August 11, 2004 8:34 AM PDT

Napster performs for the troops

Bob Hope is no longer around to entertain the troops, but Napster is.

The company announced a deal Wednesday to bring its music service to active, retired and reserve military personnel via the Army and Air Force Exchange Service's CentricMall.com, also known as the Exchange Online Store. Subscriptions and downloads will be available at a discount to all branches of the military, as part of the CentricMall online shopping site, which has about 40 merchants and service providers.

"When we learned of the demand for digital music within the military community, particularly from overseas, we immediately dedicated resources to meeting that need," Chris Gorog, chief executive of Roxio-owned Napster, said in a statement.

Napster 2.0 music service will be the first such digital product offered on the military's Exchange Online Store. The site is only accessible to active, retired and reserve military personnel, in addition to Department of the State officials overseas, members of the National Guard and their respective dependants.

"It is always great when (the Exchange Service) can deliver another service to our customers...wherever they are," Maj. Gen. Kathryn Frost, commander of the Exchange Service, said in a statement.

Roxio's version of Napster is strictly a subscription service, though its name is tied to its controversial peer-to-peer roots. And the military's recent experience with peer-to-peer file sharing is rather mixed.

Last month, the See What You Share Web site posted pictures, documents and letters purportedly from peer-to-peer networks like Gnutella. The images, which ranged from photos of a crashed military jet to names, addresses and telephone numbers of Marines, appear to have been leaked military secrets.

 

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