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Napster launches free but limited downloading service

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Napster launches free but limited downloading service

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Napster, the former online pirate of the music downloading world, is going back to its roots.

It has launched a new, free web service in the US where listeners can access more than two million tracks. It will be funded by advertising.

However users will only be able to listen to the songs they’ve downloaded up to five times for free before they have to pay.

It is the latest attempt by Napster to increase its customer base and stem losses which have reached 138 million euros in the last four years.

Downloading tracks onto computers and MP 3 players including mobile phones is having a major effect on CD sales.

Recording industry monitors report that in Europe last year people bought 3.5% fewer CDs and some countries saw dramatic declines like the Netherlands where sales were down by more than 31% while in the US they fell by over 5%.

One of Napster’s problems is that its system is not compatible with Apple’s I-Tunes which has an 80% share of the market for digital music.

Apple has just renewed its contracts with four of the biggest record labels and has resisted attempts by some of those companies to put up the price of downloading.

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Napster, the former online pirate of the music downloading world, is going back to its roots.

It’s launched a new – free – advertising funded – web service in the US .. where listeners can access more than two million tracks.

But users will only be able to listen to the songs they’ve downloaded up to five times for free before they have to pay.

It’s the latest attempt by Napster to increase its customer base and stem losses .. which have reached nearly one hundred and forty million euros in the last four years.

31 CDs

Downloading tracks onto computers and MP 3 players .. including mobile phones .. is having a major effect on CD sales.

In Europe last year .. people bought three and a half per cent fewer CDs .. and some countries saw dramatic declines .. like the Netherlands where sales were down by nearly a third .. while in the US they fell by over five per cent.

48 I-Tunes

One of Napster’s problems is that its system is not compatible with Apple’s I-Tunes .. which has an eighty per cent share of the market for digital music.

Apple has just renewed its contracts with four of the biggest record labels .. and has resisted attempts by some of those companies to put up the price of downloading.