LOS ANGELES: Napster, hoping to trumpet itself as the only pure-play digital music company, Napster has picked Ruder Finn as its lead agency.
Once the bane of the music industry because of its status as the top illegal music-downloading site, the company has since relaunched as a respectable and legal digital music service.
"With the changing music landscape, we felt like it was a good time to leverage our unique position," said Dana Harris, VP of corporate communications. "Music is our heritage. We're not trying to sell you other things. And we're up against some very big companies with big brands and deep resources."
Napster has its work cut out for it. In the past year, it has seen its stock price lose more than half of its value. And iTunes dominates about two-thirds of the digital music market, leaving several companies scrambling for what's left. Napster wants to enhance its image as the only company focused solely on digital music downloads. Napster, which earned $46.7 million in fiscal 2005, also competes with RealNetworks and Yahoo.
"Napster is a distant second [to Apple], and in this market there isn't much difference between second place and last place," said Mike Goodman, a senior analyst with the Yankee Group. "After Apple, there's only about 30% of the market, and that's being divided up by everyone else."
As tech media seems more interested in writing about digital music than entertainment media, Napster sought an agency with a good mix of corporate and technology experience, said Harris. Ruder Finn also brought IR and international experience.
Harris, who declined to disclose billings, said Napster had worked with Rogers & Cowan as its lead agency since April 2004. Napster will continue to work with Rogers & Cowan on consumer projects and product seeding and placement programs.
Harris said she choose RF after having lunch with a former colleague who now works for RF, and met with the agency soon after that.
"I sat down with the agency, and they had the chemistry and resources we needed," said Harris.