Company closes new financing to help incorporate Web3 and social features into first of its kind, next-generation music service, and announces Napster Ventures.
Napster, the longest running independent music streaming service in the world, announced today it has hired Jon Vlassopulos as its next CEO. The company also announced a new funding round with participation from existing investors and new backers including Hivemind, Algorand, SkyBridge Capital, Alumni Ventures, Borderless Capital, and G20 Ventures, which will accelerate Napster’s Web3 initiatives. Brevan Howard Digital, Arrington Capital, and RSE Ventures are also among the existing investors of the music brand.
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220925005054/en/
Napster CEO, Jon Vlassopulos (Photo: Business Wire)
Vlassopulos, the former Vice President and Global Head of Music at Roblox, is credited with building the company’s groundbreaking music initiatives and bringing artists into the metaverse via interactive, immersive, and hyper social experiences. Because of Vlassopulos' efforts, Roblox music experiences reached over 100M fans and set the standard for virtual concerts and music worlds that allow fans to participate in the creative process along with their favorite artists.
“In our early discussions with Jon, we quickly realized his vision of building a fresh, new, and social online music service centered around connecting artists and fans in new ways, and leveraging Web3 technology, aligns perfectly with where we see Napster heading,” said W. Sean Ford, CEO of Algorand. “We believe Napster is the perfect brand and platform to lead the next generation of the music industry that goes beyond streaming or avatar-driven virtual concerts. Jon’s strong connectivity with the music industry and vast experience will give us the necessary leadership to make this a reality.”
“It’s an honor to take on this role and I am thrilled to lead a company with such a rich history in the music industry. With the advent of Web3 technology, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to connect artists and fans in new, innovative ways while also making the fan experience more fun and social and creating new revenue streams for artists,” said Jon Vlassopulos, CEO of Napster. “I have spent the last three years working hard to establish new, creative, and commercial opportunities for artists in the metaverse and I am looking forward to working alongside the amazing Napster team, our current and future partners, labels, artists, publishers, brands, and startups to bring mainstream fans to Web3.”
Napster is also launching Napster Ventures which will focus on fostering, investing in, and acquiring the best Web3 music startups.
“We are excited for Napster to be a central player in the music Web3 ecosystem,” said Matt Zhang, Founder and Managing Partner of Hivemind. “We look forward to rallying all the amazing innovation that has happened to date so we can all collectively drive mainstream adoption of Web3 technology for the music industry.”
Algorand, in partnership with Napster, is also launching an artist development fund designed to help artists navigate and be successful in Web3. The fund will invest in artists to help support the marketing and launch of the Web3 artist projects globally.
Vlassopulos has been a serial entrepreneur, senior executive, established investor, and thought leader in the music, gaming, and entertainment space for the past three decades. After starting his career as a DJ, he then worked for BMG and Bertelsmann in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York in the late 90s where he led many of their early digital initiatives and investments, including working on the original Napster 20+ years ago, before joining AT&T Wireless where he launched the first mobile music service in the US, and launched the first mobile apps for many major global brands. After AT&T, Jon ran the Digital and Branded Entertainment divisions at Endemol, a leading global TV production company before becoming the CEO of Skyrockit, an award winning mobile entertainment marketing and advertising agency, with clients like vitaminwater, GAP, Virgin Mobile, and Clinique.
In 2019, Vlassopulos joined Roblox as Vice President and Global Head of Music as the company sought to be the leader in building metaverse concert experiences. During his tenure, Jon created Roblox’s music strategy from scratch and led the company’s initiatives and partnerships by establishing strategic, long-term relationships with record labels, publishers, management companies, agencies, artists, brands, and music startups from around the world.
“Napster has always been at the forefront of music tech and a key partner in helping us deliver Sonos Radio to music fans around the world,” said Ryan Myers, General Manager, Sonos Radio. “We are excited about the news unveiled today and look forward to working with Jon and his team in the months ahead.”
Napster is the world’s longest running independent music streaming service, offering more than 100M tracks to its global subscribers and partners. With its roots dating back over 20 years, when it was the original music industry disruptor, Napster continues to create innovative technology and listening features that deliver the best music experience for music fans. Napster was acquired in April 2022 by some of the biggest investors in Web3, and is once again delivering innovation to the music industry by bringing Web3 technology into its existing global Web2 music service, unlocking new creative and commercial opportunities for artists and fans. With offices in London, Seattle, Paris, Munich, and Sao Paulo the company continues to partner with some of the top brands in the world including SFR, Audacy, Univision, Aldi, Vivo, Rakuten, Huawei, RecoChoku, and more.
Brian Jaquet / Napster