymous with free music to a generation of consumers, plans to rebuild its business around cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens, even as demand for such assets has slumped.

The streaming platform’s revamp is part of a take-private acquisition by Hivemind Capital Partners, former Citigroup executive Matt Zhang’s crypto venture.

The U.K.-based company plans to launch its own token, $NAPSTER, which music fans can use to buy tickets and experiences from artists on its new platform, said Zhang and Napster’s Chief Executive Officer Emmy Lovell.

Napster’s move follows a similar rebirth by LimeWire and potentially pits it against crypto-native platforms such as OpenSea that are seeking new ways to expand in the digital area.

NFTs, a form of digital collectible, soared in popularity last year – but demand has since faltered, with one in three such projects recording little to no trading activity after their initial launch.

NFTs have also been a hotbed for copyright infringement fights, with high-profile lawsuits already emerging between music figures and speculators.

That hasn’t deterred Napster, which has gone through several guises and owners since it was first shut down in 2001 after being sued for copyright infringement.

The company readopted the Napster name in 2016.

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