The OG of the music streaming world is moving to Nashville.
Napster, the twenty-four-year-old online music service, announced today it is moving its corporate headquarters to Nashville from the West Coast. This makes it the first global media company to set up shop in ‘Music City.’
Jon Vlassopulos, a Nashville native who moved back to the city during the pandemic, stepped into the CEO seat late last year and has been actively bringing on local talent to the team since. Vlassopulos is no stranger to the music world, having previously headed up global music initiatives for the online gaming giant Roblox. During his time at Roblox he “pioneered the virtual concert and virtual merchandise” world, an experience that could shape Napster moving forward.
The city appears to be quickly embracing Napster, with Launch Tennessee’s Chief Investment Officer Monique Villa saying that the move “reinforces Tennessee’s role as a formidable player in the innovation economy nationally.”
Vlassopulos said that Nashville’s innovation ecosystem will be central to Napster’s growth moving forward.
“I think Nashville is the most exciting city in America right now both culturally and economically,” Vlassopulos said in a statement. “Looking at how the city of Nashville supports businesses, especially those involved in the music industry, the decision to move Napster’s headquarters here was a no-brainer. I’m thrilled to be able to collaborate with the incoming Mayor, the city of Nashville, Launch Tennessee, local venture capital firms, colleagues within the music industry, and other start-ups that have also made Nashville their home.”
The Future of Music
The platform currently houses well over 100 million tracks and attracts music lovers across genres with its monthly subscription service for soundtracks and music videos.
At the height of its popularity, Napster was the most popular website and digital audio file distribution platform and gained a lot of traction on college campuses. The company bounced back from copyright troubles in the early 2000s and has weathered the changing music industry dynamics over the last decade.
In early 2022, the company was taken private by a syndicate of top Web3 investors. Web3 functionality is now a “core service” that Vlassopulos feels will “ unlock significant new creative and commercial opportunities for artists and fans,” the Napster team told Hypepotamus.
In February, Napster acquired Web3 music startup Mint Songs. The company added that it will “begin to outline the first new product features for users and artists” in the coming weeks.
“Napster is working to build its next generation music service that will connect artists and fans in an unprecedented way, unlocking new creative and commercial opportunities for both,” Napster told Hypepotamus. “This new layer will be powered by technologies including Web3 and will also be fueled by acquisitions in the space that will provide both talent and technology. The company is once again aiming to disrupt the music industry by evolving the standard music access streaming model which will create a more compelling experience for fans and artists that is fun, rewarding, participatory, and social.”