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tlr online
20-05-04, 21:59
Napster stole a march on its rivals today by launching the UK incarnation of its online music service immediately - rather sooner than the "end of summer" timeframe it had previously provided. Napster UK is online now and ready for business, CEO Chris Gorog said in London this morning. "We believe the Internet distribution of music will replace physical distribution in the next decade," he said.

British music fans - well, those with Windows 2000 or XP PCs, at any rate - can fetch Napster's jukebox app. and begin downloading songs for 1.09 ($1.94) a go, or in album-length batches for 9.95 ($17.74). Punters can also take out a monthly 9.95 subscription, which provides unlimited downloads. However, they also have to pay 0.99 ($1.77) every time they want to burn the song or copy it to a portable music player. Again, batch burn/transfer rights can be acquired for 9.95 an album.

Essentially, that leaves the subscription version as little more than a glorified radio station, and one you pay for, at that. What it does offer is the ability to share playlists with anyone else, though only fellow subscribers can actually download the songs listed. The company will also provide Track Packs - bundled songs for a fixed fee. 43.99 ($78.43) buys 50 tracks, 29.99 ($53.47) 25 songs and 14.25 ($25.41) 15.

www.theregister.co.uk (http://www.theregister.co.uk)