Napster puts music library on web

Digital music service, Napster, plans to attract more customers by moving to a web-based platform that allows customers play their music from any computer, without having to download any additional software.

Napster puts music library on web

The move is intended to open up the service and attract more paying subscribers by making the Napster platform more flexible and compatible with any internet-enabled device.

Before now most Napster subscribers could only listen to their music after downloading the Napster software on to their PCs. “With this new platform Napster can easily be integrated into consumer electronics devices or integrated into other websites such as social networking sites,” says Christopher Allen, chief operating officer at Napster.

Napster sells a subscription service for $10 to $15 a month where users can stream or download an unlimited number of songs from its five million-strong library. But Napster’s and other music subscription services have so far lagged behind larger rival iTunes, which uses a more traditional buy-to-own model. iTunes sells songs as permanent downloads at 99 cents each, or 79p in the UK.

Allen claims Napster is getting set for a turning point in the digital music industry in 2008, as major record companies make more music available without DRM. He forecast that, by the end of next year, the unprotected MP3 digital format will have become standard with major music companies and retailers. So far, only Universal Music Group and EMI Group have been selling music without DRM.

“When you can take the same tracks you purchased on Napster or other services and play them on your iPod or mobile phone, it will help to increase the exposure and the value of subscription services as the market opens up,” Allen says.

Napster says it has 770,000 subscribers.

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