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Napster offering free music once again

Napster, which pioneered the concept of free music shared via the web, has moved back to that model (press release). The network, which I used back in 2000 for downloading latest hits on my 56k dial-up :) , is partially returning to its roots. There’s small problem though. Napster’s basic service is now entirely advertising-subsidized, allowing users to stream music from the company’s library of about 2 million songs, for free. The catch, however, is that each song may be played only five times, after which the user is asked to subscribe to Napster’s paid service, which costs $9.95 per month, or $14.95 per month with a “Napster-to-Go” option that allows users to store tracks on portable music players.

Users must register for the free Napster service by registering a username, password, and email address. The service appears to use a Flash interface, both for playing the music as well as for displaying ads. Songs can not be queued up, so each song must be individually selected before it can be played. Songs that are listened to via the free service can not be downloaded to the user’s hard drive.

To pull off the ad-supported music model, Napster needed the approval of the record labels, which will get a cut of the ad revenue. Napster, the original unauthorized music-swapping site, was born in a college dorm before the record labels persuaded the courts to shut it down. The new Napster, launched in 2003, has lost more than $73 million over the last two years, according to equity firm American Technology Research. Although you can’t download the music, it’s pretty clever way of getting new customers – I trust many of these people who will listen some free song will pay for the service. Anyway, many people will not be able to try this new features, because Napster is currently available only in the USA.

Source: Yahoo, PC Magazine 


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  1. Mr Destructo
    May 2nd, 2006 | 00:06

    erm, maybe use a desktop audio recorder like wiuth radio stations?

  2. you kill foxes you do
    May 2nd, 2006 | 00:07

    A friend of mine uses Napster and pays for it and he’s in the UK.

  3. revenant.
    May 2nd, 2006 | 02:59

    If u want to save the music you listen to u could use Total Recorder which records any audio coming out of ur computer.

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