Napster, the brand that has become synonymous with free music for a generation of consumers, plans to rebuild its business around cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens even as demand for these assets has collapsed.
The redesign of the streaming platform is part of a private acquisition by Hivemind Capital Partners, the crypto business of former Citigroup executive Matt Zhang.
The UK-based company plans to launch its own token, $NAPSTER, which music fans can use to purchase tickets and artist experiences on its new platform, said Emmy Lovell, CEO of Zhang and Napster.
Napster’s move follows a similar revival of LimeWire and potentially pits it against crypto-native platforms such as OpenSea that are looking for new ways to expand into the digital realm.
NFTs, a form of digital collectibles, grew in popularity last year – but demand has since waned, with one in three such projects seeing little or no commercial activity after their initial launch .
NFTs have also been a hotbed of copyright infringement fights, with high-profile lawsuits between music figures and speculators.
That hasn’t deterred Napster, which has gone through many forms and owners since it was first shut down in 2001 after being sued for copyright infringement.
The company re-adopted the Napster name in 2016.