Opinion: why Napster can't fail with their new DRM-free venture - Tech Digest
Katherine Hannaford writes... Can we call 2008 the heady days of digital music yet - can we? Can we? Sure, 2007 had its fair share of digital movers and shakers, with Radiohead pioneering the music release formula, but with today's news that Napster is going DRM-free, surely things can only pick up in speed? Beginning life as an illegal P2P service in 1999, it was acquired by Roxio in 2003 after numerous legal battles with the RIAA and, err, Metallica. I'm sure there's a generation of kids who only know of Metallica as those baddies who shut down their favourite way of downloading 50 Cent. Napster's move to go DRM-free, and offer MP3 file formats encoded at 256kbps, has led a lot of people to draw even more comparisons between them and iTunes and Amazon. However, there's no ignoring the facts, that iTunes currently has just EMI feeding them DRM-free tracks, and whilst Amazon, like Napster, has support from the four big record labels, it doesn't have anywhere near the size of catalogue as Napster, who can also boast all the indie labels in addition to EMI, Warner, Sony BMG and Universal...
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