Once synonymous with illegal music sharing, Napster is now part of Best Buy, and it enables users to purchase tracks, as well as stream unlimited songs from a PC for $5 a month. Starting Tuesday, customers can visit m.napster.com to redeem credits to download songs over the air. Once a song is purchased, a backup MP3 is sent to the subscriber's computer, and users also have the option of viewing album art and listening to a preview.
New users can also create accounts over the air, and tracks can also be purchased using prepaid Napster cards. To promote the mobile site, Best Buy will be including $15 worth of Napster music with any contract mobile phone it sells. The move may help Napster gain some grounds on its competitors, as it trails Apple, Amazon, and others in the digital music space.
"Napster subscribers can now discover and download music at anytime on more phones from just about any carrier," said Brad Duea, Napster president, in a statement. "This is one of the strongest steps we've made to date toward our goal of making Napster and music accessible anytime, anywhere."
The market for mobile music is still relatively nascent in the United States, as a Forrester report indicated only 10% of cell phone users listen to music on their mobile handsets. But the market could be poised for growth as mobile operators are placing more emphasis on their music services, and as music-capable devices like the iPhone and BlackBerry Storm gain popularity.
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