May 1, 2006 7:32 AM PDT

Napster markets paid service with free listens

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Napster unveiled a free ad-supported version of its online music service that allows users to listen to any song in its library as many as five times.

The move is designed to steer listeners to Napster's fee-based services once they have reached their five-play limit. Napster's announcement marks the latest incarnation of the popular music site, which endured legal challenges from record labels over Napster file-swapping software that allowed people to share and copy each other's music without purchasing it.

The new Napster

"With a vision to empower music fans in a legal environment, with an open, all-inclusive platform, we are very excited to share our new, free music experience at Napster.com," Chris Gorog, Napster chief executive, said in a statement.

The newly minted service, Napster.com, will allow users to tap into its library of more than 2 million major and independent-label tracks, via a Napster Web-based music player. Once a person tries to access a song for the sixth time, however, he or she will be given the choice to either purchase the song for 99 cents or sign up for Napster's monthly subscription service.

The new service, which is initially launching in the U.S., will include two additional features, NapsterLinks and Narchive.

NapsterLinks is designed to let users send friends links to songs on Napster's tryout list. The links can be shared via e-mail, instant messages, blogs and other forms of online communication.

The new service also will include Narchive, a music archive where the public can contribute to the "People's History of Music," with comments, Napster music links and images. That feature will be available in a test version but has not yet launched.

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Napster Inc., online music company, online music, song, library

6 comments

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it's....
a low quality stream in a Flash player (with ads) requiring user
registration to listen to a song. I don't see how this will pull them
out of the hole they are currently in.
Posted by Jesus#2 (127 comments )
Reply Link Flag
good initiative, bad implementation
It won't pull them out of the hole they're in. Furthermore, why should we endure ads in this service, since this whole program is in effect an ad for napster.com?
It's another good idea soured by label greed and DRM insanity.
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Link Flag
Nice idea.
Id love to be able to listen to entire songs before I buy them, if for
no other reason than to check for explicit content. Unfortunately,
theyre still tied to the WiMP monopoly.

Sorry, guys& make it compatible with iTunes or you wont be
getting my business.
Posted by the Otter (247 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I like!
Since I'd never pay for anything encoded in WMP, I can use this new
service to preview music before buying it on iTunes.
Woo woo!
Posted by GGGlen (491 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Already being done...
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://mercora.com" target="_newWindow">http://mercora.com</a> is a great p2p streaming service.

You can listen to music as much as you want to however the catalog of music available depends on the users online.

Kieran Mullen
Posted by kieranmullen (1070 comments )
Reply Link Flag
not working
i went to napster to see what they had. searched peaches. they had both cd's. clicked on a song to listen. nothing. player says it's loading. it just keeps loading. i thought maybe it's firefox so i try exploror still nothing just keeps loading. so i finally find a contact link and send a email saying the same thing i have said here. they send me back a email wanting me to call them toll free for support. i don't believe i will, just in case they are collecting phone #'s. i don't want to enter into a "relationship" and have them calling me with special offers. if anyone has been able to play music at napster please tell me how. i did turn off my pop up blocker.
Posted by tunyfish (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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