Napster Now Has 6 Million DRM-Free MP3s In Their Catalog

Posted May 20, 2008

“It’s great that we have finally gotten here,” stated Chris Gorog, Chairman and CEO of Napster. “It is really the beginning of a level playing field, which I think is essential for Napster, but also for the health of the digital music business in general.”

Napster Inc. (NASDAQ:NAPS) has announced today that they will start selling MP3s.  Prior to the announcement Napster was selling “all-you-can-eat” streaming music, but selling MP3s may enable the company to attract iPod users and others that prefer DRM-free music. 

Napster will be selling the MP3s for $0.99 each. and iTunes are currently the dominant players for DRM-free online music sales and they sell MP3s for roughly the same price.

Napster has 6 million MP3 tracks in their library while has 5 million.  As of March 31, Napster has 760,000 subscribers.  Napster will continue to sell streaming subscription services despite a shift in their strategy for selling music download files.

Last month, Apple beat Wal-Mart in becoming the biggest music retailer through iTunes.  Apple sold over 4 billion songs since 2003.

Different Perspectives
While the information above was simply put together from a press release, below are some of the perspectives from the blogosphere:

* TechCrunch wrote: “Iâ??m having trouble getting excited about it.” 
* CNET wrote “This is a huge day for digital music.”

Pulse 2.0 Perspective
I believe that both CNET and TechCrunch have great points.  While this is a huge day for digital music because now there are alternatives, Napster simply doesn’t have a large user-base.  Nor do they have a powerful brand to instantly win over new customers. 

The consumers that Napster wants to win most likely already own iPods.  And to use an iPod, you need iTunes, a Napster competitor.  It’ll be an uphill battle and the only way for Napster to win through it’s MP3 offerings is to prove that customers need them.  Only then will they be able to convince skeptics like TechCrunch that we as consumers should switch to Napster.

Information Source:
[1] Reuters: Napster rolls out MP3 store in challenge to iTunes by Yinka Adegoke