Just an Online Minute... The New Napster
Roxio, the makers of CD burning software that bought what was left of Napster at a bankruptcy auction last year, said today that a revamped version of the program will launch in time for Christmas, operating on a subscription or on a fee-per-song basis. Users of the new Napster 2.0 service will be able to search for music, listen to customized preprogrammed radio, burn CDs and download nearly a half-million songs licensed from recording companies.
Roxio is not alone in the quest to convert the downloading craze into a profitable business. In April, Apple launched iTunes, which allows users to download songs for 99 cents each and keep them indefinitely in their computers. Other services, such as MusicNet, pressplay and Listen.com's Rhapsody, charge a monthly fee for access to an unlimited number of songs.
Also, AOL is planning to introduce a similar service later this year and Amazon.com has expressed interest. Buy.com reportedly plans to spend about $40 million to launch a service called BuyMusic.com and RealNetworks Inc. is planning to start an online music store by the end of the year.
And Musicmatch Inc. just signed nonexclusive agreements with nine labels, including EMI Group, BMG Music and Universal Music Group, to provide music for its download service to be launched broadly this fall.
I wonder how long it will take consumers to get used to these services.