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Napster Brass Resign

Founder, CEO step down from embattled company

Napster founder Shawn Fanning and chief executive Konrad Hilbers
resigned yesterday, along with other top executives, suggesting
that the online music-sharing software maker might be on the brink
of bankruptcy.

In a letter to employees, Hilbers, who took over as the
company’s head less than a year ago, stated that the company’s
decision not to accept an offer from Bertelsmann was his motivation
for leaving. Hilbers saw the acquisition as a means to infuse the
struggling company with sufficient funds to keep the company’s
day-to-day operations functioning.

A statement issued by the company referenced the nixed
Bertelsmann deal, but remained optimistic: “We deeply regret that
we have not yet been able to find a funding solution that would
allow Napster to launch a service to benefit artists and consumers
alike. We will be looking at additional steps in the coming week to
further reduce expenses.”

After two years of legal tangles with the Recording Industry
Association of America and artists like Dr. Dre and Metallica, the
embattled Napster took its service offline last summer in order to
develop and implement a subscriber-based system that would block
the trading of unauthorized music. Multiple versions of a
reconfigured service have been tested, but a re-launch has yet to
materialize.

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