PLUS A FIRST LOOK & AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NAPSTER COO CHRISTOPHER ALLEN
Napster this morning launched what it calls "the world’s largest and most comprehensive MP3 store" at www.napster.com/store. While beat to market by months by Amazon's mp3 store, Napster's move bests rivals Zune, Real and Yahoo who have yet to announce deals with the major labels to sell mp3's.
With product from all four major label groups, Napster claims it's "50% larger than any other MP3 store" and boasts the "largest library of independent music available anywhere". The Napster kitty does beat #2 Amazon, but by far less than 50%. Napster boasts 6 million tracks and Amazon lists 5.2 million downloads in its offering.
Napster is, however, the first music subscription service featuring major label content to also offer its catalog in the MP3 format for download sales; and this could prove to be a competitive combination is subscription gains more traction.
FIRST LOOK: The design of Napster's store, which is open to non-subscribers is sparse. Track prices are mostly...
$.99 with albums $9.95; often higher than at Amazon. All Napster tracks are encoded at 256kb and accompanied by high resolution album art.
But a million additional obscure tracks does not seem enough reasons for consumers to leave the safety and convenience of Amazon's mp3 store or iTunes. Napster's best hope may be to push the subscription and download combo ("listen to anything and buy it right here if you want") while adding content to create a Napster music destination and community; something its competitors have failed to do.