Napster Lays Off Another 30%

Napster said Thursday it has dwindled its ranks by 30 people from its current staff of 100.

The one-time bad boy of Internet music is currently offline, but developing a legitimate, subscription-based model.

The company is no stranger to streamlining operations. Early last month the Redwood City-based Internet song-swapping service trimmed staff by 10 percent in an effort to save money accrued from its legal battles.

“We remain committed to launching our new secure membership-based service, but we’re faced with the hard decision to further streamline our operations. As a result, we have laid off 30 employees,” said Napster CEO Konrad Hilbers in a statement. “We have full confidence that our remaining team can provide the strategic know-how and technical guidance to effectively prepare for the launch of the new service.”

Meantime, longtime financial supporter Bertelsmann, parent of worldwide music division BMG, is reportedly on the verge of making Napster an offer it can’t refuse.

According to German newspaper Die Welt on Friday of last week, Bertelsmann Chief Executive Officer Thomas Middelhoff confirmed his company’s intentions of buying out Napster investors John Fanning, uncle of Napster founder Shawn Fanning, and venture capitalist Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.

Napster continues to take it in the teeth from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The San Francisco 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling on March 26 that will keep the popular file-swapping music service offline until it rids its service of all copyright-protected material.

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