Napster to Make Return as Web3 Music Company

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Napster is back and with a decidedly Web3 flair. In late June of this year, the company best known for pirated music in the early 2000s has chosen to relaunch as a Web3 business. Its main focus will be tying together different aspects of the music ecosystem and giving more power to creators, fans, and IP holders.

To do so, the company is prepping a launching of 10 billion $NAPSTER tokens through its foundation, which it hasn’t named thus far. The 10 billion tokens will provide incentives to artists, fans, and developers to use the Napster ecosystem. Interestingly, regular users will be able to participate and engage in “useful work” according to the company’s published litepaper.

The company wrote that Web3 provides an opportunity for something ground-breaking for “music makers, their fans, and right holders.” Holding true to Napster’s “DNA,” the company will deliver innovation in that direction.

To facilitate the use of the Napster ecosystem, the company will publish a series of smart contracts anyone can leverage to contribute. The smart contracts will be open source, enable the creation of an asset, and take the asset through all assets of its lifecycle. That lifecycle includes order, listing, and match making.

And to further its Web3 strategy beyond the token release, Napster has hired former Roblox Global Head of Music Jon Vallapulos to presumably oversee the running of metaverse music events in the ecosystem. Although the company does not have the fan base of Roblox or its cache with Generation Z, it does have the pedigree of an industry disruptor.

Music Bets Big on Web3

As Napster wrote in its litepaper, the music industry is one of the few places where crypto, blockchain technology, and NFTs make immediate sense. And many other companies are thinking the same way. Here are three stories from the intersection between the music industry and the next iteration of the internet.

First, there is the partnership between Warner Records and Probably Nothing. The two recently announced the launch of a new Web3 record label called “Probably a Label.” It looks to change the music landscape by empowering creators and fans through community-based ownership.

Second, there is MTV. The company known for its music awards just released a new category: “Best Metaverse Performance.” The move came as more artists entertained fans in virtual shows this year. First year nominees included Justin Bieber, Charli XCX, and BLACKPINK.

Third and finally, there is Timbaland. Three months ago, the famous music producer dropped a Bored Ape-themed music video. The video doubled as an NFT that fans could purchase, showing that music producers can use the technology from multiple angles at once.

On this last note, Napster’s resurgence as a Web3 company calls another to mind: LimeWire, which rebranded as a Web3 company this year as well. Time will tell if each has the success it did during Web1 but both have the reputations to capture the imaginations of older generations.