Napster dangles free music players in attempt to lure subscribers

“Roxio Inc.’s Napster said on Wednesday it is offering free digital music players with a one-year subscription in the latest bid by an online music service to lure consumers with promotional offers,” Sue Zeidler reports for Reuters. “Napster, which was transformed into a legal service after turning the music industry on its ear with an unauthorized song-swapping platform, is now giving away MP3 devices to anyone who subscribes for a full year.”

“On its Web site, Napster said it would give consumers a Rio Chiba Sport portable music device, valued at about $130, if they sign up for the subscription, which is valued at $119.40. The device features 128 megabytes of storage capacity and includes a stopwatch, sports headphones and an armband. Napster’s Web site also said consumers can upgrade to a larger capacity Rio Nitrus by paying an additional $80,” Zeidler reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Is it desperation time already? And so soon! Sure, some portion of the far lefthand region of the bell curve will jump at the chance to obtain second-rate merchandise based upon the incorrect assumption that it is “free.” Still, the only real question is when will these unfortunate souls end up buying an iPod or iPod mini, before their subscriptions lapse or after?

28 Comments

  1. This is SAD! It’s not even one week after Apple launches iTMS for the UK, France, and Germany, and Napster already pulls this. What happens when Apple opens up the EU-iTMS, or Japan, or Canada? Maybe Napster should just start giving away iTMS gift certificates and close up shop.

  2. whats so new about that? MS “gives away” the XBox to gain market share and a certain portion of the market now use XBox and buy more games for it as a result.

  3. Correct me if I am wrong, but the Janus feature that allows subscription music to be played on portables doesn’t yet exist. So, the ‘free’ player is useful only for existing music files and/or purchased songs.

    How many will pay for the subscription thinking they can hear all the songs they want on their 128mb player?

  4. I think that this approach will ultimately backfire. Soon after these Wal-Mart shoppers become frustrated due to their own stupidity at the clunky, POS “free” mp3 player that will break before their subscription runs out and the poor user experience, they will decide not to renew. When the time for renewal comes around however, the music that they spent one year collecting will magically disappear leaving nothing but a $120 hole in their pocket. That kind of money buys alot of beer, cigarettes, and lottery tickets in the trailer park.

  5. Join Audible. com for a year and enjoy novels and mags on your iPod and also get $100 off a regular or mini iPod. That is a pretty good deal if your use of the IPod is for music and more. J&R and Crutchfield honor this offer from Audible.

  6. Apple reaps only a small percentage of the revenue from each $.99 song they sell on the iTMS. So one could argue that they practically give away their music in order to do what? That’s right; sell iPods!

    Napster is attempting (and presumably will fail) to make money on their music by giving away an MP3 player. Meanwhile, Apple is actually making money by doing the opposite.

    -B

  7. I don’t buy free lunches: Congratulations! You’re the 1,000,000,000,000th visitor to this site. Click here to claim your prize!

    Investors placed money in Napster, so, by all means, Napster will use that resource to try to become a viable business. At stake is the potential to become one of the leading suppliers of online music. There’s a fine line between responsible and irresponsible use of investor money. If or when it becomes obvious to the company that its business won’t survive, I trust they will leave a few cents on the table to return to investors rather than bankrupt the company. Methinks it is still early times except for the arrangers of the investment, who’ve made their money already.

    Anyway, carrying around a Rio Chiba Sport doesn’t help upgrade one’s level of cool, so I don’t think there’ll be many takers.

  8. good thinking napster…

    it would lure some people into it but not me… but still good thinking. no we are seeing competition…

    reminds me of the poeple offering free computers to sign up for internet in the late 90s – while apple sold the imac and ibook…

    only time can tell

  9. Even if this offer is a success and 1oo’s of thousands of people go for it – How on earth are napster gonna make any money from it?

    Giving away 100’s of thousands of cheap audio players will not make them money!

    At the end of the day Napster have to pay for these players befire they can give em out – and the profit on individual songs is tiny – they are gonna have to sell one hell of alot of subscriptions and songs to break even – let alone make a profit!

    This will kill the Napster music store if it dosn’t work!

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