Napster Follows Real's Lead: Pretends To Go Free

from the makes-for-a-good-headline dept

The story is too rich for the press to ignore: Napster is going free again. So, the headlines coming out all play up this aspect of the story, and it's only when you read the details that you realize Napster isn't actually going free. Instead, it's picked up on the (not very successful) marketing gimmick that RealNetworks put in place almost exactly a year ago. If you announce you're giving away free music to compete with file sharing networks, the press will play it up. It works even better in Napster's case, given the Napster brand's "history" as the original big name file sharing app. The reality, though, is that (just like Real's "free music") Napster is simply offering a limited promotion of free music -- in this case, the promotion lets you listen to any song five times before you have to pay up. It's not a bad promotional idea, of course, but it's a long way from free music. The "free" music will also come with advertising, which leads to the fact that the only way Napster was allowed to do this was to agree to share the advertising revenue with the record labels. In other words, to promote songs to the music buying public, Napster has to give up a share of its own revenue. And people wonder why most of these services are having trouble getting anywhere.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2006 @ 5:49am

    So people have 5 chances to use tunebite without it messing up....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Evan, May 1st, 2006 @ 5:54am

    Right on Mike. You never see misleading or unclear headlines on Tech Dirt. You never use hyperbole to promote your latest opinion on someone else’s news.

    Whatever. Thanks for the lesson Milke. No one knew that headlines didn't tell the whole story until you were awesome enough to point it out (for the 12,000th time).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    JerseyRich, May 1st, 2006 @ 7:22am

    So, basically, Napster is doing what every other company in America is doing. Well, that's OK. I think we consumers are savvy enough that we can tell what the real deal is.

    But five plays of a song? How about 50 over a 30-day period?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Justin, May 1st, 2006 @ 8:46am


    Evan, why do you come here again?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2006 @ 9:41am

    ;) Stick an analog to digital converter on your speaker output and voila! Free music downloads.

    (not quite as simple as that.. but this has so much potential for abuse. ;) )

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    kerry, May 1st, 2006 @ 10:08am

    Re: tune bite

    Just curious, how does one do that that using this program? Is it easy enough to figure out? I juts downloaded a trial and would love any pointers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Mr Rat, May 1st, 2006 @ 7:28pm

    USA Only

    Fantastic for those that live in the USA the rest of us only get 30 second samples - last I checked the internet was a global audience; hard for Americans to realise that there is life beyond their boarders (unless its oil - of course there is oil beyond your boaders).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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