Napster service sees subscription surge

Although Apple's iTunes Music Store is easily the most popular online music service, Napster's subscription service may finally be hitting its stride. The company still isn't profitable, but it picked up approximately 100,000 subscribers in the last quarter, bringing its total number of subscribers to 600,000. Some of those are members through an "on Campus" program that offers discounted rates for staff and students at select universities, though.

While university affiliations that bury discounted subscription costs in student fees are no doubt responsible for some of Napster's recent popularity, the wider availability of music players that support subscription services probably deserves a little credit. The subscription model itself may also be garnering more mainstream appeal as users increasingly rely on MP3 players and net-connected PCs for music playback.

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