Rhapsody is extending its reach into Europe through acquisitions of Napster International. The deal means Rhapsody will own and operate the Napster service in the UK and Germany.
Terms were not disclosed,
The acquisition makes for an "ideal entry" into the European market for the US-based company, said Rhapsody president Jon Irwin in a statement. "Through the benefit of scale, the strength of our editorial programming and strategic partnerships, we can now bring the Napster service to even more consumers on a variety of platforms."
Post-acquisition, Napster subscribers in the UK and Germany will immediately see several improvements to the product. In coming months, consumers will get improvements to the Web client and mobile apps.
These acquisitions will help Rhapsody carry the momentum with which it closed 2011. Rhapsody acquired Napster from Best Buy in October for an undisclosed sum. By the end of the year the service reached the 1-million subscriber milestone - the most of any on-demand subscription service in the U.S. Spotify has roughly 250,000 subscribers in the U.S. - not including users of its free service - and is growing fast. Cricket's Muve Music has over 500,000 subscribers.
Rhapsody has some strong competition on the global stage. Spotify has 2.5 million global subscribers while Deezer has 1.5 million. Napster's competitors in Germany include Deezer, Rdio and Simfy. In the UK, Spotify, Deezer, Zune and Rara.com operate.
The new "Digital Music Report 2012" by the IFPI estimates there were 13.4 million subscribers to subscription services globally at the end of 2011.