“Gambling on the residual affection for the Napster brand, software company Roxio bought the name as well as PressPlay, the doomed downloading service launched by Sony and Universal. Chris Gorog, a former executive at Walt Disney and now Napster chief executive, was brought in to help Roxio break into the entertainment business. ‘Now we’re in the process of writing the record industry cheques for millions of dollars, we have their attention,’ he says,” The Guardian reports.
“In the US, the download service launched by Apple last year to boost sales of its iPod music player has sold some 30m tracks at 99 cents each. It is credited by many with breaking the deadlock with record labels and making a consumer-friendly, easy-to-use download service a reality. It, too, is planning a summer European launch and the battle lines with Napster are being drawn. Apple uses its own download format: iPod owners can download songs only from iTunes. This leaves Napster in the odd position of being unable to sell music to owners of the world’s most popular digital music player,” The Guardian reports.
“‘Napster is a Windows Media Audio house designed around that digital rights management,’ Gorog says. ‘We are a believer in the technology and we believe it’s going to be, and basically is, the ubiquitous platform. Companies pushing a propriety agenda are consumer-unfriendly experiences because they’re cloistering them in an experience that they can’t leave and eliminating choice,'” The Guardian reports.
“Gorog believes pressure from iPod owners will force Apple to reconsider its stance: ‘The iPod is great if you’re happy to only shop at one record store. It’s like buying a car and finding you can only drive down one road. I think consumers, when they understand that, will be kind of pissed off,’ he says,” The Guardian reports. “Gorog points to how the brand retains enormous affection. He claims 92% of those polled in the US recognised the Napster brand and equated it with online music, compared with 27% for iTunes. ‘People still love the brand. We’ve been able to take Napster into a paid model but they still use the same adjectives to describe it – innovative, independent, cool, irreverent, renegade.'”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: We would be remiss, after Gorog’s desperate bleatings for relevancy, if we did not point out that Napster 2.0, on February 23rd, announced they had hit the 5 million mark in online song sales. Or less than 1/10th of Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Inside Digital Media analyst Phil Leigh estimates that Apple is now selling 1.2 million songs a week, which he says would bring them to slightly more than 52 million total songs sold through the end of April. Adding Pepsi promo redemptions, Apple should be somewhere between 75 million – 100 million songs sold by April’s end. HP is due to soon begin selling all consumer PCs with iTunes, including the iTunes Music Store, preinstalled. (BTW: This means QuickTime will be installed as well on all of those HPs, as it is required for iTunes to function). Market-dominating iPod players work with the market-dominating iTunes Music Store. Not Napster.
“Napster is losing money, and top executives have left the company, including its president, chief financial officer, vice president of programming and head of corporate communications as well a key board member. On Wednesday, Roxio began laying off people at its Napster division. A Roxio spokeswoman said the company was ‘eliminating redundancies in the organization’ but declined to say how many people lost their jobs,” Dawn C. Chmielewski reported February 19th for The Mercury News. “Alex Luke, the long-time vice president of music programming, who left shortly after the service’s launch to join the rival Apple service.”
To sum up, what you are hearing emanating from Gorog’s pie hole are the sounds of Napster in its death throes.
[UPDATED, 9:55am: Used more current iTunes Music Store sales figures as per Atomic Bomb’s request.]
Related MacDailyNews articles:
The Guardian: iTunes Music Store should quake in fear of Napster – March 05, 2004
Forbes: Apple’s iTunes vs. Roxio’s Napster – March 01, 2004
Microsoft tries to push WMA by propping up beleaguered Napster – February 25, 2004
Napster 2.0 announces 5 million songs sold; pales in comparison to Apple’s iTunes Music Store – February 24, 2004
Apple iTunes Music Store dominates beleaguered distant number 2 Napster – February 19, 2004
HP considered Napster deal before Apple’s iTunes; Napster ‘is losing money, top executives’ – February 19, 2004
Napster 2.0 posts US$15 million relaunch loss – February 08, 2004
Napster Exec: warns ‘stay-off the Apple platform’ to MIDEM international music market delegates – January 26, 2004