Napster lives, $5 a month subscription package

BestBuy has re-launched Napster and it's trying a new untested business model. The basic premise of the cheapest plan is that you can get unlimited streaming of music, keep 5 DRM free MP3's each month for $5.00. This equates to $1.00 per song but you're limited to choosing five songs a month.

The idea behind the program is that you will stream cd quality music to your computer or possibly your device but here is where things get interesting/unclear. The press release is dated May 19th so the actual plan is not live yet and there are many questions that are left unanswered.

It does not state in the press release if it will work natively on the iPod Touch or the iPhone. Also, it appears that there are other packages available. One of the many questions regarding the service is: does the user have to be connected to the Internet for the music to play or is it no wifi no music?

BestBuy could have a potential rival to the Zune Pass on their hands but the early press release leaves many details unanswered. Check back to Neowin tomorrow when hopefully more details will be available.

Full Press Release:

Napster Offers MP3s With its Popular On-Demand Streaming Service for One Low Monthly Price

LOS ANGELES – MAY 19, 2009 – Napster, the pioneer of digital music, today unveiled its latest music offering combining the freedom of MP3s with the discovery benefits of a high-quality streaming music service – all for one low price. For as little as $5 per month, Napster users get five unrestricted MP3 downloads, and unlimited access to Napster's award-winning on-demand music streaming service.

Music fans now have the best of both worlds: MP3s to keep forever, play, transfer and burn as much as they like, as well as unlimited music listening from Napster's catalog of more than seven million tracks. "There's no need to settle for 30-second clips to decide if you want to buy a song," said Chris Gorog, CEO of Napster. "For five bucks now you can have access to our entire music catalog and get five MP3s to add to your permanent collection."

Napster users can now:
· Get five MP3s each month to download, with their choice of songs from the Napster MP3 library that covers all types of music from all the major labels and includes the largest catalog of independent artists available.
· Listen to any track, as often as they like, in CD quality from Napster's catalog of more than seven million songs.
· Choose from more than 60 commercial-free radio stations and more than 1,400 expertly programmed playlists.
· Discover new music and artists through personalized recommendation tools.
· Enjoy the top hits from more than 50 years of Billboard charts. Want to know what was popular when you graduated high school? Now you can.
· Play MP3s on any MP3 player, including iPod®, iPhone® and music-enabled MP3 mobile phones.

"A decade ago, Napster revolutionized the way people discovered and enjoyed music," said Julie Owen, senior vice president of entertainment for Best Buy. "The brand that started it all is shaking things up again with this new service that provides music lovers continued access to the entertainment experience they've come to expect of Napster and Best Buy."

The new Napster offering is now available for U.S. residents at www.napster.com

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I believe they are referring to the streaming aspect of Napster (which might or might not work on the iPod Touch or iPhone), not the MP3 files you get to download each month.

roadwarrior said,
I believe they are referring to the streaming aspect of Napster (which might or might not work on the iPod Touch or iPhone), not the MP3 files you get to download each month.


correct!

Even if the streaming did work on the iPhone, why would anyone use it? You can't even stream the music while working on something else since apple ristricts multitasking! On a Windows phone, you can stream Pandora while typing up a word document or anything else.

Even if the streaming did work on the iPhone, why would anyone use it? You can't even stream the music while working on something else since apple ristricts multitasking! On a Windows phone, you can stream Pandora while typing up a word document or anything else.

chisss said,
you mean play the music you downloaded without being connected to the internet? I sure hope so! otherwise there are a lot of other FREE options for music streaming that are just as good and the price of the songs are the same anyway...

Its referring to the 5 mp3s you get a month can be played on an iPod, not the streaming music.


Napster is miles better than Rhapsody. The Rhapsody software is terrible imo and finding new music could be a chore. With Napster you can sort by release dates and what not but you can't do that with Rhapsody. It also has all the billboard charts.

Napster is a great software and imo is the best music service on the net. i tried Rhapsody but the software is terrible and Itunes isn't even an option at 99 cents a track.The zune pass is cool but lacks a lot of music. I don't understand why subscription aren't more popular...for 14.95 a month I can download all the music I want and transfer it to my Vision M. I think the main problem that Napster faces is that the most popular MP3 players don't work with it. Zune and Ipods.

I did like napster when It came out and was a few I could get my music from. Now I say this is poor decision becuase TODAY I know how to get my downloads from torrent or mirc or cabos. Gadgets like Zune, Ipods are are neat but I dont have or need one... I use my laptop to listen to music or just hook it up to the car. or just burn them on cds that are rewritable and play them. I listen either at home or at work.

I also would add that I dont need to download programs like itunes (they are great for organizing files I heard)

but thanks to microsoft, everything is plug n play and you can just transfer files (copy/cut and paste) without installing bloatedware. yes I am very picky what I install now.

DrOmango said,
I did like napster when It came out and was a few I could get my music from. Now I say this is poor decision becuase TODAY I know how to get my downloads from torrent or mirc or cabos. Gadgets like Zune, Ipods are are neat but I dont have or need one... I use my laptop to listen to music or just hook it up to the car. or just burn them on cds that are rewritable and play them. I listen either at home or at work.

Oh! So I get what you're saying... Why should Best Buy make a deal with a pay for play service when [I] can just steal everything from bitorrent and IRC freely. I think you should contact Best Buy and make your counteroffer known.

DrOmango said,
I also would add that I dont need to download programs like itunes (they are great for organizing files I heard)

but thanks to microsoft, everything is plug n play and you can just transfer files (copy/cut and paste) without installing bloatedware. yes I am very picky what I install now.


Thanks to Microsoft? I don't understand. To the person that pirates music that method sucks compared to music services. I did that when I was 12 with no job or money. There is only so much you can find on torrent sites compared to a catalog of 7 million tracks that can be instantly downloaded.

I actually support and buy artists cds too. I find it opposite of what ur saying free tools are limited to finding mp3s. There are artists that are not known and not on catalog.

DrOmango said,
I did like napster when It came out and was a few I could get my music from. Now I say this is poor decision becuase TODAY I know how to get my downloads from torrent or mirc or cabos. Gadgets like Zune, Ipods are are neat but I dont have or need one... I use my laptop to listen to music or just hook it up to the car. or just burn them on cds that are rewritable and play them. I listen either at home or at work.

I do not judge you for downloading music illegally; Most of us have done it once or twice. In fact it was music subscription services that got me to stop. However, I'll still download a song or two if I can't find it, and I do download lots of Asian music that isn't sold here in the US. However, *facepalm* not the point. What I do judge you on is the fact that you say you don't need gadgets like MP3 players and such. That you'd rather burn them to rewritable CDs. This kind-of thinking is past thinking. People who think in the past are not useless, because they can tell us if something has happened before, but are not innovative either. They serve no creative purpose, and I fear this way of thinking has made you ignorant. While on the other hand my way has made me arrogant.

Yea, but the idea of keeping songs each month was taken from the Zune Pass.

And anyways, I'm sticking to my Zune, cuz I'm waiting for that Zune HD!

Obviously this isn't for the UK market but with Spotify probably crossing the Atlantic soon, $5 may not seem that worthwhile(but it is cheaper than Spotify charges for ad-free playing over here).

Yeah the problem is that Spotify offers a free version, Napster does not.

That means Spotify (rightly) will create more buzz about their service, gain more users and those users may later be enticed to upgrade to premium package. Even if they don't, Spotify will earn ad revenue.

I do hope the Napster software has improved, it was always very bloated previously and Spotify by comparison is much leaner / better.

I thought Napster was still around. THey already had a subscription model and pretty decent software. I even got year's worth of service because it came with an MP3 player. Unfortunately they made the mistake of using a ****ty device and I had to RMA it 3-4 times before they gave me a sandisk sansa. Then they used a creative player.

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