Updated Napster DRM-Free Store <3 iPods

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Napster announced the transition to all DRM-free MP3s several months back, but now their 6 million song catalog is fully up and running. Now compatible with iPods/iPhones, Napster even claims that their inventory is "50% larger than any other MP3 store," though we're a little confused on the math since iTunes offers "more than 6 million [songs]" themselves. Most of Napster's catalog will be available at 256kbps bitrate, and they claim to be the first store to offer 100% MP3-formatted tracks. Anyone gonna give the service (another) go?

UPDATE: Ahh, we get it. Largest "MP3 store," not digital music store. Nice catch, commenters!

Napster Launches World's Largest MP3 Store Featuring 6 Million Tracks

Songs Purchased at Napster Now Compatible With iPod and iPhone
LOS ANGELES —(Business Wire)— May. 20, 2008 Napster (Nasdaq:NAPS), the pioneer of digital music, today announced the launch of the world's largest and most comprehensive MP3 store at http://www.napster.com/store.

Napster's download store is more than 50% larger than any other MP3 store and boasts not only the largest major label MP3 catalog in the industry, but also the largest library of independent music available anywhere. All Napster download sales in the U.S. will now be in the user-friendly, DRM-free MP3 format, which is compatible with virtually any MP3 player or music phone including the iPod and the iPhone. Napster is the first music subscription service featuring major label content to offer 100% of its catalog in the MP3 format for download sales.

"Music fans have spoken and it's clear they need the convenience, ease of use and broad interoperability of the DRM-free MP3 format, and they want to be able to find both major label artists and independent music all in one place. Napster is delighted to deliver all of this and more with the world's largest MP3 catalog," said Napster's Chairman and CEO Chris Gorog. "Our new MP3 store, together with our award-winning 'all you can eat' music subscription service, provides the most comprehensive and exciting music experience available. Virtually any portable device in the world can now be used to enjoy tracks purchased at Napster, which is an important breakthrough for our company."

Pricing for download sales will remain at 99 cents for single MP3 tracks and $9.95 for most MP3 albums, Napster confirmed. The vast majority of the MP3 catalog, including all major label content, is available at a high-quality 256kbps bitrate, and downloaded tracks include high-resolution album art. Consumers can visit and browse the download store with no obligation or commitment, and can also choose to subscribe to Napster's on-demand streaming service, which is web-based and can be accessed from any Internet-connected computer without downloading software.

"Our goal is to enrich your life with music, in ways that are personalized to you," said Chief Operating Officer Christopher Allen. "Napster now offers a truly complete and synergistic digital music destination, where music lovers can not only discover and listen to music, but also buy and own everything they want in MP3 format, which works on any music player. The combination offers consumers the best of both worlds."

Napster gives music fans the freedom of choice to discover, experience, and buy music on their own terms. With its web-based, open, innovative products and services, Napster gives consumers the ability to enjoy music across their desktop, living room, portable music player, and mobile phone.

"Developing online music services into true go-to consumer music destinations depends in large part on reducing hurdles to adoption," said Susan Kevorkian, IDC's Consumer Markets program director, "By offering millions of high quality, MP3-encoded DRM-free tracks from all of the major labels as well as independents, this service is well-positioned to appeal to the broad spectrum of music lovers, including iPod and iPhone owners."



@i4ni: When your friend dubbed a tape for you back in the day and you thanked him, did you think of it as stealing? Now we have millions of friends who share their music with us. Thing is, people need to differentiate "stealing" digital files and stealing music. When you go to a store and steal a CD, you are taking the plastic case, the disc, the booklet, all of these things cost money to produce. When you download it off the internet, you aren't doing anything of that sort and are simply getting the digital files. Musicians make 10 cents off an iTunes download. You're supporting the R.I.A.A more than anything.

You know how a musician makes money? When you see them in concert and buy their merchandise. Downloading music can't even be compared to actual theft of paid for materials.