London, U.K, August 24, 2020: In a landmark move, MelodyVR announced today it has agreed to purchase Rhapsody Napster from RealNetworks. The U.S. $70m acquisition will enable the creation of a unique music platform that will offer both immersive live performances and music streaming – for the first time ever.
The pairing of the two companies represents the pioneers of music streaming and live music VR coming together under one roof. The Napster platform serves more than 3 million users across four continents and delivers more than 90 million licensed tracks to consumers and B2B partners. Napster’s continued success is further evidenced by 10.8 billion streams and revenues of $113 million in 2019, and a near 20-year track record of innovations and strong trading history. For the time being, Napster and MelodyVR will continue to operate as independent businesses. The acquisition lays the groundwork for a one-of-a-kind, future platform of combined entertainment services.
The combination of Napster’s massive library of audio tracks and MelodyVR’s catalogue of virtual live music shows - the largest in existence today – will offer users the deepest audio and visual music experience currently available. Backed by cutting-edge technology, the development will present new opportunities for the music industry and will provide music fans with the world’s only destination to enjoy both live visual performances and recorded music.
MelodyVR has enjoyed a rapid increase in popularity since its launch in 2018, accelerated by the 2019 introduction of its smartphone app. High-profile collaborations with ABC’s Good Morning America, Live Nation and O2 Telefonica - as its exclusive 5G launch partner - have all helped to cement Melody’s place in music fans’ minds. MelodyVR was one of the first music companies to respond when COVID-19 brought the live music industry to a halt, setting up its own safe studios in London and Los Angeles to enable artists to still perform, and fans to experience the music they love. The resulting ‘Live from LA’ series has to date welcomed numerous artists through its doors. MelodyVR has delivered critically acclaimed shows from a diverse range of artists, including Post Malone, Cypress Hill, KISS, Lewis Capaldi, Kesha, Khalid, Luke Combs, John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Panic! At the Disco and Tori Kelly.
MelodyVR CEO Anthony Matchett explained, “MelodyVR’s acquisition of Napster will result in the development of the first ever music entertainment platform which combines immersive visual content and music streaming. For music fans today, live and recorded music are intrinsically linked. We are as keen to see our favourite artists perform live as we are to listen to their albums. Our purchase of Napster, one of the music industry’s original disruptors, is born out of our wish to deliver the world’s foremost music experience, available seamlessly across audio and visual media and in turn presenting a truly next generation music service.”
Napster CEO Bill Patrizio commented: “This is a tremendous outcome for two organizations with complementary platforms and loyal audiences, and we could not be more excited to be moving forward as one company. The product, technology and cultural synergies of Napster and MelodyVR will bring tremendous innovation for music lovers, artists and the entire music industry. Good things come from being together, and we look forward to creating a powerful platform that combines our strengths and offers an even wider range of content to consumers, creators and advertisers.”
MelodyVR’s purchase of Napster reflects a concerted effort to provide incredible music in all its forms to music lovers around the world, who want to watch live performances, see the latest visual content, and listen to recordings, and to musicians, who want simpler, better connections to their audiences, and an opportunity to show all sides of their artistry, in a way which truly does their music justice.
Whether home or away, on smartphone or VR device, music lovers and music makers can look forward to a next generation music experience, which is seamless and all-embracing.