Napster reinvents itself ... again

Napster is getting more involved in the battle for digital music supremacy, announcing it will launch an MP3 download store to compete with iTunes.

The new service will offer upwards of 6 million songs from all major music labels and many independent labels as well. One big plus for this new service is that many songs will lack copy protection or digital rights management, the technology that limits usage of the MP3 and what Apple's iTunes Music Store generally gets slammed about. Most individual songs will cost 99 cents with albums costing $9.95.

The service is completely Web-based, which is another perk compared to iTunes. Songs purchased from the Napster online store come in a DRM-free MP3 format, making the service much easier to use with a variety of different media programs.

Prior to this announcement Napster was a streaming music service launched by Roxio, the company that gobbled up the rights to Napster after the courts shut it down in its original, peer-to-peer file-swapping form.

Regardless of how successful this Napster re-re-re-launch is, competition is always good for the consumer. Roxio's Napster will never be Shawn Fanning's Napster, but seeing the company in the news does allow me to recollect the olden days of the father of digital media sharing.

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This story, "Napster reinvents itself ... again" was originally published by PCWorld.

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