Cyberbiz Brief

Even as its original file-sharing network struggles under the weight of a court injunction, Napster has begun signing up volunteers on its Web site for a beta test of its next-generation, subscription-based music downloading service. The new Napster was initially announced last fall, when the file sharer teamed with German media conglom Bertelsmann. The partners have since said that they expect to bow the service in midsummer and foresee pricing to fall between $4.95 and $9.95 per month, depending on the plan chosen. To date, however, only Bertelsmann unit BMG Entertainment has cleared its catalog for use on the service.

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