Napster unleashes free service for Philips GoGear


All Philips GoGear customers who’ve been laughed at by their mates with big shiny iPod Touches can now have the last giggle, or at least the latest one anyway. Philips has announced a deal with Napster such that all GoGear users will now have access to Napster’s PC service and full list of 640,000 albums from 540,000 artists for absolutely zip.

Additionally, if you happen to be the owner of a GoGear Opus, Ariaz or Vibe you’ll also get 30 days free access to the Napster To Go portable subscription service which would normally work out at £14.95 per month. Sure, a month’s grace isn’t a lot to play with but at the least you do get 90 ad free radio stations and recommendation software to play with as well as the on the hoof access as opposed to PC side-loading only.

It’s hard to work out exactly how good this all actually is given that a) it’s DRMed up to the hilt and b) there’s a lot of free music services out there anyway but I don’t suppose you can really argue with a sudden 10,000 folding of your effective music collection for both your mp3 player and home.

Philips / Naptser

NOISE GATE: Napster 4.6 – the return of Napster?


Ahhhh, Napster. Back in 1999, I sat there for days, on a 56kbps connection, downloading music. As a result of that, and Audiogalaxy, I became an enormous music fan and I’ve spent thousands of pounds on music over the years that I’m very convinced that I wouldn’t have spent if it hadn’t been so easy to ‘try before you buy’.

Today the news broke that Napster’s relaunching in the UK. Of course, it’s not the real Napster – it’s what was formerly Roxio – a DRM-based subscription service. The company has just released version 4.6 of its player, which purports to allow subscribers to access and play their music on any internet-connected computer, without downloading any software.

NOISE GATE: Why music subscription services will eventually work


This is the second installment of Noisegate, my weekly column on digital music. If you’re interested, then you can find last week’s, as well as future weeks’ columns right here.

This week I’m going to talk about subscription services and mobile phones. With the launch of Nokia’s “Comes with Music” expected this Thursday, and Sony Ericsson’s “PlayNow” service expected soon, too, I thought now would be a good time to muse on whether subscription services will ever really work in the long term.

Opinion: why Napster can't fail with their new DRM-free venture


Katherine Hannaford writes…

Can we call 2008 the heady days of digital music yet – can we? Can we? Sure, 2007 had its fair share of digital movers and shakers, with Radiohead pioneering the music release formula, but with today’s news that Napster is going DRM-free, surely things can only pick up in speed?

Beginning life as an illegal P2P service in 1999, it was acquired by Roxio in 2003 after numerous legal battles with the RIAA and, err, Metallica. I’m sure there’s a generation of kids who only know of Metallica as those baddies who shut down their favourite way of downloading 50 Cent.

Napster’s move to go DRM-free, and offer MP3 file formats encoded at 256kbps, has led a lot of people to draw even more comparisons between them and iTunes and Amazon. However, there’s no ignoring the facts, that iTunes currently has just EMI feeding them DRM-free tracks, and whilst Amazon, like Napster, has support from the four big record labels, it doesn’t have anywhere near the size of catalogue as Napster, who can also boast all the indie labels in addition to EMI, Warner, Sony BMG and Universal…

Apple could use iPhone 3G to intro new mobile music services

Apple may use the highly anticipated launch of a iPhone 3G to expand its mobile music offerings, in a bid to hold on to its lucrative lead in online digital music.

At present, iPhone users can either use a Wi-Fi hotspot to purchase and download music from iTunes, or simply “side-load” it from iTunes running on their PC whenever they synchronise their iPhone.

A iPhone 3G’s faster cellular connection could allow users to purchase music over the air.

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


Napster 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…

Scarlett Johansson's album "Anywhere I Lay My Head" up for sampling on Napster


Yes, really. This is not a May 12 Fools joke.

Everyone’s favourite large-chested, pasty-faced art house actress has only gone and done an album of songs. She’s called it “Anywhere I Lay My Head” – an invitation to lewd comments if ever there was – and you can listen to bits of it RIGHT NOW on Napster.

Subscribers to whatever service it is Napster’s running these days can stream…