Napster Names Roblox Former Global Head of Music, Jon Vlassopulos, as CEO

Jon Vlassopulos was the former VP and global head of music at Roblox.
Image source: Business Wire

Quick take:

  • Jon Vlassopulos will be leading Napster’s journey to take Web3 music mainstream.
  • He was credited with building Roblox’s music initiatives and bringing artists into the metaverse.
  • Napster is also launching Napster Ventures to invest in Web3 music startups.

Napster has appointed Roblox former head of music, Jon Vlassopulos, as its new CEO. 

A mobile, music, TV and advertising thought leader with 23 years global experience in UK, Asia and the US, Vlassopulos began his career in music as a DJ. He then worked for BMG and Bertelsmann in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York in the late 90s where worked on the original Napster more than 20 years ago, before joining AT&T Wireless where he launched the first mobile music service in the US.

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 established strategic, long-term relationships with record labels, publishers, management companies, agencies, artists, brands, and music startups from around the world, bringing them into the metaverse.

With Vlassopulos’ efforts, Roblox music experiences reached over 100 million fans and set the standard for virtual concerts and music worlds that allow fans to participate in the creative process along with their favourite artists.

In his new role as Napster’s CEO, Vlassopulos will be leading Napster’s journey to take Web3 music mainstream. 

“The time is ripe for the confluence of Web3 and music, which has the opportunity to revolutionize the music industry and establish a new model for artists and fans that will drive the next 20 years of growth. We believe music has an equal or better chance of being the driving force for taking the Web3 market to the masses,” he wrote in a LinkedIn post announcing his new appointment.

Along with the new hire, Napster 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. The funding size has yet to be disclosed.

Algorand, in partnership with Napster, is also launching an artist development fund to invest in artists and support the marketing and launch of the Web3 artists’ projects globally. 

At the same time, Napster is also launching Napster Ventures, which will focus on investing in and acquiring Web3 music startups. 

Formerly a peer-to-peer file sharing software and now a music streaming service, Napster’s pivot to Web3 was first announced in May when it was acquired by Algorand and Hivemind. In June, Bloomberg reported that the company is planning to launch a native token and NFTs as it makes its comeback.

“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.”

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