Tracey's Technology Blog

Technology news and gadget reviews relating to all of the latest consumer electronics products

03 May 2006

Napster Free Again

Napster are returning to its Copywrite-flouting early days, and are launching a new service where you are able to listen to Napster's songs and albums for free from its on-line library of over 2 million music files.

The only catch is, if you use Napster you are only able to listen to songs five times before you are asked to become a paid subscriber at Napster, or buy the song for 0.99 dollars (approximately 50p). If you don't pay, Napster will only play you a 30 second clip of the song after that.

The songs are also delivered to you at a rate of 32 kilobits per second; which is in fact lower in quality than the 128kbps typically used by Napster to stream music. Napster are clearly hoping users will upgrade to the paid service to get better sound quality, and avoid the ads.

If you use Napster's free service, you do however get free access to over 150 pre-programmed playlists, and artist profiles, and you don't need to install a separate music player!

By going back to its roots as a free service, Napster are clearly attempting to beat off increasing competition from the likes of; Yahoo Music, eMusic, MSN Music, and the leader in the digital music market; Apple's iTunes Music Store.

Having read a fair few comments on this, it looks like a lot of people will be previewing music on Napster, and buying it from Apple's iTunes; sorry Napster!

Napster is Sort Of Kind Of But Not Free Again, via Gizmondo


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