Napster takes on iTunes by offering six million tracks DRM-free, for just 99 cents

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napster-logo-2.jpgNapster has gone from strength to strength in recent months, proving that the once-illegal P2P service really does have a place in today’s music industry.

In addition to sampling Scarlett Johansson’s album ahead of the official release, they’ve just grabbed all that nasty DRM from their paid downloads, and flushed it down the toilet. As of today, all of the six million tracks they offer customers will be available in unprotected 25kkbps MP3 form, for only 99 cents. Considering the previous DRM-ridden tracks were just 192kbps, that’s mighty generous of the music giant.

Here’s the best bit though – Napster has managed to pull off the coup of the century, convincing all four major record labels to support them in their attack on DRM tracks. Apple’s iTunes offers just two million tracks lacking in DRM in comparison, although they still manage to cripple customers slightly by encoding them in AAC codecs, meaning some MP3 players are not compatible with the tracks.

In addition to offering the tracks for 99 cents each, they’re still aiming on signing up as many people as they can to their subscription pay-monthly service. “We’re really focused on subscription and driving subscribers as our business model,” Napster COO Christopher Allen said, explaining “it’s a way for us, through MP3s, to get some exposure to our subscription service…they may be initially attracted to the MP3s… and I think it will result in more subscribers over time.”

A new look has also been unveiled with this announcement, allowing the music store compatibility with Windows, OS X and Linux operating systems.

Napster


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Scarlett Johansson’s album available on Napster | The Rolling Stones’ album available on Napster

Katherine Hannaford