Rhapsody moves into Europe with Napster International buys

Summary:Rhapsody is one of the older players in the digital music spectrum, but it has come on stronger in the last few months with major acquisitions in the U.S. and Europe.

The Swedish-founded Spotify moved into the United States last summer, and now Rhapsody is moving in the other direction to expand across Europe.

Touted by the company itself as "America's number-one premium subscription music service," Rhapsody has bought and will now operate Napster International in the United Kingdom and Germany -- arguably the two most valuable markets for digital content across the Atlantic.

Rhapsody first launched in 2001, but it grown much more rapidly in the last year. The digital music service has over 1 million paid subscribers and a content library of more than 14 million tracks across approximately 600 genres.

In October, Rhapsody acquired the U.S. branch of Napster from Best Buy, taking on its subscribers and other assets.

The company's president, Jon Irwin, explained in a statement about Rhapsody's expansion and that how it will now be able to "bring the Napster service to even more consumers on a variety of platforms."

This is the perfect time to extend our borders—both geographically and technologically, as we take our service to new places, including the automobile and the living room. Consumer demand for subscription music has never been greater, and our partners are eager to bring music to the masses in new and creative ways. There is a lot of room for growth in this market and I firmly believe that 2012 is going to be our biggest year yet.

Rhapsody underwent a significant revamp last September, but company reps promise that subscribers will see more enhancements and new features for both the desktop and mobile platforms -- most notably improved offline playback quality.

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About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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