Back in the day, it looked like Napster was going to bust the digital music business wide open. They were sued back to the stone age over copyright infringement, and more or less dropped from sight. Apple leaped into the breach, offering legal but locked music for their iPods through their own online store. Well, zombie Napster is back in a big way. They're now offering the world's largest library of digital music in the MP3 format for just 99 cents a track, or about 10 bucks for an album. And it's all DRM-free.
Napster's download store is more than 50% larger than any other MP3 store and boasts not only the largest major label MP3 catalog in the industry, but also the largest library of independent music available anywhere. All Napster download sales in the U.S. will now be in the user-friendly, DRM-free MP3 format, which is compatible with virtually any MP3 player or music phone including the iPod and the iPhone. Napster is the first music subscription service featuring major label content to offer 100% of its catalog in the MP3 format for download sales.
"Music fans have spoken and it's clear they need the convenience, ease of use and broad interoperability of the DRM-free MP3 format, and they want to be able to find both major label artists and independent music all in one place. Napster is delighted to deliver all of this and more with the world's largest MP3 catalog," said Napster's Chairman and CEO Chris Gorog. "Our new MP3 store, together with our award-winning 'all you can eat' music subscription service, provides the most comprehensive and exciting music experience available. Virtually any portable device in the world can now be used to enjoy tracks purchased at Napster, which is an important breakthrough for our company."
Napster's site has an easy and useful interface to look for all your favorite band noise, so that's not going to be a sticking point. They offer a subscription plan, too, if you'd prefer to stream your music for a monthly fee and keep your hard-drive free for p0r... work, I meant work. Someone remind Steve Jobs to take his Prozac today.