Well it is the announcement that the Napster fans here at TD have been waiting. The online music site has finally given the green light to its much talked about Napster to Go service. Whereas previously users paid a tenner a month to stream any of the million or so tracks from Napster’s library to their PC, now for a fiver more (£14.95) they can transfer those tracks in Windows Media Audio (WMA) format to portable players.
The slightly bad news is that the service is only compatible with a limited number of WMA-playing models – so it is a no go with Apple or Sony players. It does however work with five models Creative Zen mîcro MP3 player; iriver H10 MP3 player; iriver Portable Media Centre; Creative Zen Portable Media Centre; and Samsung YH999 Portable Media Centre. Napster is promising to add a further 18 more players within the next three months.
If however a person stops paying the £15 a month subscription then, thanks to some very clever microsoft software called Janus, within 30 days the tracks lock on the player and the user can’t access them.
To access the service users will need to upgrade their Napster software by downloading Napster 3.0. They will also need to add firmware to their players.
It’ll be interesting to see what impact Napster to go will have on the digital music market and how Sony and Apple respond. We’ll get to play with its next week, so we’ll tell you what we think.