Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Napster to Apple and Amazon: Take that and that!



Once the bane of the music industry, Napster has been shut down, given a second chance at music scene, then put on virtual life support, and now it’s back again.

Millions of DRM-free MP3 songs are now for the taking (after paying 99 cents for each song.  Then it’s for the taking).   Six million songs to be exact. 

While Amazon has had a lead in the DRM-free MP3 for months, it has done well but yet to catch Apple’s music store due the ease of use of iTunes and iPod’s dominant position in the portable music device market. 

However, Napster, the former MP3 bad boy, could have the name recognition in music that Amazon does not have.  Only time will tell if Napster can still matter but with more players in the market, it’s a big win for music lovers.  Some details:

  • 256Kbps encoding
  • Album art
  • No software support for importing into iTunes (Amazon has support for iTunes)
  • Watermarks

Could this also put a dent in piracy and loosen iTunes’ hold on the legal downloadable music market or will this be a battle for second with Amazon?

Here’s what others are saying:

  • ·Wired – details about watermarks
  • ·CNet – some information for current Napster customers
  • ·Electronista – Napster leads with 6 million DRM-free songs, followed by Amazon at 4.5 million and iTunes trailing at 3 million.
  • ·Apple-friendly sites believe Apple is being punished for not accepting terms more friendly to the music studios, thus only half the available DRM-free music of Napster is offering.  Apple still boasts the largest online music store for downloads.

Where do you buy your music?

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