Napster unveils payment cards

The online music retailer has developed its own prepaid cards to target teens and others without credit cards. Online music retailer Napster unveiled prepaid cards on Monday, so people -- particularly teens -- can download songs without credit cards.

The $14.85 (£8.75) card, which will offer 15 downloads, is set to go on sale in mid-November at 14,000 retail outlets. It looks like a credit card and has a scratch-off surface concealing a personal identification number to activate the card. The company is working with InComm, a firm specialising in prepaid products, on the marketing plan. Roxio, the new owner of the formerly free file-swapping service, has adopted the per-song and subscription model. At the same time, it is going a step further by establishing direct relationships with hardware and software makers. Last month, Microsoft announced it would feature Napster on its Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2004 operating system. And Samsung is co-branding its new portable player with Napster. Roxio has also announced that Napster will be preloaded with some new Gateway computers.

While gift-giving is an obvious tie-in for the holidays, the prepaid system could help the company target a key customer base for downloadable music: teenagers. "The prepaid card initiative is critical because it eliminates a significant barrier to the legitimate digital music market: how to involve teens and millions of other Americans who don't have credit cards," Napster president Mike Bebel, said in a statement. The music card was announced ahead of the Napster 2.0 software launch set for Wednesday.

News source: ZDNet UK

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