December 2, 2022

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Napster names ex-Roblox song exec as CEO

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Track streaming provider Napster has employed Jon Vlassopulos as its subsequent CEO. The corporate additionally introduced a brand new investment spherical.

The investment quantity wasn’t disclosed, apart from that it’s in 8 figures. When you’re like me, you could be questioning why Napster remains to be alive after it were given beaten by way of the song firms a few many years in the past. Now that’s a bit of of a story.

Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker began Napster as a virtual audio streaming provider in 1999. It grew to about 80 million registered customers who liked the speculation of loose song. Napster had greater than 100 million MP3 tracks at its peak.

I accrued a pretty big choice of my very own. However then the likes of Metallica, Dr. Dre, A&M Data, and the Recording Business Affiliation of The us got here out one after the other in opposition to Napster and sued the startup. In mid-2002, Napster declared chapter and I mentioned see you later to my loose song.

However that wasn’t if truth be told the top. Roxio purchased the Napster logo and emblems and revived its Pressplay song provider as Napster 2.0. In 2008, Perfect Purchase purchased Napster. In 2011, Perfect Purchase merged Napster with Rhapsody. Via 2016, Rhapsody phased out its logo in prefer of Napster. Then it was once offered in 2020 to VR live performance company MelodyVR.

And in Would possibly 2022, Napster was once offered to Hivemind, Algorand, and an investor consortium. The traders on this new spherical come with Hivemind, Algorand, SkyBridge Capital, Alumni Ventures, Without borders Capital, and G20 Ventures, which can boost up Napster’s Web3 tasks. Brevan Howard Virtual, Arrington Capital, and RSE Ventures also are a few of the current traders of the song logo.

“Napster all the time stayed at the back of my thoughts and it hasn’t ever actually been stepped forward upon as it was once this group,” Vlassopulos mentioned in an interview with GamesBeat. “The best way that the song products and services ended up have been extra commodity than group. In order that was once my first contact level with the logo. It then were given added to the provider you could have in mind Rhapsody provider that RealNetworks had, which was once if truth be told the primary streaming provider sooner than Spotify. So then, Rhapsody turned into branded as Napster.”

Napster CEO Jon Vlassopulos.

Vlassopulos mentioned that the unique song provider had DNA as a song disrupter.

“It”s been working alongside for various years as probably the most Spotify competition. And it has modified palms a few occasions,” he mentioned. “Now it’s a streaming song provider with 100 million tracks to be had world wide.”
Napster supplies streaming song to Sonos and different products and services. It has numerous direct licenses with indie musicians. Vlassopulos mentioned the brand new corporate has new ambitions because of its deep-pocketed Web3 traders and others.

“At Roblox, we created a brand new song trade within the metaverse,” he mentioned. “With Web3, there’s an enormous alternative for revolution, and a converting of the guard that we had very similar to two decades in the past. Like we did on Roblox, enthusiasts wish to connect to the artists they love and be in a group.”

He isn’t disclosing a lot about that Web3 technique simply but, apart from that this is a hybrid Web2 and Web3 alternative.

Vlassopulos, the previous vp and international head of song at Roblox, is credited with construction the gaming platform corporate’s song tasks and bringing artists into the metaverse by way of interactive, immersive, and hyper social reviews.

“In our early discussions with Jon, we briefly learned his imaginative and prescient of creating a contemporary, new, and social on-line song provider targeted round connecting artists and enthusiasts in new tactics, and leveraging Web3 era, aligns completely with the place we see Napster heading,” mentioned W. Sean Ford, CEO of Algorand, in a remark. “We imagine Napster is the easiest logo and platform to guide the following technology of the song trade that is going past streaming or avatar-driven digital concert events. Jon’s robust connectivity with the song trade and huge revel in will give us the essential management to make this a fact.” 

As a result of Vlassopulos’ efforts, Roblox song reviews reached over 100 million enthusiasts and set the usual for digital concert events and song worlds that let enthusiasts to take part within the inventive procedure together with their favourite artists.

“It’s an honor to take in this function and I’m overjoyed to guide an organization with this type of wealthy historical past within the song trade. With the appearance of Web3 era, we have now an remarkable alternative to attach artists and enthusiasts in new, cutting edge tactics whilst additionally making the fan revel in extra a laugh and social and developing new income streams for artists,” mentioned Vlassopulos. “I’ve spent the ultimate 3 years operating laborious to ascertain new, inventive, and industrial alternatives for artists within the metaverse and I’m taking a look ahead to operating along the fantastic Napster workforce, our present and long term companions, labels, artists,
publishers, manufacturers, and startups to convey mainstream enthusiasts to Web3.” 

Napster could also be launching Napster Ventures which can focal point on fostering, making an investment in, and obtaining the most productive Web3 song startups. 

“We’re excited for Napster to be a central participant within the song Web3 ecosystem,” mentioned Matt Zhang, founder and managing spouse of Hivemind, in a remark. “We look ahead to rallying the entire superb
innovation that has took place thus far so we will be able to all jointly force mainstream adoption of Web3 era for the song trade.”

Algorand, in partnership with Napster, could also be launching an artist construction fund designed to lend a hand artists navigate and achieve success in Web3. The fund will spend money on artists to lend a hand beef up the selling and release of the Web3 artist tasks globally. 

Vlassopulos has been a serial entrepreneur, senior govt, established investor, and concept chief within the song, gaming, and leisure house for the previous 3 many years. After beginning his profession as a DJ, he then labored for BMG and Bertelsmann in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York within the overdue 90s the place he led many in their early virtual tasks and investments, together with operating at the unique Napster 20+ years in the past, sooner than becoming a member of AT&T Wi-fi the place he introduced the primary cellular song provider in the USA, and introduced the primary cellular apps for plenty of primary international manufacturers.

After AT&T, he ran the Virtual and Branded Leisure divisions at Endemol, a number one international TV manufacturing corporate sooner than turning into the CEO of Skyrockit, an award successful cellular leisure advertising and promoting company, with shoppers like vitaminwater, GAP, Virgin Cellular, and Clinique. 

In 2019, Vlassopulos joined Roblox as Vice President and International Head of Track as the corporate sought to be the chief in construction metaverse live performance reviews. All through his tenure, Jon created Roblox’s song technique from scratch and led the corporate’s tasks and partnerships by way of organising strategic, long-term relationships with file labels, publishers, control firms, companies, artists, manufacturers, and song startups from world wide.

“Napster has all the time been at the leading edge of song tech and a key spouse in serving to us ship Sonos Radio to song enthusiasts world wide,” mentioned Ryan Myers, common supervisor of Sonos Radio, in a remark. “We’re serious about the inside track unveiled lately and look ahead to operating with Jon and his workforce within the months forward.” 

Over the years, Napster has paid out billions of greenbacks to the song trade, and so it has a observe file, Vlassapulos mentioned. And so a whole lot of artists and corporations and types wish to spouse with Napster, he mentioned.

He thinks that digital concert events the place 1000’s of other folks accumulate in on-line reviews might be a part of the brand new song metaverse platforms. However the corporate nonetheless has numerous paintings to do to determine all of it out.

The corporate has about 150 other folks in London, Seattle, Germany, France, and Brazil. The principle activity is to double down on how Napster is a song group, Vlassopulos mentioned.

“There’s an trade alternative to construct one thing subject matter and we can have the possible to be a pacesetter for the following technology,” he mentioned.

Vlassopulos mentioned the corporate will use the investment spherical to conform. The corporate will construct on companies in line with song and pitch them to its hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts who use Napster to hear song. And Napster will amplify song into the Web3 house and lend a hand it transform each extra cutting edge and mainstream, he mentioned.

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