Former Roblox head of music to launch Napster into the metaverse

Jon Vallapulos, the former Roblox head of music presiding over concerts from artists such as Lil Nas X and Twenty One Pilots, has signed on as Napster's CEO

Former Roblox head of music to launch Napster into the metaverse: Lil Nas X's Roblox avatar stands in front of the old Napster logo.

A blast from the past makes a foray into the future as Napster, a company that paved the way for modern music streaming services, plans to dive headfirst into the metaverse. The pioneering music service kicked off its web3 journey with its recent move to bring former Roblox music lead Jon Vallapulos on as the company CEO. Vallapulos will use the expertise he gained working with the sandbox game to spearhead the company’s push into virtual concerts.

There’s no question that the music industry has struggled to figure out where the metaverse fits into traditional business models. With major record labels taking meticulous measures to exercise their rights to copyright strikes under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), many music companies have struggled to strike a balance between protecting the rights of the artists they represent and making music broadly accessible to the masses.

Perhaps it makes sense, then, for Napster to remerge as a web3 concert platform. The company earned its original reputation because it was a trailblazer within the music industry, relying on what could be considered ‘technical loopholes’ to democratise music streaming.

While avatar-based concerts won’t single-handedly resolve industry-wide issues with streaming music, it shows that those in the music business remain dedicated to figuring out how they can work within metaverse platforms such as Roblox and Fortnite to reach new audiences.

Fortnite popularized the idea of metaverse concerts in 2019 when it hosted an in-game performance featuring recording artist Marshmello. Since then, other artists that have embraced metaverse concerts include BLACKPINK, George Ezra, Travis Scott, Justin Bieber, The Chainsmokers, and Denzel Curry. Such shows have grown so prevalent that this year’s MTV Music Video Awards featured an entire category dedicated to the Best Metaverse Performance.

As more and more artists fight to retain ownership of their music, it’s become evident that the music industry’s historical approach to royalties and revenue reflects a very different era. Though less popular than competitors, such as Spotify and Apple Music, Napster is the only music streaming service that owns direct rights with every independent label, Forbes reports.

Further, such metaverse concerts can help add to artists’ bottom lines through digital merchandise sales. These items are also much cheaper to produce and distribute than physical merchandise.

Napster must be up to something innovative if it could attract Vallapulos, whose official former title at Roblox was Vice President and Global Head of Music. Vallapulos presided over Roblox virtual concerts from some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Twenty One Pilots and Lil Nas X.

It appears Napster is planning to make avatar-based concerts part of its overall strategy. The private company is currently owned by two entities specialising in web3: Hivemind, which helped former music streaming service Limewire relaunch as an NFT marketplace, and Algorand, which develops infrastructure for blockchain and cryptocurrency platforms.

“I’ve been musing about how antisocial and unexciting streaming services were, so when I was offered one to innovate it was too much to pass it up,” Vallapulos told Forbes.

Robloxians looking to get a dose of music in the metaverse can check out our Roblox music codes for September to play tunes from their favourite artists in the game. They can also check out our Roblox promo codes list for September to customise their avatars with free gear. Use them in the best Roblox games in 2022, which includes games like Adopt Me! and Jailbreak.