Napster creates pathbreaking subscription service

MUMBAI: Today's music lovers are being ushered to a transcedending digital music era. Napster, the biggest brand in digital music has announced the consumer release of its groundbreaking Napster To Go technology and the unveiling of the new Napster 3.0.

Napster To Go, the world's first portable subscription service, will allow the consumers to move an unlimited amount of songs from Napster's million plus catalog to compatible MP3 players for a monthly fee of $14.95.

This service marks the rapidly-growing digital music industry and makes costly download-only stores seem antiquated by comparison. The release will be accompanied by a major $30 million marketing campaign supported by strategic alliances with leading consumer electronics manufacturers Creative, Dell and iriver.

A fully-integrated marketing program will support the release of Napster To Go, led by a currently-under-wraps 6 February Super Bowl television advertisement. The media reports also highlight that this will be complemented by the new works with Napster To Go logo program that enables consumers to easily identify Napster To Go compatible MP3 players at retail.

The companys initiatives will feature the Creative Zen Micro, the Dell Pocket DJ and iriver's H10 MP3 players in retail and direct programs as well as prominent placement in its advertising. All three manufacturers are participating in the "Works with Napster To Go" logo program and will include a free one-month Napster To Go trial subscription bundled with each device purchase.

"The combination of a subscription service like Napster To Go and one of Creative's portable music players, like Zen Micro, opens up a whole new paradigm for music discovery," said vice-president of sales and marketing for creative Mark Adams.

"It's so much fun to go through the Napster catalog of over a million songs and fill up your Zen Micro. You can mix tunes from favorite artists, albums, or choose some completely new music -- it's like being your own personal DJ," he adds.

"Napster to go is an exciting new product that will help our customers to really start understanding the full benefits of digital music," said Best Buy vice-president of digital entertainment Scott Young. "We've worked hard to educate consumers about digital music and the benefits of subscription services. Being able to take the music with you on a portable player should help take the popularity of subscription services to the next level."

Napster 3.0 also builds on the service's award winning community features and includes new offerings such as Playlists To Go, which allows fans to transfer ready-made play lists of up to 50 songs to a device with one click of the mouse.

The service became available in preview mode to users of the Windows Media Player 10 in September 2004. For on-subscription members, Napster also offers the Napster Light a la carte download store.

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