×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Launch countdown

Revised Napster puts pay version in place

Still on the ropes after a legal pummeling from the record industry, Napster will nevertheless have a pay version of its once wildly popular file-sharing service ready this year, according to Thomas Middelhoff, chief exec of media conglom and Napster-backer Bertelsmann.

Speaking at a media conference in Potsdam, Germany, Middelhoff said the technology to power Napster’s new subscription-based service was in place, according to a Reuters report. His comments echo those made at a technology conference in Colorado last week by newly installed Napster prexy Konrad Hilbers.

Dancing around dates

At the beginning of the year, Middelhoff had claimed that the service would be up by June or July; later, Napster execs said it would be ready to launch by the end of summer. Several industry insiders have questioned whether the company’s technological infrastructure would be prepared in time.

Napster’s original free service has been on life support since an injunction handed down in February by the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, with time spent on the network by American users down 70%, according to a recent Jupiter Media Metrix study.

The original service, which once boasted more than 60 million loyal users, shut down in July to update its filtering databases.

Coin infusion

Last October, Middelhoff and Bertelsmann’s e-Commerce Group struck a deal with Napster, lending the file-swapper $50 million to finance the development of the revised service, which the partners promised would compensate artists, labels and publishers.

If and when the new offering goes live, it will join a crowded field of new music contenders. Two groups of media companies have each backed separate digital distribution schemes: AOL Time Warner, Bertelsmann, EMI, Zomba and media software maker RealNetworks have backed MusicNet, while Vivendi Universal and Sony are behind Pressplay. Also in the mix are independent distribution companies, including FullAudio and Uplister.

Meanwhile, Napster has inked licensing deals with MusicNet and a consortium of independent labels in the U.K. and Europe to clear music for the new service. Pricing will be in the neighborhood of $5 per month, according to recent comments by Hilbers.

More Digital

  • Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese

    Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese Video Platform Bilibili

    Alibaba has purchased an 8% stake in the Chinese online video platform Bilibili, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Bilibili is one of China’s top video streaming and entertainment platforms, with about 92 million monthly active users and 450 million page-views per day. Founded in 2009, it was listed on the NASDAQ last March. Alibaba’s [...]

  • Clevver-Logo

    Hearst Magazines Buys Clevver's Pop-Culture YouTube Channels After Defy's Demise

    Hearst Magazines has snapped up Clevver, a network of female-skewing lifestyle and pop-culture news YouTube channels that had been owned by now-defunct Defy Media. Clevver was left homeless after Defy’s sudden shutdown in November; its principals said at the time they were looking for a new home. Hearst Magazines sees a digital fit with Clevver’s [...]

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Rhett-Link-Good-Mythical-Morning

    Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment in Talks to Acquire Smosh (EXCLUSIVE)

    Smosh, the YouTube comedy brand left stranded after parent company Defy Media went belly-up, may be about to get a new business partner. Mythical Entertainment, the entertainment company founded by top YouTube comedy duo Rhett & Link, has been in talks about acquiring the Smosh brand, sources told Variety. Multiple potential buyers came forward to [...]

  • Pokemon Go

    Proposed 'Pokémon Go' Lawsuit Settlement May Remove Poké Stops, Gyms

    A proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic could remove or change a number of Poké Stops and Gyms in the popular augmented reality game. The proposed settlement was filed in a California court on Thursday and applies to anyone in the U.S. who owns or leases property within 100 meters [...]

  • Skyline of Doha at night with

    Qatar's beIN Rallies Support From U.S. Companies Against Pirate Broadcaster beoutQ

    Qatari powerhouse beIN Media Group has rallied support from American sports and entertainment entities, including Discovery and Fox, behind its request that the U.S. government place Saudi Arabia on its watch list of top intellectual property offenders. The Doha-based broadcaster, a state-owned spinoff of Al Jazeera news network, accuses the Saudi government of harboring pirate broadcaster [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content