Music subscription/MP3 download service

Founded: Jun 1999

Los Angeles, United States

Music  Digital Media 

Napster offers the ultimate in interactive music experiences, creating better ways to discover, share, acquire and enjoy the universe of music — anytime, anywhere. The Napster service is the easiest way to find, discover and enjoy the universe of music — online, on the go and in the living room. With unlimited, on-demand access to music from a web browser, smartphone and home entertainment devices, Napster lets you enjoy music your way anytime, anywhere. The service is available at in the U.S. and is also available in Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. A wholly owned subsidiary of Best Buy, Inc. (NYSE: BBY), Napster is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Best Buy acquired Napster for $121 million in September 2008.

Napster was first launched in June 1999, built by Shawn Fanning while he was a student at Northeastern University in Boston. The original service was a free peer-to-peer file sharing network, allowing users to download mp3 files from the network of other users without going through a centralized storage server.

The RIAA served Napster with a lawsuit for copyright infringement in December 1999 for $20B. Napster lost the suit in the Ninth Circuit Court, and settled in 2001 to pay $26M to music creators, and a $10M toward future licensing royalties.