Napster launches free Web music service with a catch

“In a bid to bolster the image of its music subscription service and lure new subscribers, Napster is returning to the days of yore by offering free music. But as you might expect, there’s a catch. Rather than offering free downloadable music, Napster is taking a page from RealNetwork’s playbook and offering free streaming music to users in an attempt to entice them. With Napster’s offering, users can listen to streaming music from any of Napster’s two million tracks, with one caveat: no single track can be played more than five times (tracked via mandatory user registration),” Ken Fisher reports for Ars Technica.

“The free web-based offering utilizes Flash, presenting the user with a basic player application, a window for album art, and another for advertising. It works for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux users, and does not require the installation of any particular player software (other than the aforementioned Flash). The music streamed is of lower-quality than their commercial tracks, and my subjective tests indicate that the quality is also less than that offered by Rhapsody’s ‘competing’ free service,” Fisher reports.

Full article here.

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Related article:
RealNetworks launches new Rhapsody services, gives away 25 songs per month – April 26, 2005

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