Will Napster Survive After All?
by Andreas R., Norwegian Exchange Student, Westgate Collegiate, Thunder Bay, ON

The very popular, but also much hated music-service Napster is suddenly being hugged by its former enemies.

Image taken from the Napstar website

Soon you will be able to pay for downloaded music.

The net-service Napster, that makes it possible to download thousands and thousands of songs free of charge from the Internet, has until just recently, been pushed up into a corner by The United Music Industry. The industry has accused Napster of making it possible to steal their copyright protected material. In the meantime Napster’s popularity has spread like a fire in dry grass amongst Canadian music lovers.

Recently, Bertelsmann who, via his record company BMG which is one of the 5 record giants that have sued Napster, announced that BMG have made an alliance with the controversial service. The media giant is buying the rights to control a crucial part of Napster's shares and is also offering Napster a loan that is going to make it possible to develop a subscribing -service.

The idea is that the members will pay a monthly fee to receive access to all of BMG's music. The company has artists like Whitney Houston and super-guitarist Carlos Santana within its lines. On their Web sites, Napster promises that the free service will continue, along with the subscribing-service. The members can expect better service and quality than the users of the regular service.

It is not yet known when the subscribing-service can be put into gear. BMG is now encouraging the other record companies to jump on the carousel. Up until now it has not been possible to pay for downloaded music on Napster. BMG is also dropping their part in the lawsuit against Napster. The company encourages the others to do the same. Whether they will do it or not is a different story though. In the court case against the Internet service, 4 out of 5 of the big record companies chose to settle, while the fifth, Universal, proceeded the lawsuit.

Even if they've made a good deal with Bertelsmann, Napster is in immediate danger to be shut down. The verdict in the court case is expected shortly, and the result may very well be that the judges chooses to shut it down promptly.

Napster has experienced a massive increase in traffic lately. The program is now installed in every third American computer, shows numbers from PC Pitstop.


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