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Napster claims launch of world's largest MP3 store

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
In a direct challenge to Apple's dominant iTunes Store, music subscription service provider Napster on Tuesday launched a new a la carte download service filled with DRM-free tracks that are compatible with both the iPod and iPhone.

With 6 million songs, the new offering is billed as "more than 50 percent larger than any other MP3 store" and not only the "largest major label MP3 catalog in the industry, but also the largest library of independent music available anywhere."

Apple's iTunes also boasts a catalog of over 6 million songs, but tracks from the service are served up in AAC format (not MP3) and only a fraction of those are offered free of copy restrictions by record label EMI.

Other labels have thus far refused to make their catalogs available on iTunes in DRM-free format, and have instead offered that courtesy to competitive services like Amazon MP3 in an effort to curb Apple's stronghold on the market for legal downloads. However, there's little indication the strategy is paying off for the labels.

Last month, iTunes showed no sign of wear as it out-muscled Wal-Mart to to become the number one music retailer in the US with a 19 percent share. At the same time, data from Nielsen SoundScan suggests the download service also maintained a commanding lead as an online retailer, with over a 85 percent share of the market in the US and more than 50 million customer accounts.

Meanwhile, Amazon MP3, which now stands as the world's second-largest DRM-free MP3 service behind Napster, recently placed a distant fourth in the overall retail rankings, having captured just a 6 percent share of the market.

Napster said pricing for downloads on its new service is set at 99 cents for single MP3 tracks and $9.95 for most MP3 albums -- about the same fees charged by iTunes. The majority of the catalog will be available at a high-quality 256kbps bitrate, and downloaded tracks will also include high-resolution album art, the company added.

The service, however, is not compatible with Apple's Safari web browser.
post #2 of 39
"The service, however, is not accessible via Apple's Safari web browser."

It may have the largest number of DRM free tracks but the user experience will still be crap.

No one will ever use it.
post #3 of 39
'Dominant' or preferably 'predominant' not "dominate" in the first line surely.
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post #4 of 39
Funny how things are. Years ago Napster was the enemy of the music industry but now iTunes. They will never understand that once you give someone an advantage you will never get it back easily. There will always be someone dominating online music and it will never be the labels.
post #5 of 39
not only does it not work with Safari but it also does not work with Macs or iPods.
post #6 of 39
Who really cares...it's Napster?
post #7 of 39
I simply refuse to say anything remotely negative about iTunes or Safari (today)!
post #8 of 39
This is a smart move on the labels part.


Quote:
Originally Posted by CiderApple View Post

not only does it not work with Safari but it also does not work with Macs or iPods.

How will Napster Mp3s not work with iPods?
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post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by allblue View Post

'Dominant' or preferably 'predominant' not "dominate" in the first line surely.

Their use of the word is correct.
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Hard-Core.
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post #10 of 39
Dear Napster, my friend:

Remember when we used to download songs together? Remember the hours I spent browsing with your crude version 1.0 interface? Man, things were sweet back then.

I'm writing because I need to tell you something, and I'm sorry but there's no other way to say it than to be blunt: You had a great ride for a few years, but it's a new world now. Things have changed. I think it's time for you to start thinking about retirement.

Look, old friend, I'm not saying it out of iTunes allegiance -- I don't even really like iTunes -- I'm saying because... well... because you're embarrassing yourself. It's hard for me to say it, it really is, but I think you should quit while you still have some dignity left.

But chin-up, dear friend, you will always have a very fond place in my heart. I'll still visit you every once in a while for nostalgia's sake.

Until next we meet,

your pal,

-Clive
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post #11 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

Dear Napster, my friend....



Your letter is certainly telling of the people the labels intend to pull into their anti-iTunes fold. There is a sense of nostalgia and familiarity with downloading music from Napster that Amazon doesn't have. I'm not sure if it will work, but this is a great strategic step.
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post #12 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

How will Napster Mp3s not work with iPods?

He is talking about the store not the songs.
post #13 of 39
OK, it's not often that a story drags me to comment - but for some reason this one has....

Not only is there service unaccessible to Safari - most of the site is! I can't even download the Napster App on OS X (goodness only knows why a company would check OS to prevent download of an app - failure to run is surely guard enough against that, and surely I'd never be tempted to try it in VMWare/Parallels).

The whole Napster site seems to be a big anti-iPod/iTunes campaign, I particualarly like the comparison on this page (http://www.napster.co.uk/using_napst...d_napster.html) - hmm nearly $8k to to fill that old iPod, or a mere $15 a month for Napster - lies, damn lies and statistics! Did Napster's CEO get fired from an Apple Store or something in their youth? I can't see any reason why any self respecting business would go out of it's way to avoid mentioning it's DRM-free material works perfectly well on the market leading MP3 player.

The big 'No-iPod' sign is a nice touch too.

Me also smells a rat...Apparently (according the above page) - some iPod users still use Napster to listen to Natpster's 2,000,000 (yes, TWO million) songs on their PC....The classic anti-pod image tells us we can have our choice of 1,000,000 (yes, ONE million) songs to put a selection on our compatible MP3 player (no-ipods welcome of course), then there's the front page which advertises 5,000,000 songs and of course the latest bit of news, that full 6,000,000 songs DRM free of course (cos' that means Napster kicks iTunes, nahahah).

I'm still non the wiser just exactly how many tracks Naptster has on it's books, or why they'd choose to prevent me downloading an App I know I'm capable of running (based my browsing OS), or why they'd play down the fact that their DRM free music works on an iPod (I never trust businesses which seem to willingly turn away trade) or just why the hell Napster thinks it's still relevant.

Rant over. Sorry it went on a bit.

Ryan
post #14 of 39
Am I the only person to have spotted the typo in the article title?

It should of course be "Napster", not "Naspter".

But... Naspter, Raspter, who cares?
post #15 of 39
Hmm, not available outside the U.S, well, how could that be the worlds largest online music store? iTMS is available outside of the U.S
post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

With 6 million songs, the new offering is billed as "more than 50 percent larger than any other MP3 store" and not only the "largest major label MP3 catalog in the industry, but also the largest library of independent music available anywhere.

I thought the part I put in bold above is funny. Not only do they have more tracks but more tracks that the vast majority of the mainstream market will not download!
post #17 of 39
This is all about how much they hate SJ, Apple, and iTunes in particular. The labels do not care about Napster, Amazon, or anyone else. Every deal they make these days has only to do with trying to hurt SJ. Nothing more. SJ asks for DRM free music, they say no, then give their entire catalogues to everyone else. SJ wants to hold the line on pricing. They say no, then allow everyone else to offer $.99 -$9.99 pricing. They do not want to help Napster, they want to hurt Apple, the #1 music seller in the States, if not the world. It is not even that they do not want to see a dominate supplier. I never heard of reports of them treating Wal-Mart like this. It is not even business anymore at this point; its personal. As a Mac user, I take it personally. I feel it is my civic duty to do everything in my power to hurt this industry of thugs, stupid thugs at that. May they continue to suffer the slow, painful death they have so richly, and repeatedly earned!
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post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by fltman View Post

Hmm, not available outside the U.S, well, how could that be the worlds largest online music store? iTMS is available outside of the U.S

The article clearly states they are referring to quantity, not the sqaured land area of every country that has access.

Plus, they do a slightly shadybut completely truemarketing technique by referring to MP3s. That term is ubiquitous and colloquial enough to refer to any digital music player, but how many people will read that and know the difference?
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post #19 of 39
Don't worry class this will actually help Apple...
Apple is probably biding its time for renegotiation with the music labels, then it will say "give us DRM-free tracks", labels say "no" and Apple hits them with a $2 Billion lawsuit for anti-trust and collusion for the restriction of fair competition. It will be a huge event in september. Then Apple can lower every product it sells by $100.
You can quote me on that!

Mad-elph
post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

I thought the part I put in bold above is funny. Not only do they have more tracks but more tracks that the vast majority of the mainstream market will not download!

I guess that's funny, if you don't know how to read, or choose to ignore the line that came before it...

post #21 of 39
i'm curious how the record companies justify this disparity - allowing napster drm free tracks, but denying them to apple. did any of them go on record (sorry) over that issue?
post #22 of 39
This probably hurts Microsoft even more than Apple. Apple and the iPod/iTunes are already quite established (I know I have no desire to repurchase songs just so they're DRM-free. But for an upstart like Zune and the crazy "points" paying system Microsoft employs, Napster's DRM-free songs at a higher bit-rate are going to make the Zune's success even more unlikely (...and customer-fiascos like the MSN Music shutdown only exacerbate the problem) .

How long do you think it will be before we see on the back of a box of Frosted Flakes that you can get a Zune free if you send in 4 box tops and $7.95 for shipping & handling?

/
post #23 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by drjones69 View Post

hmm nearly $8k to to fill that old iPod, or a mere $15 a month for Napster

Over a year, that $15/month adds up to 2.25% of $8,000.

I doubt that I'd pay even $2,000 (or 9% per annum of $2,000) for the selection of songs on Napster, but I'll never know because their service doesn't work with Safari.

Napster...
What's in a name? That which we now call Napster
by any other name would suck as hard.
post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilco View Post

I guess that's funny, if you don't know how to read, or choose to ignore the line that came before it...


No I did read it, and understood it but all I am saying is that they claim they will have the most songs from independent groups/labels. No where does it mention it will have six million songs in addition to the largest collection of independents. I imagine a large majority of their songs are from independents as they have a better chance of securing distribution contracts.
post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tofino View Post

i'm curious how the record companies justify this disparity - allowing napster drm free tracks, but denying them to apple. did any of them go on record (sorry) over that issue?

I think I read one rationalization where a record company guy said something like "we want to
try drm-free music as a small experiment and see what effect it has on piracy". This was
several months ago. It did not pass the laugh test then, and they have made several moves
since that make it clear they are trying to reduce the dominance of the iTunes store.
post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

I think I read one rationalization where a record company guy said something like "we want to
try drm-free music as a small experiment and see what effect it has on piracy". This was
several months ago. It did not pass the laugh test then, and they have made several moves
since that make it clear they are trying to reduce the dominance of the iTunes store.

With the lawyers Apple has on retainer I wouldn't doubt that they didn't start building an anti-trust case the day they heard about the Amazon deal. At least, that is what I would have done. I'd also wait until i get a strong enough case or start seeing my iTunes Store music sales fall before I'd do anything about it. And I'd offer the labels the option of giving Apple the same deal with the threat of filing the case.
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post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

How will Napster Mp3s not work with iPods?

Dunno how but - http://www.napster.co.uk/faq.html

14. Does Napster work with iPod?
Napster would like to work with your iPod, but Apple has chosen to keep both the iPod and iTunes closed off from Napster and every other digital music service. Napster's philosophy is different. A Napster subscription gives you more ways to discover and enjoy music on more players. For a list of Napster-compatible players, click here.
post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by abrooks View Post

Dunno how but - http://www.napster.co.uk/faq.html

14. Does Napster work with iPod?
Napster would like to work with your iPod, but Apple has chosen to keep both the iPod and iTunes closed off from Napster and every other digital music service. Napster's philosophy is different. A Napster subscription gives you more ways to discover and enjoy music on more players. For a list of Napster-compatible players, click here.

You're looking at their DRM section... its been around for awhile. This story is about a new DRM-free section on their site that will work with any iPod because its just a standard mp3.
post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad-elph View Post

Don't worry class this will actually help Apple...
Apple is probably biding its time for renegotiation with the music labels, then it will say "give us DRM-free tracks", labels say "no" and Apple hits them with a $2 Billion lawsuit for anti-trust and collusion for the restriction of fair competition. It will be a huge event in september. Then Apple can lower every product it sells by $100.
You can quote me on that!

Mad-elph

If Apple wins this hypothetical case, could the other wireless carriers then use it as a precedent in a suit against the iPhone/ATT exclusive deal?
post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post

This is all about how much they hate SJ, Apple, and iTunes in particular. The labels do not care about Napster, Amazon, or anyone else. Every deal they make these days has only to do with trying to hurt SJ. Nothing more. SJ asks for DRM free music, they say no, then give their entire catalogues to everyone else. SJ wants to hold the line on pricing. They say no, then allow everyone else to offer $.99 -$9.99 pricing. They do not want to help Napster, they want to hurt Apple, the #1 music seller in the States, if not the world. It is not even that they do not want to see a dominate supplier. I never heard of reports of them treating Wal-Mart like this. It is not even business anymore at this point; its personal. As a Mac user, I take it personally. I feel it is my civic duty to do everything in my power to hurt this industry of thugs, stupid thugs at that. May they continue to suffer the slow, painful death they have so richly, and repeatedly earned!

If the labels or the movie studios wanted to cut their own throats, they'd tick off Wal-Mart. Right now, they can whine about Apple and not face extinction, but their days are numbered. The trend is direct sales to consumers and iTunes will be the way to do it.

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post #31 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad-elph View Post

Don't worry class this will actually help Apple...
Apple is probably biding its time for renegotiation with the music labels, then it will say "give us DRM-free tracks", labels say "no" and Apple hits them with a $2 Billion lawsuit for anti-trust and collusion for the restriction of fair competition. It will be a huge event in september. Then Apple can lower every product it sells by $100.
You can quote me on that!

Mad-elph

I would agree there is plenty of evidence for collusion and anti-competitive practices by the labels in this case, but it's unlikely that Apple would file suit unless they were harmed in any significant way. So far, they are doing fine despite the music industry's best efforts to kick Apple in the soft spots.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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GOA

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post #32 of 39
In other news:

I'm please to announce the launch of the world's largest dfiler's audio tracks store. *

(* Service unavailable worldwide and some operating systems not supported)
post #33 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimUSCA View Post

You're looking at their DRM section... its been around for awhile. This story is about a new DRM-free section on their site that will work with any iPod because its just a standard mp3.

Oh, I see! My apologies
post #34 of 39
"The service, however, is not compatible with Apple's Safari web browser."

They've just lost the game, should one of us tell them?
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post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AeronPrometheus View Post

"The service, however, is not compatible with Apple's Safari web browser."

They've just lost the game, should one of us tell them?

It works with Firefox for Mac. There seems to be a lot of JS code on the page that isn't completely compatible with Safari. If I change my User Agent and the page will load but it's much slower and there are some errors. With as complex as the source code is and the fact that they inform you to use Firefox for Mac I wouldn't rag on Napster too hard. I think I would have done the same thing.
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post #36 of 39
<redundant post.>
post #37 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guartho View Post

If Apple wins this hypothetical case, could the other wireless carriers then use it as a precedent in a suit against the iPhone/ATT exclusive deal?

Not really. Now if Apple dealed will ATT, Verison, and Sprint but refused to deal with T-Mobil, T-Mobil might have a case.
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post #38 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I wouldn't rag on Napster too hard. I think I would have done the same thing.

Nah, you would have used one of the many free javascript libraries that work with nearly all browsers already.

Napster has always had some neat ideas and has always had abysmal business sense.
post #39 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClimbingTheLog View Post

Napster has always had some neat ideas and has always had abysmal business sense.

Ain't that the truth. Now it's just a lapdog for the labels.
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