Napster on Tuesday opened the world's biggest MP3 download store with more than 6 million songs in a direct challenge to Apple's iTunes store.
The new Web-based music store will have digital songs
from all major music labels as well as thousands of
independent labels. The MP3-format songs will be
compatible with the majority of digital media devices and
mobile phones including Apple's popular iPod as well as
Before now Napster has focused on selling monthly
streaming music subscription packages but has struggled
to win over the majority of fans who want to be able to
transfer songs they like on to a portable device such as
the market-leading iPod.
The new Napster service tries to take on Apple's
dominance in digital music by offering fans more songs
without copy protection or digital rights management
(DRM). Most of the six million songs on the iTunes Music
store are available with Fairplay DRM, which prevents the
songs from being played on most portable players other
than the iPod.
"We're now moving from under the DRM cloud," said Chris
Gorog, Napster chief executive. "Now consumers can use
Napster with any device," he added.
Most songs on the service will be available for 99 cents
each and $9.95 an album.
Though Napster will be hoping to take on iTunes it will
try to do so by being compatible with Apple's service.
According to executives, MP3 songs bought on the Napster
Web-based service will be automatically synched into a
user's existing iTunes music library if they use that
"We believe ultimately that consumers will be moving to
an unlimited music model," said Gorog.