Napster, Formerly Rhapsody, Announces Sprint Partnership

Courtesy of Napster
     

The deal gives the streaming service acccess to the U.S.'s third largest mobile carrier with nearly 60 million users.

Napster, the world's longest-running streaming service, is in a deal-making mood as it works to keep up with the digital music Joneses. Today it announced new partnership with Sprint that will give its mobile users access to 40 million-plus song as well pairings with a major airline, a discount grocer and various labels for content.

The partnership with Sprint will gift the carrier's nearly 60 million users one month of Napster before the service can then be added to their monthly bill for $9.99/month. Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile and Sprint's prepaid mobile brands will also add the streaming service to their lineup of data-free music streaming providers. Customers using Napster are able to stream unlimited music without using their high speed data plan.

The news comes as part of Napster's quarterly business update, which has brought several other partnership announcements, including a deal with headphone maker Even around a personalized "earprint” when using their headphones with Napster, and two deals with German companies, one with Lufthansa which will add Napster to its BoardConnect platform and another with mass-market retailer Aldi to power the brand's Aldi Life Musik service wth Medion. 

Napster has also partnered with a number of labels including Warner Nashville, Naxos and Sub Pop which have the opportunity to create their own user profiles and playlists within the Napster app and publish them for member listening.

"We believe hands down we're best in class at third party partnerships," Napster CEO Mike Davis tells Billboard.

Napster, which last reported 3.5 million paid subscriptions, claims to be in the top five of global music streaming services but is well behind Spotify (40 million at last count) and Apple Music (reportedly 17 million).  The streaming service, which Rhapsody purchased in 2011, fully rebranded itself as Napster in July of this year. (Before that, it was known as Rhapsody in the U.S. and Napster elsewhere.) Davis was brought on in April of this year. Numbers revealed last March showed Napster's [then Rhapsody] losses doubled to $35.5 million on revenue of $202 million in 2015. 

Napster's existing partnerships include Telefonica's Movistar (Latin America), SFR (France) and ePlus (Germany) and Vodafone (Greece and Netherlands).

The company also just announced its participation in the Open Music Initiative, a cross-industry advocacy group launched in June 2016 by Berklee College of Music’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship working towards creating a sustainable music economy that ensures music creators and rights owners are compensated equitably for their work.