Napster Launches in the UK

Napster 2.0 UK is live at last, just beating Apple to first over the line, though Apple might well have the last laugh. Napster finally has deals in place with all five major record labels, plus the Association of Independent Music and high street retailer Dixons.

Dixons will be selling Napster-branded CD-Rs in their stores. Could someone please send a pack of those back through time to the RIAA and take a photograph of their faces? Thank you.

Napster is currently offering 500,000 tracks to customers, but promises this will rise to 700,000 next month.

The big surprise with Napster is the price: a track from Napster UK costs twice the price of the equivalent from the US iTunes Music Store. At a time when most music services are charging US$0.99 (€0.82, UK£0.55) for a track, Napster are charging non-subscribers a staggering UK£1.09 (€1.62) per track – the equivalent of charging US$1.94.

Buying a subscription for UK£9.95 (€14.80) a month allows users to download tracks for UK£0.88, but this is still 62% more than the iTunes cost – without taking the subscription price into account. It looks like OD2’s sale was a good idea after all.

A 7-day free trial of the Napster service is available from the link below.

Napster UK

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?