Napster Opens Doors to MP3 Store

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Napster, the company who brought attention to P2P and sparked the file-sharing debate, just opened the internet’s largest legal MP3 store. The store currently contains over 6 million MP3s, none of which are DRM protected. This means a much more versatile (and higher quality) MP3 for the Napster store’s new customers. Even better news, higher quality MP3s surprisingly do not translate into higher-priced MP3s—all songs in Napster’s new store are 99 cents. The new Napster store is available to both subscribers and non-subscribers (the latter will purchase from a website rather than from Napster’s own software).


Napster, the company who brought attention to P2P and sparked the file-sharing debate, just opened the internet’s largest legal MP3 store. The store currently contains over 6 million MP3s, none of which are DRM protected. This means a much more versatile (and higher quality) MP3 for the Napster store’s new customers. Even better news, higher quality MP3s surprisingly do not translate into higher-priced MP3s—all songs in Napster’s new store are 99 cents. The new Napster store is available to both subscribers and non-subscribers (the latter will purchase from a website rather than from Napster’s own software).

Despite having high hope for this new store, Napster still plans to make their subscription service their number one priority, as it yields much greater profit margins. “[The store] is a way for us, through MP3s, to get some exposure to our subscription service,” Napster COO Christopher Allen says. “They may be initially attracted to the MP3s… and I think it will result in more subscribers over time.”

At this point, the success of Napster’s new store is hard to predict. There are many upsides, such as their extensive library, competitive pricing and lack of DRM protection. The current website, however, needs work in terms of more comprehensive artist information and layout. Though these are details that can be fixed relatively simply, it is hard to say if Napster’s new store will be innovative enough to tear loyal customers away from more established MP3 stores, like Amazon.com and iTunes.

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