Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Napster: back to the beginning? Sort of...

USAToday: In a bid to gain traction against Apple's dominant iTunes online music store, Napster over the weekend shifted to an advertising-supported model. Visitors can listen to any of the 2 million tunes in its catalog (up to 5 times) without having to fork over a credit card or download the Napster software application.

Napster has 600,000 subscribers. It offers unlimited online listening to songs for $9.95 a month, or $14.95 for a version that lets you transfer songs to certain portable devices. The service is compatible with digital music devices that include the SanDisk Sansa and Samsung Z10, but not Apple's iconic iPod, which has a 77.6% market share, according to researcher NPD Group.

Napster hasn't found more acceptance from its subscription model "because it requires explanation and a change in consumer behavior," he says. "This promotion will help people understand subscriptions."

IPBiz: business models that require a change in consumer behavior have an uphill battle, especially when alternative models are present (here, the iPod).


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