May 18, 2009 by Arlen Schweiger
Always on the lookout for new music? You probably got your digital collection started way back when with an introduction to MP3s from Napster. The company’s under Best Buy now, and recently relaunched with a new subscription service.
For $5 bucks a month, you get unlimited streaming access to the 7 million-plus songs in Napster’s database. You also can tap into the website’s 60 radio stations and 1,400 playlists.
Along with the new subscription, you’ll be entitled to five free MP3 downloads each month of “CD quality” (256 kbps at the very least, we hope), and you can pay iTunes-like pricing thereafter.
Ars Technica says meh—go to Last.fm or Pandora for free streaming. Not sure I completely agree with that, but I can see where they’re coming from.
However, people still pay for Rhapsody subscriptions at $12.99 a pop per month, or shell out for a satellite radio subscription. People still go to Blockbuster and rent from Netflix when their local library may have a perfectly good DVD collection to borrow from freely.
And, of course, people pay $5 to buy five MP3s from the likes of iTunes and Amazon—so basically if you’re going to do that anyway the Napster subscription pays for itself, and you get all the streaming. Cool if you’ve got a good desktop audio system, even better if you’re networked and are routing your PC into your stereo system or Logitech Squeezebox. Free certainly beats a subscription cost, but hey, we’ll give Napster a nod for giving a mix to audio enthusiasts who are always searching out music outlets.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.
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