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Napster Reaches for Bottomfeeder Status, Cuts Price to $5/Month
Monday, May 18th, 2009 at 5:02 PM - by Bryan Chaffin
Napster announced Monday that it would relaunch itself as a $5 per month subscription service, a price that includes five DRM-free MP3 downloads per month, which the company is promoting as being playable on your iPod. The relaunching comes under the auspices of the company's new owner, Best Buy, and represents a substantial price drop from the $12.99 per month Napster used to charge.
"Your $5 monthly subscription gives you the run of the store," the company said in its announcement. "If we have it, you can play it, on any connected computer, anytime you want. You also get 5 MP3 credits in your account each month to use to download your favorite songs."
Customers can purchase additional tunes if they so choose, but the $5 per month includes unlimited streaming of Napster's full catalog.
Napster first relaunched as a paid subscription service after Roxio bought the brand name in 2002 for US$5.3 million. In September of 2008, the firm was bought by Best Buy for $121 million.
Napster as a subscription service was first hailed as the future of music, as label executives and accountants alike hyped how much customers wanted to subscribe to streaming services rather than buying individual songs or albums.
Actual consumers failed to understand this, however, and neither Napster nor other such services such as Real's Rhapsody subscription service found much traction in the market place, allowing Apple to gain command of the online music download business with iTunes.
Today's relaunch, however, could find more appeal for a larger number of customers, as the streaming service is effectively free when compared to the cost buying five songs at iTunes at $.99 each.
Napster's downloadable software remains Windows-only, but Mac users can access the service through Firefox.
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