Fifteen months after web-based music service Napster was acquired by US retailer Best Buy its CEO and President positions have been eliminated, in a move by the retailer to streamline the organisation’s executive structure.
CNET reports that Chris Gorog (CEO) and Brad Duea (President) are to leave the company, leaving Chief Operating Officer, Christopher Allen to run the show as Napster’s new General Manager.
Gorog and his team have spent eight years trying to build up a legalised service following the closure of the original pioneering file-sharing service which made the Napster name famous. Efforts to build an audience and drive revenues for the service have met with limited success and the service’s popularity has dwindled as competing brands have entered the market.
It has been suggested that Napster’s limited success is down to the fact that people do not like ‘renting’ music or losing access to their music libraries when their subscriptions lapse.
However, in several key markets outside the US, Napster has seen recent market entrant Spotify grab market-share with a similar business model, albeit supported with some more creative mechanisms for music fans on-the-move to access their libraries via the iPhone or on Android handsets.
It could be that the same anti-subscription feeling which has caused Napster to struggle is also be behind the delayed launch of Spotify in North America.
Either way, Gorag remains committed to the subscription model and believes that the concept of ‘owning’ digital content will fade away over the next decade and plans to launch his own company soon.