The once-infamous downloading service Napster will make a stab at cultural relevancy again under the new ownership of Best Buy.
Napster, once a college-dorm staple, seemed to get lost in the shuffle with other digital music services after it relaunched as a paid, legal music-streaming site. iPod owners looked to iTunes. Independent music fans subscribed to emusic. And others found preference with Amazon, Rhapsody or more recently lala.com. It’s a very crowded field, and Napster just didn’t seem to vividly differentiate itself.
Best Buy bought Napster last year and Monday afternoon announced the first major changes to the service since the acquisition. As a digital-music addict, I can say with authority that Napster’s new pricing makes it something to consider. Five dollars gets a subscriber five MP3 downloads plus unlimited on-demand streaming of Napster’s catalog of 7 million songs.
“There’s no need to settle for 30-second clips to decide if you want to buy a song,” Napster CEO Chris Gorog said in the company’s statement. MP3 downloads will be for sale between 69 cents and $1.29 and playable on any MP3 player.
So if you’d ordinarily buy five songs a month on iTunes, and you regularly listen to music on a computer that’s connected to the Internet, Napster might be worth looking into. The $5 pricing is a limited-time offer, the site notes, however. (More: Associated Press, Reuters)