Napster for sale

Napster for sale

Summary: In late 1999, an 18 year old college dropout named Shawn Fanning stayed up 60 hours straight. That's not too unusual for an 18 year old, except during that time he coded a revolutionary music sharing system called Napster....

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TOPICS: Legal
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In late 1999, an 18 year old college dropout named Shawn Fanning stayed up 60 hours straight. That's not too unusual for an 18 year old, except during that time he coded a revolutionary music sharing system called Napster. His creation was an instant hit, with thousands of users within the first few days of being released. The music industry was not amused, and eventually managed to sue Napster out of existence. It was later resurrected as "legit" subscription service, but was never able to reclaim its past glory. Now the company is up for sale. You can read the 8-K filing and press release here. In his WinInfo blog Paul Thurrot quips:

The company has $97 million in cash and approximately 17 customers to its name, so it should be a good deal for any company that's hoping to compete with Apple and then lose in an embarrassing manner.

Ouch! Luckily, Shawn was able to cash out in time with a nice nest egg, and moved on to start a company called SNOCAP.

Topic: Legal

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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2 comments
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  • The first "Plays-For-Sure" obituary

    Looks like a smart move, dump the business before you're totally wiped out by Zune.
    tic swayback
  • How did half a million customers...

    ... become 17?

    Here's a quote from the press release:

    Nand Gangwani, Napster?s CFO, said, ?Napster has a strong balance sheet with a healthy cash position of $97 million as of the close of the first quarter and we are currently generating annual revenues in excess of $100 million. For the second half of our fiscal year, we project a strong up-tick in subscription growth from a base of more than half a million subscribers and a significant expansion of our mobile business, including the addition of new tier one wireless partners. We are also looking forward to launching in Japan this fall as scheduled, expanding our global footprint to include the top four music markets in the world.?

    Though not all the customers may be spending a great deal. If the company has $100 million in revenue and 500,000 customers, that's $200 each per year.
    Anton Philidor