Roxio readies Napster comeback
Roxio will apparently launch a public beta of Napster 2.0 next week, though the new software will probably bear little resemblance to the Napster of old:
Roxio has already said Napster will offer both one-off downloads and a premium subscription service. It will almost certainly be based on Windows Media 9 technology, not the MP3 format that made its name - particularly since it has a tie-in with Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004, which launched earlier this week. Roxio has long licensed its CD burning technology to Microsoft as the basis of Windows XP's CD-R/RW functionality.
What's particularly interesting about Napster 2.0 is its premium subscription service, which could give users unlimited listening rights to a music library that's apparently 500,000 songs deep. OEMs should be able to dress up Media Center Edition systems as pretty slick jukebox PCs with bundled Napster 2.0 subscriptions, too.
It's doubtful that Napster 2.0 will ever touch its predecessor in terms of popularity, but brand recognition could help the service could carve out a nice slice of the online music service market.