Napster, Still Struggling, Puts Itself Up For Sale

from the shocking dept

Napster's never been able to regain its cachet in the music-download business after going legit, despite a few different owners, so it's hardly surprising to see the company essentially put itself up for sale. While the company's CEO says there's been a lot of interest in partnerships or joint ventures, Napster's struggles illustrate the reality of the music download business as one where it's awfully hard to make money. While Apple's sold over a billion songs through the market-leading iTunes Music Store, those songs were loss leaders, intended to drive iPod sales and to lock users in to the device. The CEO also says that its new products are getting "traction" -- but they don't look to be helping the company turn a profit, and it said it's losing paying subscribers as it promotes its free service. There's nothing here, and nothing in the company's history, to suggest it can be successful. Perhaps the best thing for the company and its shareholders is to grab whatever cash it can in a buyout, playing off the growing interest in mobile music download services by selling out to a company in the mobile space that can ditch the current Napster offerings and salvage its backend into something useful -- with Ericsson, a company already partnered with Napster for mobile music, a prime candidate.

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  1. identicon
    anonymous, 19 Sep 2006 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: those songs were loss leaders

    I agree that Apple hasn't come directly out and said that the iTunes store is profitable, but they did say this in their most recent 10-K filing with the SEC:

    "Net sales of other music related products and services increased $269 million or 125% during the second quarter of 2006 and increased $583 million or 148% during the first six months of 2006 compared to the same periods in 2005. The increases were primarily due to increased net sales from the iTunes Music Store, iPod services and accessories, and the iPod Hi-Fi that was introduced in February 2006. The increase in sales from the iTunes Music Store relates to significant growth in U.S. sales and the expansion of the iTunes Music Store to 21 countries compared to 15 countries at March 26, 2005. The increased sales from the iTunes Music Store were also attributable to the introduction of video sales in October 2005."

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