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Thursday, 22 May 2008 06:52

Napster to iTunes: It?s On!

Written by David Stellmack

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Napster opens MP3 store to challenge iTunes

Digital music service, Napster Inc., announced that it has opened the world’s largest Web-based MP3 download store with more than 6 million songs. Napster has decided to challenge Apple’s iTunes Web-based music store.

The new Napster store will feature digital songs from all major music labels and thousands of independent labels, as well. The MP3-format songs will be compatible with the majority of digital media devices and mobile phones, including Apple’s proprietary iPod and iPhone, according to Napster.

Previously, Napster focused on selling monthly streaming music subscription packages, but it has missed out on the business from music fans who like to transfer songs they like onto a portable device, such as the iPod. 

Napster’s new service will reportedly offer more songs without copy protection or DRM limitations, which the majority of songs on iTunes have.  iTunes’ Fairplay DRM prohibits its music selection from being played on very few portable players other than the iPod.

The new Napster service tries to take on Apple's dominance in digital music by offering fans more songs without copy protection or digital rights management (DRM). Most of the six million songs on the iTunes Music store are available with Fairplay DRM, which prevents the songs from being played on most portable players other than the iPod. "We're now moving from under the DRM cloud," said Chris Gorog, Napster Chief Executive. "Now consumers can use Napster with any device."

Most songs on the Napster service will be available for 99 cents each and $9.95 for an entire album. Napster indicated that it will keep its music compatible with Apple’s iTunes services. So that songs purchased on Napster’s site can be automatically synched into an iTunes user’s existing iTunes music library.

Last month iTunes indicated that it had overtaken Wal-Mart to become the world’s largest retailer of music in the U.S. with more than 4 billion songs sold since 2003.

Last modified on Thursday, 22 May 2008 10:00

David Stellmack

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