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Isn't it ironic: Napster co-founder mulls Warner Music bid

Napster co-founder turned Facebook billionaire joins investor group bidding for the music label he helped to destroy.

Art Vanderlay
Wed, 16 Mar 2011

Sean Parker co-founded Napster*, the free music sharing site that helped destroy the music industry - or at least all its profits.

Now - and feel free to insert the irony joke of your choice - Mr Parker has joined a group of investors mulling a run at Warner Music, according to The Wall Street Journal's All Things D blog.

Mr Parker certainly has the wallet for it, especially in this day and age when labels are going cheap. Forbes recently estimated his wealth at $US1.6 billion - most of it accumulated through his shares in Facebook (his gadfly role was chronicled in The Social Network).

So why would the Facebook billionaire (and fellow investors including supermarket king Ron Burkle, want to buy Warner Music now.

The US business press speculates that Warner Music's back catalogue has become undervalued.

NBR would also point out that total sales of songs actually increased for the first time in a decade last year as street-legal digital downloads grew faster than CD sales fell (admittedly, the margins on downloads aren't so flash).

Then, of course, there's Mr Parker's famous love of publicity.

And the fact he may have a score suit to settle. It was a lawsuit from Warner Music (and others) that forced Napster to disband.

* Although The Social Network cheerfully ignores his role, anyone who lived through the boom knows it was Shawn Fanning who was the founder, brains and driving force behind Napster (he also gave the free music sharing service its name, after his 'napster' haircut - see above). Fanning's father bankrolled the venture, while Mr Parker - of the expensive Italian suits and pockets full of white powder - talked it up.

Art Vanderlay
Wed, 16 Mar 2011
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Isn't it ironic: Napster co-founder mulls Warner Music bid