Beleaguered Napster opens online song outfit in Japan

“Napster Inc. said on Tuesday it launched an online song distribution site in Japan, challenging Apple Computer Inc. and popular music phones,” Reuters reports.

“Napster Japan, a joint venture between America’s Napster and Tower Records Japan Inc., will introduce a service that lets members listen to and download an unlimited number of songs from its database of 1.5 million selections for 1,980 yen ($16.80) a month. Users will also be able to transfer music to compatible music players,” Reuters reports.

“About 90 percent of Napster Japan’s lineup is music from outside Japan… Napster Japan targets 1 million subscribers in three years. The site also lets consumers buy songs without subscribing. The companies expect about 1 million individual downloads a month by around March,” Reuters reports.

Reuters reports, “Napster’s challenge in Japan, along with other online music sites like Apple’s iTunes music store, is to expand in a market where more people download music directly onto mobile phones than to personal computers. KDDI Corp., the country’s No. 2 phone company, leads the market for wireless music download… NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan’s No. 1 mobile operator, offers a phone model that is compatible with the Napster service, he said, and it plans to make more phones that are Napster-compatible.”

Full article here.
Yawn. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Maybe Tower Records Japan, Inc. will end up buying beleaguered Napster since nobody else seems to want it or even want to work with it.

Related articles:
Beleaguered Napster hires UBS to evaluate possible company sale – September 18, 2006
Beleaguered Napster circles bowl, subscribers drop 7 percent, Gorog won’t rule out sale of company – August 03, 2006
Free, legal and ignored: Mac- and iPod-incompatible beleaguered Napster dying at colleges – July 06, 2006Napster CEO Gorog blames Microsoft for failure to compete with Apple’s iTunes Music Store – March 01, 2006
Napster CEO Chris Gorog has ‘secret plan’ to help beleaguered company become profitable – February 09, 2006
Google: no interest in Napster, no plans to develop music store at this time – January 31, 2006
Napster does the math: layoffs commence with 10-percent of workforce lopped off – January 25, 2006
EMI Music Chairman: Music subscription services like Napster and Rhapsody haven’t beeen huge – January 23, 2006
Napster CEO Gorog: ‘we are extremely excited about the future’ – January 18, 2006
Report: Napster executives do the math, consider selling or shutting down, layoffs imminent – January 16, 2006
Napster CEO Gorog: Apple iPod is a ‘villain’ – December 12, 2005
Do the math: Napster posts $13.6 million second-quarter loss – November 02, 2005
Napster President: Apple CEO Steve Jobs has ‘tricked people into buying a hardware trap’ – August 22, 2005
Apple’s roadkill whine in unison: ‘incompatibility is slowing growth of digital music’ – August 12, 2005
Napster: the only thing missing is the sock puppet – August 04, 2005
Napster, other Windows Media-based music services ‘chasing a niche opportunity’ – June 29, 2005
SmartMoney: Napster is a snooze, gushing money and renting music is un-American anyway – July 06, 2005
Napster To Go Soon? Reports $24.3 million net loss on $17.4 million net revenue – May 11, 2005
Napster is a joke – April 05, 2005
Napster CEO Gorog: Steve Jobs ‘must be pretty frightened’ of Napster To Go – March 14, 2005
Napster’s math does not add up – February 28, 2005
Users thwart Napster To Go’s copy protection; do the music labels realize the piracy potential? – February 15, 2005
Napster CEO Gorog: ‘it’s stupid to buy an iPod’ – February 10, 2005
$10,000 to fill an iPod? Napster’s going to end up with egg on their face – February 04, 2005
Why ‘Napster To Go’ will flop – February 03, 2005
Napster CEO: We’re ‘the biggest brand in digital music, much more exciting than Apple’s iTunes’ – February 03, 2005
The de facto standard for legal digital online music files: Apple’s protected MPEG-4 Audio (.m4p) – December 15, 2004
Napster CEO: ‘it would be great’ if Apple iPod supported WMA – March 09, 2004
Napster CEO: Apple iTunes, iPod ‘consumer-unfriendly experiences’ – March 09, 2004
Napster 2.0 posts US$15 million relaunch loss – February 08, 2004

Apple iPod, iTunes Music Store absolutely rule Japan’s digital-music player market – February 24, 2006
Japan Today: Apple iPod+iTunes exposes ‘lame-ass efforts’ of Japanese competitors – November 20, 2005
Apple iPod & iTunes Music Store both number one in Japan; iPod market share nears 60-percent – November 16, 2005
Apple’s iTunes Music Store takes just four days to become Japan’s undisputed online music leader – August 08, 2005
Apple’s Japan iTunes Music Store sells one million songs in first four days – August 07, 2005


  1. The only way I can see myself ever using a subscription is if it were cheap enough to have on top of my regular purchasing budget. A subscription needs to be totally complimentary to my normal purchasing habits, to expose me to new music and then get me to buy that music.

    I buy a fair number of albums but there are those that I would like to try but am not going to commit to, or those songs that I like at the time but will get tired of. £5 a month or something might tempt me – even with some sort of restriction, 10 albums a month or at a time or something. If I found something I liked, I would buy it, perhaps with a small discount – even a few percent could work in the long run. If I don’t then I’ve not wasted money on it and can move onto something else.

  2. I guess Chris Gorog was upset that Napster still had some money left. His plan to lose every last penny in Napster’s accounts was going too slowly. Launching a subscription service in Japan with 90% of the music non-Japanese should take of the rest of that money in a jif.

  3. > When Napster goes bankrupt and closes the doors, what happens to the music on the computers of all those dumb enough to have subscribed to their fiasco?

    Techinically, since you were renting the music month-to-month, you are simply losing the ability to continue renting. That’s a flaw in the music subscription model. The same issue would occur if you forgot to pay one month or you lost your hard drive in a crash. I suppose you could sign up with Real or Urge and rent those songs again, if you were “dumb enough” a second time.

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