Napster's New Plans To Attract Old Customers

Dennis Faas's picture

Napster is hoping to reclaim its former glory days after introducing a new web-based platform that allows users to play their music from anywhere in the world without having to download additional software.

Once the best friend of every cheapskate music fan, Napster was forced by the Record Industry Association of America to charge customers money for the very songs they once shared for free. This was all received with a mass exodus of former "loyal" users from the company.

Napster now hopes to attract subscribers by making their platform more flexible and compatible with any Internet-enabled device. Prior to using a web-based platform, Napster subscribers could only listen to their music after downloading the Napster software application on their personal computers. (Source:

Think Apple iTunes Music Store and you will have a good idea of what the previous Napster format looked like.

Napster currently sells a subscription service that allows users to stream or download an unlimited number of songs from its five million-plus database. Napster currently holds 770,000 subscribers who they hope will be ecstatic with the web-based platform expansion.

The increase in the number of subscribers that this upgrade is expected to generate could not come at a better time for Napster. The company (along with an ocean full of other second-class digital music providers) has long since fallen behind industry leader Apple, which uses a buy-to-own approach when downloading music.

Napster is believed to be at a crossroad in the digital music industry as major record companies continue to make more music available without copyright protection known as DRM (Digital Rights Management). Analysts predict that by the end of 2008, the unprotected MP3 digital format will have become the standard with most major companies and retailers. (Source:

It seems Napster is looking to shake up the industry while the iron is fairly hot.

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